After a sub-par season from Ray Emery where he posted a GAA of 3.06 and a SV% of .894 it’s time for someone else to take over the backup role.
Assuming Emery and the Flyers part ways, the next goaltender in the organization is 33 year old Rob Zepp. Zepp played in 10 games this season for the Flyers, including 9 starts, where he went 5-2-0 with a .888SV% and a 2.89GAA. While he did look good in some of his starts like in his debut vs Winnipeg and both his games against the Capitals, he ended the season on a sour note. After losing 4-1 to Hurricanes, he got pulled in his next game against the Maple Leafs where he allowed 2 soft goals in the first 25 minutes of the game. So, where Zepp ranks in Hextall’s head in yet to be seen, but there are probably some better options outside the organization that should be explored before the season begins.
The only goalie that looks like a starter in this league is Antti Niemi and there’s no reason to believe the Flyers would go after a “big name” guy like him who’s going to be looking for a big contract, with our current cap situation. With that said, they could bring in a guy like Anders Lindback, Richard Bachman, or even Viktor Fasth. Fasth, 32, is interesting to me because he’s shown moments of greatness when he first joined the Anaheim Ducks back in the 12-13′ season where he went 15-6-2 posting a .921SV% and a 2.18GAA. The following season he got injured, and later traded to Edmonton where he seemed to lose most, if not all, his confidence. Coming off a 6-15-3 season with the Oilers where his save percentage was the same as Zepp (.888), he will be looking for another opportunity to prove himself. His current cap hit is $2,900,000 but that should drastically drop should he find a new team this Summer, and maybe that could be here in Philadelphia.
Out of League Options
The Flyers could also go search out of the NHL to find someone, like how they found Rob Zepp. It’s hard to look at just the numbers they put up and think it will translate to the NHL but sometimes it works out, like Sergei Bobrovsky, for example. Gustaf Wesslau is an option that was brought up by @MikeyD_OandBP a week or so ago.
Another name that could pop up is Nicklas Treutle. Treutle, 23, is an undrafted goalie who most recently played for the Munich EHC of the DEL going 20-10-0 with a save percentage of .923. Back when Ron Hextall still worked for the Los Angeles Kings, there was a report that the Kings had been scouting Treutle to potentially sign him but for whatever reason it didn’t work. You have to think Hextall will be taking another look at him and now that he has the final say, who knows what he thinks.
While a trade isn’t exactly the best way to bring in a backup goalie, it could still be the route the Flyers take. The Chicago Blackhawks seem like they have 3 NHL caliber goaltenders and with Darling’s new contract, it’ possible that Antti Raanta could be available. The 25 year old Finnish goaltender lost the backup job to Scott Darling despite going 7-4-1 with a .936 save percentage. When he was sent down to the Rockford Ice Hogs of the AHL, he was just as successful as you’d expect, going 8-1-1. His trade value is high and it might not be worth it to bring him in as a backup. Another trade option could be Igor Bobkov, a former 3rd round pick who is currently with the Anaheim Ducks. Bobkov originally was looked at as a promising prospect for the Ducks but as of late has had some trouble even staying in the AHL and spent most of this season in the ECHL with the Utah Grizzlies. Bobkov would be a risk for sure, but when we acquired Steve Mason it was also called a risk. I’m not suggesting Bobkov could do what Mason has done for us, but it is something that could work great here.
Bringing in a capable goalie should be high on Hextall’s to-do list this Summer, and if I had to choose, I’d be swaying the options between signing a goalie not currently playing in North America, or gambling on Bobkov because let’s be honest, I don’t think anyone is expecting a deep playoff run from this team next year.