In the wake of their disheartening four-game sweep by the Boston Bruins, the Philadelphia Flyers could face changes this summer. Read on for the latest.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Donnellon reports the Flyers need to get a number one goaltender in the off-season, though GM Paul Holmgren said he believed goaltending is a function of a team. Phil Seridan reported other reasons for the Flyers demise against Boston included poor defense, as well as being out-hit, out-hustled and out-played by the Bruins. He suggested the absence of Chris Pronger to injury was a factor, as well as believing not playing young Sergei Bobrovsky more was a mistake. Still, he suggested it’s hard to gauge the impact wobbly goaltending has on a team’s confidence. Sam Carchidi meanwhile was more blunt, offering up solutions to the Flyers problems, calling for the team to “end the goalie madness” and find a top starting goalie like Phoenix’s pending UFA Ilya Bryzgalov, while employing young Bobrovsky in a backup role to allow him more time to develop. If Bryzgalov proves too expensive, he recommends dealing for Jonathan Bernier of the LA Kings or Cory Schneider of the Vancouver Canucks.

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio suggests unless the Flyers finally land a proven number one goalie, the acquisitions of Danny Briere, Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen etc will have been for naught as their window of opportunity slams shut.

PHILLYBURBS.COM: Wayne Fish believes the Flyers will have to address their goaltending, suggesting if it take the trade of a major player like Mike Richards or Jeff Carter, so be it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The pundits acknowledged the other deficiencies in the Flyers game, but unquestionably the need for a top starting goaltender remains the prominent issue. The question is, will management finally address it? Most Flyers fans undoubtedly will call for GM Paul Holmgren to address this, but he could punt this issue by citing Bobrovsky’s promise, injuries to key players in this year’s post-season, and a lack of cap space. I agree there were contributing factors to the Flyers defeat, but having a quality starter can make a difference and provide a boost to a struggling team. It’s an issue I believe Holmgren ignores at his peril, and he must stop trying to fix a million dollar problem with a ten cent solution. He has the depth of talent he could use to make a trade, and if there’s a deal to be had to finally land a top goalie, it must be done this summer, and as Wayne Fish suggested, if it takes moving a player like Richards or Carter, then do it. If he wants to go big by going for Bryzgalov, fine. If he prefers to go for a more affordable option like Bernier or Schneider, fine. But it has to be done. No more excuses.

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23 Responses to Flyers Could Face Changes.

  1. Vegas_Whoa says:

    The other spot that hurt the flyers is having bums w/ no skill. Carcillo, Powe, Betts! Betts was a PK Faceoff Specialist but his age was showing this year! The flyers got pushed around and everytime they dumped the puck in, they couldn’t forecheck due to Boston’s size! Another guy who didn’t throw his weight around is Hartnell!! I do feel Kobasew is a must for the flyers !! Another guy who I think is better than Powe & Carcillo is Alexander Giroux! He was the leading scoring of the AHL last year (09/10)! He is 6’3 & the oilers signed him w/ a 1 yr 1 way contract of $500,000!! What did the flyers do??? They settled w/ arbitrators over Carcillo for 1.xxMillion!!! Philosophy for the flyers needs to be addressed!!!!!

  2. fzusher says:

    In a cap world, the blanket is always too short somewhere, unless you can fill your team with entry-level contracts at key positions. Holmgren did a good job in this respect – JVR and Giroux enabled a deep forward corps, but he failed to quickly develop a cheap top-4 D, and after the Blackhawks exposed his lack of depth on D – Niemi was not better than Leighton during last year’s playoffs, and has a lower ceiling than Bobrovski – he opted to take that route. Hindsight is always 20/20, but this time last summer D was considered as much a need as G.

    The simple and smart solution for the Flyers is to trade for Nabokov. He’d come cheaper in both cap and trade value than Bernier and Schneider – and won’t require getting rid of another key player elsewhere as would Bryzgalov or Vokoun. He’s an experienced starter with 80 playoff games under his belt, but still has something to prove by winning the cup. And he would be the perfect mentor for Bobrovski – they have a similar build, they came over to North America at the same age, and they come from the same region in Russia – Southern Siberian prairies (Nabokov’s home town is now in Kazakhstan, but on the border, and roughly 500 km from Bobrovski’s home town – think Edmonton to Saskatoon) – so he’d have a good sense of Bobrovski’s mentality.

  3. northby9 says:

    Very interesting suggestion, fzusher! I’d be a little concerned with Nabokov’s lack of playoff success with the Sharks – another team with enough talent to have challenged for the Cup, it was thought – but I do agree with all your points as being good ones and that might well be the way they should go. I don’t think Holmgren is going to make that blockbuster deal, even though that is what I think they need to get over the hump.

  4. Canadian King says:

    fzusher…Nabokov is an option, but it still makes no sense. Why bring in another goalie who is very questionable at best in the playoffs. Why not bring in a goalie who is young and can grow with the young guys on Philly like, Giroux, JVR, Coburn, Carle, and to some extent Carter and Richards. It makes so much sense to trade with LA. The Kings needs another scoring threat (Carter), but I would like to see LA trade Quick and keep Bernier.

  5. mbr501 says:

    I don’t see how bringing in a veteran goalie that has playoff experience “makes no sense”. The goalie situation in Philly has been questionable for a long time. Nabokov may not be the answer, but his playoff numbers are far from bad. A 2.29 GAA and .913 save % along with a 40-38 record is not awful. There is only so much blame to put on him for the Sharks lack of success when a team collapses in front of you it is hard to pick up the pieces sometimes.

    Whether the Flyers bring in a different goalie is not the total point in my mind. Give one guy the chance to play. Bobrovsky earned a chance to play and they pulled the plug on him right away. That uncertainty has to be difficult for any team to overcome. I personally like both Boucher and Leighton but if I was running an NHL team they would not even be on my radar as goalies I would want to try and win a Cup with. The number of goalies that have come through Philly in the last 15 or so years is crazy. Hextall, Beezer, Eshe, Boucher, Leighton, Cechmanek, Burke, Snow, Hackett, Niittymaki, Biron, Emery, and Bobrovsky. Most of those guys have gotten significant playing time even in the playoffs. Either bring in the star goalie the team has needed forever, or pick a guy and stick with him.

  6. Steve says:

    Phillys goaltending was questionable before the playoffs began, but Laviolette’s revolving door during the playoffs sure didn’t help and it also shook the confidence of all three Philly goaltenders. Sometimes you have to let the goaltender work through his struggles and aside from that I don’t think either of th goalies played badly. Lastly, Philly has the ability to score a number of goals – so as long as their goalie keeps them in the game – they have done their job.

    To me – it seemed that Philly was physically worn out for the Boston Series. They gave all they had in Game 2, 52 shots on goal as Thomas stole one for Boston. I think that game was pivotal as it emotionally drained the team for the rest of the series. The Buffalo series was hard enough on Philly both physically and emotionally and by the time they met Boston – they could only muster so much. Philly’s game 4 against Boston was like Buffalo’s game 7 against Philly – essentially they showed up – but they were done from the get go.

    Philly needs to commit to their goalie and I don’t think the answer is Nabokov – maybe one of the young goalies from Washington like Semyon Varlamov or Brian Holtby – keeping Boucher as a mentor. They also need another d-man – maybe trade Giroux or van Riemsdyk for someone to complement Pronger.

  7. DurtMCHurt says:

    Lol! I’m not even a Philly fan, and I know the likes of giroux, carter and jvr aren’t going anywhere. Nabokov is the odvious choice cause he’s cheap, experienced and wouldn’t cost any of the players I just mentioned.
    Canadian king, why trade Carter for bernier when you could have Nabokov for much much cheaper? Terrible trade proposals here. Why on earth would Philly trade some of there best players to get an unproven goalie? Does anyone know if bernier is a playoff hero? Cause it seems to me he has little to no post season experience. He’s a good goalie yes, but I would give Nabokov a try first.

  8. mb4life says:

    Too bad that philly didnt play better. It almost seems like they were playing scared againts a clearly more focused bruins team……Oh well, philly has the most to gain with all the veteran free agent goaltending available. Maybe now, they can get some help

  9. Sean says:

    Woh woh woh….trade Giroux or JVR to another D to complement Pronger?? Hell no. Giroux is the hardest working and by far the best Flyer this season…and he’s only into his 3rd year as a pro. JVR took leaps and bounds this playoffs and he’s only in his 2nd year as a full time pro. I said it before, Claude Giroux is going to be the heart and soul of the Flyers and he’s shown why this season, led the team in points, led the team in points during the playoffs, and he does everything from 5-on-5 to penalty killing. It would be a HUGE mistake to trade this guy and it ain’t going to happen. JVR is developing into a power forward and any pro hockey guy will tell you that this kid is going to be a good player for a very long time, has lots of promise and has shown why. I think the trade talks regarding these 2 players is foolish and I’m happy “Steve” isn’t the Flyers GM.
    There were several reasons why Philly bit the bullet early, and goaltending is probably the most prominent reason. Boosh, Bobs and Leighton simply aren’t good enough to win championships…maybe good enough to pull out a lucky win but not consistently. Goaltending should have been addressed last summer but I guess Homer seen the fact that Leights/Boosh were able to get within 2 wins and decided goaltending was good enough, have Chicago swept last years finals I’m pretty sure you’d see a new goalie wearing Orange and Black. Let’s be realistic here, the goaltending is a huge problem that must get fixed but there were other factors that caused the Flyers to drop in the second round.
    Coaching. Lavy got out-coached in the first round by Ruff, gave up way too early on Bobrovsky and for some unknown reason didn’t play his best 2-way forward against Boston’s top line until it was too late. And why the hell would any right-minded coach scratch Zherdev and replace him with Jody Shelley. Shelley plays 7-8 minutes a game, spends half of that in the box while Zherdev might not be the most responsible defensive-forward but he could play 14-15 minutes a game and actually has a chance to score. It doesn’t stop there, let’s go to special teams. Flyers power-play this season was 19th overall in the reg. season and 13th overall in the playoffs. When John Stevens was coach, the Flyers had one of the best PP’s in the game. Clearly something has to change on special teams, you can’t have a team that deep and with that much talent and go 19th overall..it doesn’t add up.
    I watched 93 Flyer games this season and that was just some of the reasons why the Flyers failed this year. While most of them can be improved internally, goaltending cannot. Right now Philly has 5 center’s and it’s time to bite the bullet and make a bold move to get a young, proven netmider that has lots of potiental. Nabokov isn’t the answer and I don’t think Holmgren will even consider it, he tried to get him last summer and it didn’t work out. Now Nabokov is 1 year older and hasn’t played in several month’s. Philly has some trade bait and maybe some trade mistakes like Chris Vertseeg. In my opinion, Versteeg, Hartnell, Coburn and Carter are excellent trade baits. Of course, salary always comes into play here and that’s why Versteeg and Hartnell will probably be back. They also have some players who just don’t belong anymore, Carcillo and O’Donnell (only on age) who are up for new contracts most likely won’t get them from Philly. I’m all in for a new goalie and Vancouver has the perfect fit. Like the article says, “if it takes moving a player like Richards or Carter, then do it” and most Flyer fans wouldn’t put up much of a fight if that were Jeff Carter. Let’s not be near sighted, JVR will be up for contract after next season, he won’t make the 5 million like Jeff Carter but he’ll get what Giroux is getting now. Cory Schneider would look good in a Flyer uniform.

  10. fzusher says:

    @ Canadian King,

    Philly has solved its long term goalie problem, and that solution is Bobrovsky. Yeah, he fizzled down the stretch. But the most he played in a season before this one was 35 games. His slump began after the mid-February win against Florida, his 36th game of the season. But he has the potential to be an excellent starter, so he is a good future for the club (btw, I still believe in Joacim Eriksson, forgotten young goalie in the Philly system). He’s just 1-2 years away. Which means that what they need is not to sell off present depth so as to invest in the future, but to take care of the short term, and Nabokov will do that without giving up skater depth.

    All that Nabokov showed in SJ is that he is not a goalie that will save your ass when you leave him out to dry, the way Thomas did for the Bruins in game 2. But he is solid enough to help you win when the rest of the team does their defensive and offensive job. SJ didn’t do that for him in recent years. When they did, he was very solid for them – see 03-04. Still, he has 40 wins in 80 playoff games, so it’s not like he doesn’t know how to win a playoff game. I really think he’ll be better on the Flyers than he was on the Sharks.

  11. Kirk Atwood says:

    I feel really bad for all You Philly Fans! Bobby Clark said he would never waste money on goaltending and now it seems he’s convinced Paul Holmgren of the same. It’s time for Clark to pack it in and move back to Flinn Flonn.

  12. tuxedoTshirt says:

    This isn’t about losing to the Bruins, cause these jokers came within an inch of losing to Buffalo by defeating themselves. I agree that Bob will be good eventually, but they have to lose a couple skaters to make room for a top goalie. Nabokov is a good suggestion, but I like Vokoun…Philly has the prestige to get guys to take a discount. Still, you have to lose a major contract (and most should be considered untouchable):
    – No one is touching Carter’s 10yrs @ $5.2 (that’s right, they got this party animal into his late 30′s)
    – Losing Leino is a given
    -might be tough to find a taker for Versteeg @ $3 (columbus?)
    -Scott Hartnell @ $4.2 for 2 more yrs is probably the most viable trade option, if he’ll waive his NTC
    -Perhaps the combination of the cap rising, losing Leighton and Laperriere and being cheap on the re-signings will allow them to get a top goaler and keep the top 5 D and the core forwards (lose Carcillo and Zherdev of course, maybe Shelley, Nodl..). Then bring up some guys from the Phantoms, like the younger Wellwood.
    If they don’t do something like this i will be bummed and i suspect the dressing room will be too
    They definitely could have competed against Boston if the goalie could have given them a chance and they would have swept Buffalo.
    Anyway…..Sweet Justice. I don’t want to hear anymore crap about how you don’t need a goalie anymore.
    ps Niemi was actually awesome last year and Leighton was shaky as balls, just barely getting them there, and then blowing it. Niemi is showing it again this year.
    pps Schneider is not available (probably not even for Giroux)

  13. tuxedoTshirt says:

    Bobby Clarke is doddering twat. But he was pretty good in his day. Gretzky modeled his behind-the-net work on Clarke.

  14. jeff says:

    Trade Richards to Calgary for Kiprusoff.

  15. DurtMCHurt says:

    Tux, “shaky as balls”? Lol! Better consult a physician.

  16. tuxedoTshirt says:

    Durt, balls is an intensifier, like ass.
    Well, what’d’ya say, half-way to my call: Nucks over Lightning in the final.
    BOOYAH!!!!! Sweet as balls. Balls awesome.
    (holy balls did my heart stop in the Chicago series? I almost turned my back on hockey forever)

  17. DurtMCHurt says:

    Lol! Ya good series, I called Philly at Nucks :(
    It’s just, when my balls are shaking it usually means I’m having a good time! Lol I know what you mean though. Just found it funny.

  18. pman824 says:

    Just what the doctor ordered another cheap answer in goal. Philly has been doing it cheap in goal for years and is still searching for a cup. Trade chip and get a proven netminder and please be done with the questions between the pipes already!!! Four Score years later!!!

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  20. Jets fan!! says:

    Hey, i have watched and keep reading and hearing about the Flyers goalie problems. If u wan’t a goalie that has won the cup, why not go after nikolai khabibulin. He would be cheaper out of edmonton and would work great with Bobrovsky, and in 2 years Bobrovsky could or should be able 2 take over.

    Why go after a goalie that has no playoff experience?? If that’s the case why did the Coach not use Bobrovsky all the time??

  21. KC says:

    Bleacher report names Schneider as one of the most significant players to be moved over the summer. While he is regarded here as a starter, even a franchise net minder there doesn’t seem to be much consensus about his value to teams like Philly and Colorado (or others ) that have a dire need for goalies. Surely, with his stats he is worth more than just picks,and if that were the case the Canucks should keep him for another year.

  22. Art says:

    There would be cap space if Homer didn’t make boneheaded signings like giving Shelley and Leighton million dollar plus contracts each.

  23. Jim says:

    When did Jonathan Bernier and Cory Schneider become “top starting goalie” options?

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