As much focus as we’ve put into the Philadelphia Flyers‘ needs on defense, their goaltending isn’t something that inspires too much confidence right now, especially when you look at the backup plan to Ilya Bryzgalov.
While the Flyers rolled last year with a guy who could step in and perform for Bryz in the event that he struggled, in Sergei Bobrovsky, this year’s no. 2 goaltender is far less appealing: Michael Leighton.
Leighton hasn’t seen real NHL action since the 2009-2010 season, which was obviously the year he surrendered an extremely soft goal to Patrick Kane to cost the Flyers a shot at forcing a Game 7 in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
As it stands right now, Leighton is the only real option to back up Bryz. There aren’t any real solid trade options out there, and of the free agent candidates, there isn’t exactly a wealth of help out there. But one guy who could be intriguing for the Flyers was also in those 2010 Cup Finals, though he watched from the bench. Cristobal Huet.
Huet is making his return to the United States after a two-year hiatus in Europe. The Hawks wanted his salary off the books and worked out a deal to send him across the Atlantic. But he’s back and is looking for work as a backup. This presents an opportunity for the Flyers.
The style of play is obviously quite different in Europe, and is actually a benefit for goaltenders, who have to be more adept at reading the play and being patient, which has presumably helped Huet. Right now, he might be the best option out there, if the Flyers aren’t satisfied with their goaltending duo.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that Philly should rush out and sign him to a contract. What could end up being a very nice idea is bringing him into training camp on an invite. At the very least, he’d push Leighton and make him prove he deserves that backup spot. If not, he earns a one-year deal and a spot on the bench, while Leighton heads back to the AHL.
There are a few teams interested in Huet, and someone is going to give him a shot once training camp nears. This is something that the Flyers should at least look into, at the very least.