Philadelphia faithful are more than tired of hearing about goaltenders. The Flyers are a team that has seemingly struggled to find a superstar netminder since the turn of the century, and despite any number of promising prospects, poor managerial decision making, and poor play have left the Flyers with a carousel in goal.
As the Flyers’ struggles in the 2018-19 season continue, eyes are once again turning to the men between the pipes for the orange and black, with the revolving door of netminders being cited as a major reason for the team’s lack of success. The Flyers goaltending plan seemed set in the preseason, with the team likely riding the tandem of the oft-injured Michael Neuvirth and starter Brian Elliott, who is recovering from core-muscle surgery this offseason.
So far, Neuvirth has struggled to stay healthy, only starting one game for the Flyers and a brief conditioning stint in Lehigh Valley. Brian Elliott left November 15ths game against the New Jersey Devils late in the third period with a lower body injury and was placed on the Injured Reserve. Former Flyers goaltender Calvin Pickard, claimed off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs struggled in his 8 starts, posting a measly save percentage of .863%, and despite an impressive shut out against the New York Rangers, was placed on waivers once again, being claimed by the Arizona Coyotes. Similarly, goaltender Alex Lyon looked terrible in his lone start, being chased after the first period after giving up 4 goals on 12 shots.
Recently, rookie goaltender Anthony Stolarz seems to be operating as the starting goaltender, having gotten the nod in his last three games with the team. The 6’6” netminder has looked impressive thus far, albeit rough around the edges, posting a save percentage of .901% and a GAA of 3.18 in his 2018-19 campaign. When Brian Elliott returns from injury in the coming weeks, it would not be all too surprising to see Stolarz stay at the NHL level in a back-up role. For those looking for a change, young phenom
Carter Hart, who put up record setting numbers in the junior’s leagues, is still finding his rhythm in the AHL posting a save percentage of only .893% in his first 14 games played but registered his first shutout in his last start against the Bears on Friday night.
Regardless, one thing is certain, for a team who needs to start winning games, the solution will need to be found quickly to keep any potential playoff aspirations alive.
Collin has been a lifelong hockey and sports fan rooting on Philadelphia for as long as he can remember. He is currently enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park studying communications.