I’m sure many of Flyers fans know Sergei Bobrovsky’s history with the franchise and yearn for the days before he was traded away. Even though he wasn’t the elite level player during his time Philadelphia that he is today, the frustration of trading him before his peak has been a sore spot for fans since he was dealt. Now with his contract coming to an end in Columbus the rumors are starting to swirl of his future landing spot. Given how lackluster the Flyers goaltending has been this season, there is an obvious need for an elite level goalie, but is it really the right move?
While a Sergei Bobrovsky return would tempting and hard to turn down, in the long-term it might not be the best move. It’s not every day a two-time Vezina winner in the prime of his career appears on the open market, thus he will surely make a huge amount of money no matter where he ends up.
Let’s start with the positives first, Bobrovsky would be a huge addition for a floundering Flyers team desperate for an answer in net. The Flyers will have plenty of cap space to fit Bob on the roster and given they only have Alex Lyon and Carter Hart under contract next season, he’d be the clear-cut starter. Speaking of Carter Hart, there would be positives and negatives with Bobrovsky in the picture.
With Bob around, the Flyers would have no need to rush Carter Hart into the NHL. While he is starting to find his way in the AHL, his rocky start has many reconsidering how quickly he’ll make the jump to the big leagues. With the Flyers already burning through five separate goalies so far this season, Hart is the only one in the organization who hasn’t seen NHL minutes.
Therein lies the issue. Bobrovsky demanded a trade out of Philadelphia because he wasn’t happy playing second fiddle to Bryzgalov. So while short-term it’ll help not rush Carter Hart through his developmental process, if Bobrovsky signs a long-term deal, sooner or later he and Hart will be fighting for ice time, which would be a repeat of his first tenure.
Even with a few players to sign this summer, the Flyers should still have plenty of space to make a splash in free agency, and there are plenty names that would look nice in orange and black. Bobrovsky would be far and away the best option on goal this summer, but he isn’t the only name available. Some of the other names that will probably hit the market include Semyon Varlamov, Jimmy Howard, and Cam Talbot.
Talbot and Howard aren’t nearly as enticing as Bobrovsky, but would work much better as a short-term gap until Hart is ready. Varlamov is widely considered to be the runner-up in the Bobrovsky sweepstakes and could be an interesting, cheaper option than Bob. Varlamov’s biggest mark against him is his injury history, as he has missed time over the past few years with a recurring groin injury. His numbers are a step down from Bobrovsky, but would be a huge improvement over any of the current goalies for the Flyers, and would also be easier to split time with Carter Hart down the line.
The idea of a reunion with Bobrovsky tantalizing , especially given how abysmal the current stat of the Flyers goaltending has been this season. The clear frontrunner of this summers possible free agent pool, it’ll be hard to accept anything else, but Bobrovsky probably isn’t the best fit for the current direction of the team.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
Photo credit: NHL.com