TORONTO -- Tuesday's news that Philadelphia netminder Ray Emery requires season-ending hip surgery will intensify speculation surrounding the Flyers' goaltending plans moving forward.
Rumors already had been swirling that the Flyers were shopping around for goaltending help when Emery went down with an injury before the Olympic break. With him now out for the season, you can bet guys such as Martin Biron, Dwayne Roloson, Marty Turco, Dan Ellis and Tomas Vokoun are going to be watching their phones pretty closely leading up to Wednesday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
The Flyers have received solid backup goaltending from Michael Leighton, who is 13-7-1 with a 2.73 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. Meanwhile, Brian Boucher, who was the third goalie in Philly's lineup before Emery's injury, now falls into a backup role. But for a Flyers team that fancies itself a Stanley Cup contender, you can bet that GM Paul Holmgren will want someone with a better pedigree down the stretch.
Two years ago, Biron, now with the New York Islanders, led the Flyers to a surprise berth in the Eastern Conference finals. He is the most economical of those netminders available, while Vokoun may be statistically the best of that group. Vokoun has a no-trade clause, but one has to imagine he would waive it for a chance to play for a postseason-bound team because the Panthers are stripping down their roster. The downside of Vokoun, who will be paid $6.3 million next season, is he has never won a playoff series.
Ellis is an interesting option because he has played well for Nashville, going 13-11-1 with a 2.59 GAA and .913 save percentage. Although he and Pekka Rinne have split duties for the Preds, Rinne signed a two-year contract extension during the Olympic break that will make Ellis expendable because he'll become an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
Do the Predators keep both netminders for a possible playoff run, or do they deal Ellis for futures, or even a roster player, to help their offense?
The dark horse in the Philly goaltending discussion might be Roloson, who is battle-tested after leading the Edmonton Oilers to the 2006 Stanley Cup finals. Roloson has another year left on a contract that will pay him $3 million with a $2.5 million cap hit.
The Flyers might not be scared off by having Roloson for another season, especially given that Emery signed just a one-year deal this season.
Roloson, 40, has continued to play at a high level for an up-and-down Islanders team and is no stranger to playoff pressure, something that is part of the territory when it comes to playing goal in Philadelphia.
Turco might be another option, although since the Stars waived Alex Auld (who was picked up by the New York Rangers), it appears they would move forward with a Turco-Kari Lehtonen tandem in the hopes of finding their way into the playoffs. Turco will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
And just to muddy the waters a little bit more, what about the persistent rumors that Chicago wants to upgrade its goaltending? If the Hawks do, will that drive up the market for those aforementioned goaltenders?