Philadelphia Flyers' Playoff Hopes Hinge On Potentially Disastrous Goaltending Situation

By Randy Holt
Ray Emery
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Flyers will head into the 2013-14 season looking to rebound from a 2013 season that was miserable in virtually every sense of the word. A prime reason for that was their inconsistency between the pipes, something that Paul Holmgren hopes he rectified this summer.

The Flyers will return goaltender Steve Mason, and roll him out in a duo that also features the returned Ray Emery. This is a pair with a lot of upside, and we saw good things from Mason last year, but this is also a duo that could completely blow up in the collective faces of the Flyers’ front office.

Mason was acquired at the trade deadline from Columbus, who has found themselves an elite goaltender in former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky, something of a sore subject in the City of Brotherly Love these days. Nonetheless, he did some good things in relief of Ilya Bryzgalov down the stretch.

Even so, it’s important to keep in mind the fact that Steve Mason has been pretty awful the last couple of years. Logging a full season in a market like Philadelphia could end up being bad news for a goaltender that has clearly lacked confidence over the last few campaigns.

Then there’s Emery. Emery was part of a Jennings Trophy winning duo in Chicago, and certainly did his part in helping secure that hardware. However, his hip may literally be held together by duct tape. If he’s healthy, he’s a fantastic option in split duty. If not, it’s disaster.

This is a true all or nothing move for the Flyers if there ever was one. If they get the 2013 Philadelphia Mason and the 2013 Chicago Emery, they are golden. They can put the puck in the net. They’re a playoff team. If they get the other result, they’re looking at a potential lottery pick and a massive overhaul, both in the front office and on the coaching staff, heading into 2014-15.

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