When Flyers GM Paul Holmgren was searching for a goaltender in the summer of 2011, he signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a massive nine-year, $51 million contract. That didn’t work out and it sounds like they aren’t interested in repeating history.
Holmgren is looking to acquire a goaltender once again, but this time he wants one with “no or one-year left” so he can “get a read on that player before committing,” according to a CSN Philly source.
Finding a capable starting goaltender that will become a free agent in the summer of 2014 isn’t impossible, but certainly his options are limited. St. Louis’ Jaroslav Halak would fit that description and he’s already been linked to Philadelphia.
Buffalo’s Ryan Miller is the other noteworthy possibility and the Sabres are gauging the trade market for him. However, he comes with a $6,250,000 annual cap hit, which would be hard for the Flyers to handle unless Buffalo retains some of it.
An alternative is Evgeni Nabokov, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. At the age of 37, Nabokov will probably only be looking for a one or two-year deal.
It’s worth noting that this might not be entirely about just avoiding going through a situation similar to the one they had with Bryzgalov. Steve Mason was great in his short stint with the Philadelphia Flyers, but he was also coming off years of struggles with the Blue Jackets.
Philadelphia might not be comfortable having him serve as the team’s starter in 2013-14 given his history, but if he has another strong season, they might want the flexibility to use him as their undisputed number one in 2014-15.