The Flyers look as though they have screwed up badly. Again. Their goaltending is called into question by fans and experts alike and given their current playoff status (down three games to two), things have reached a head. But everything that has happened between the pipes for the Flyers is just a crazy collection of coincidences brought on by necessity. Michael Leighton is a quality starting goaltender. He got the proverbial bum's rush.


Not his fault. Not even the fault of the Flyers.


I think, much like Craig Anderson, Michael Leighton overcame the odds to become a quality NHL starter. But he was injured last summer, may have hid the extent of it to the team, and things grew worse when he started the season (and blew it).


While he was on the IR, rookie Sergei Bobrovsky comes in and does extremely well. Dominates. Brian Boucher was his usual solid, dependable backup self. So Leighton returns and what else can the Flyers do? The best thing they can do is shovel any controversy under the mat - and quickly. So Leighton goes to the minors (and dominates there).


Everything that is happening is exactly what the Flyers should have done. Unfair, but necessary. Bobrovsky was playing like a star. So even though he stumbled down the stretch, and in the second half for that matter, they had to stick to the decision that made in early January.


Waiving Leighton was a no-brainer. The risk was small, since he was not only an unproven starter, but even if he was claimed, the dollars at half-salary were small enough to swallow. But now that Bobrovsky has shown that he is unready for a role as playoff starter (perhaps premature, but there is not a lot of room for error here) and Boucher is showing that he can be steady when needed, but not if that need is every game over the course of several weeks.


So the Flyers are back to Leighton.


Are they doomed? You tell me. In his last 43 NHL regular season and playoff games, here are the numbers:


25-9-2, 2.49 GAA, 0.917 SP


And his stint in the AHL, for a terrible Adirondack team, he managed a winning record. Here are his numbers there this past season:


14-12-3, 2.22, 0.926


Terrible. String him up now. Flyers are toast.


The point is – Philadelphia can win this thing. But it is unfortunate that Leighton was brought in so late. He has no room for error. Zero. So it will be a shame if he loses one of the next two games 1-0 or 2-1. But then again, that would make him a quality dark horse in fantasy leagues for next season.


The Flyers would be smart to roll with Leighton for 55 games next campaign and Bobrovsky for 30 (including some shared games, naturally). We’re still waiting to see what he can do in the NHL as a starter over a full season, but I think he’ll do well.



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shaun b said:

"Occasional Nice Save" Is that all it takes to get to the cup, not bad. That Flyer's team must have been amazing.
April 24, 2011
Votes: +0

stevegamer said:

... I have to disagree on two points:

1. This most certainly is partly his fault, and partly the Flyers'. Leighton hid his injury severity from the team, causing everything to happen later than it should've - that's his fault. The Flyers not setting up a good rotation early in the year when Bobrovsky was hot, causing the long season to wear him down, is their fault. As is being so close to the cap such that they couldn't bring Leighton up and see what's what.

2. Bobrovsky's entire NHL career (56 games): 28-14-8, with a .914 SP. For a young guy who never played in North America before, I think Leighton's marks (over the best stretch of his career by far) are certainly reachable by Bobrovsky.
April 24, 2011
Votes: +0

paul said:

... the flyers do so many things well, but jesus tap dancing christ do they muck things up when handling goalies
April 23, 2011
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

... Dinkus - given that Bobrovsky has spent the last two games in the press box, I think the "screwed with confidence" ship has sailed.

I say again: Leighton's last 43 NHL games are: 25-9-2, 2.49 GAA, 0.917 SP. Bob can't touch that.
April 23, 2011
Votes: -1

DinkusMaximus said:

A bit off I strongly disagree. First off Leighton is not an NHL starter. He's an NHL journeyman back-up at best. I'll give him credit and say he played above expectation last season, but that doesn't change the fact that he's an NHL back-up who struggles terribly with rebounds and gives up soft goals. The Flyers defense is what got Leighton that strong record in the playoffs last year. The Defense kept chances to a minimum and both him and Boucher just had to come up with an occasional nice save. Leighton's AHL numbers are meaningless. Once you've played a steady amount in the NHL you should have strong AHL numbers. The big problem here is there is absolutely no reason for Leighton to even be dressed at this point. Laviolette made a huge error and scratched Bobs for Leighton. Bob is who got you here, not Leighton. Leighton hasn't even played a full 60 mins this seaons. You don't throw away a guy who won you 28 games this year in favor of a guy who hasn't played all season. That's just poor coaching. You've now screwed up the confidence of your future starter and showed him that a strong season goes unrewarded. Not to mention the goals Boucher gave up were far worse then Bobs. Horrible miscoaching by Laviolette. Flyers will yet again lose to the organizations mismanagement of goaltending and lack of addressing the teams need for finding a quality goalie. How many years are the Flyers going to get knocked out of the playoffs due to poor goaltending before they get it? You'd think that heartbreaking 5 hole goal in OT of game 6 last year would have finally been the wake-up call they needed.
April 23, 2011
Votes: +0

Pengwin7 said:

Agreed. As a Flyers fan (yes), this is an accurate summation of the Flyers net situation. I wish I had something to add... or hope for... or... ugh...
April 23, 2011
Votes: +0
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