It was another wild year for the Flyers in goal. Injuries to starter Brian Elliott and backup Michal Neuvirth meant the Flyers had four goalies with at least 11 games played this season. Alex Lyon saw significant minutes and Hextall made an emergency late season deal, sending a few picks to Detroit for Petr Mrazek.
Overall, it was textbook Flyers goaltending: start out strong, then inevitably run into an issue. Despite that, it seemed like there was a competent option in net all season long, but no real superstar. At least that’s what it felt like in my less than expert opinion.
43 GP, 23-11-7, 2.66 GAA, .909 Sv%
Elliott was named the starter at the beginning of the season and it started out rocky, capped with a 10-game losing streak that Elliott was a part of. He did end up doing a solid job turning it around though, after the ten game losing streak, he was 15-5-1 with a 2.51 GAA and a .912 Sv% all the way up to a February injury sidelined him until the playoffs. He wasn’t at 100% in the playoffs and it showed. He started 4 out of 5 games against Pittsburgh, but only finished two of those starts. He had a great regular season, but bombed the final exam which brings his grade down a little bit. When he was healthy Elliott lived up to the Moose name, but a subpar showing in the playoffs leaves questions about whether or not he is “the guy”.
11 GP, 4-2-1, 2.75 GAA, .905 Sv%
It’s safe to say Lyon stepped up when he was needed, and filled his role pretty well this season. He had a string of starts when Petr Mrazek started to struggle, Lyon was able to step in and proved serviceable. Grading on a curve, you could argue that Lyon was the Flyers most successful goalie this season based on what he was asked to do. Don’t freak out, but that’s why I’m going to give him a better grade than Elliott. This review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the ridiculous 94 save five overtime game Lyon posted in the second round of the AHL playoffs, just stupid numbers. You’d have to think Lyon will get his chance to earn the wide open Flyers starting job next year, barring a major goalie trade.
17 GP, 6-6-3, 3.22 GAA, .891 Sv%
When I was scrolling through twitter comment sections after this trade was made, I read a lot of Red Wings fans feeling pretty apathetic to this trade because of how inconsistent Mrazek was. After watching Mrazek play for the Flyers for a few weeks, I quickly realized something. The twitter commenters were right. In his short time with the Flyers this season Mrazek was the epitome of hot and cold. He started off red hot right after the trade, then had to be relieved by Alex Lyon for a bit after a back-to-back shaky performances. He never really settled in and found a groove, but he was a space filler and that’s why he’s getting a C. He’ll get credit for the class, but just barely. All-in-all, Mrazek was just a rental and with his contract now up, he likely won’t be back next season.
22 GP, 9-7-3, 2.60 GAA, .915 Sv%
What a frustrating year for Michael Neuvirth. I have to be honest, I’m a big Neuvirth fan. When he’s at the top of his game he looks like a goalie that can win you a cup. The only issue is that he can’t seem to stay healthy. His record wasn’t the best, but his goals against and save percentage both lead the Flyers this year. If Neuvirth could just finally get over the injury bug and get consistent playing time, he can be such a good goalie in this league, but everyone knows the best ability is availability. He’s going to get a modest grade despite his encouraging play, because we give credit for attendance in this class.
The future of Flyers goaltending is bright, but it’s more than likely we’re going to see the Elliot/Neuvirth combo to start the season again next year. We’re still a fews years away from a Carter Hart or a Felix Sandstrom, but if our guys can just stay healthy next season, maybe, just maybe, the Flyers can do some damage next year.