Flyers

Flyers reportedly may take a run at Sergei Bobrovsky this summer

Flyers reportedly may take a run at Sergei Bobrovsky this summer

From eating delicious postgame meals in Buffalo to rumors circulating in the hockey world, the old-school Flyers are back … well, kind of. Gritty is still of the new school.

With the team's goaltending situation a hot mess, it didn't take long for the Flyers to enter the rumor business again post-Ron Hextall. In fact, Chuck Fletcher was named GM just six days ago.

This one is juicy for several reasons. It makes sense, would elevate the Flyers into the next tier and would right a wrong. From Sportsnet's Chris Johnston, who we recall broke the Braydon Coburn trade in 2015 at 1:48 a.m.:

The answer to the longest-running riddle in hockey may come from an unexpected place: As the Philadelphia Flyers ruminate on how to shore up their goaltending — at least until prospect Carter Hart is ready to take the wheel — there are whispers they will take a run at Sergei Bobrovsky on July 1.

Whoa. Let's dissect this one.

We all know about Bobrovsky, the one that got away, or better worded, the prime example of what was wrong with the old-school Flyers — a lack of patience and knowledge of how to develop goaltending. Many say the Flyers never should have traded Bob, which is wrong. They had to trade Bobrovsky because they had already closed that door when they panicked and signed Ilya Bryzgalov in the summer of 2011. They never should have signed Bryzgalov. They should have signed a veteran stopgap and been patient with Bobrovsky.

Sound familiar? Of course it does, because Flyers goaltending is a vicious cycle of mediocrity. It's a similar situation now as the Flyers have a legitimate goalie prospect in Carter Hart receiving AHL seasoning. To Hextall's credit, he understood how to handle developing goaltending; he just completely bungled the bridge to Hart.

The Flyers' goaltending situation this season is a disaster and one of the major downfalls of the Hextall era. The Flyers have used five goalies this season, and it's just Dec. 9. It wasn't like this wasn't totally predictable. Brian Elliott was coming off major core muscle surgery and Michal Neuvirth had an injury record longer than a high school U.S. history textbook. It was a bad bet that Elliott and Neuvirth could get you to Hart.

An injury to Alex Lyon during the preseason was the real curveball. But betting on Lyon being the backup would have been a high-risk bet. Hextall should have addressed the goaltending situation in some way. He didn't, and now Fletcher is the GM.

Neither Elliott and Neuvirth have contracts after this season, and it's almost a sure bet that neither will be back next season. Elliott hasn't necessarily been bad here, but health issues are catching up. The Flyers need a better option until Hart is ready to take over.

Which brings us to Bobrovsky, who has the second-best save percentage (.921) among NHL goaltenders since the Flyers traded him to Columbus in 2012 and has won the Vezina Trophy twice.

Bobrovsky's time in Columbus appears to be coming to an end. He's a free agent on July 1 and all signs point to him testing free agency.

According to The Athletic's Aaron Porzline in a story published Aug. 22, Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets had not "actively negotiated for some time now." As Portzline pointed out, it's assumed Bobrovsky wants to be the highest-paid goalie in the NHL.

This is where it gets a little murky for the Flyers. Carey Price is the league's highest-paid goalie after signing an eight-year, $84 million contract on July 2, 2017. Bobrovsky's résumé warrants him to be in that conversation.

Postseason struggles aside, Bob has been one of the best goalies in the league since 2012. But the playoff performances are part of Bob's story, and they're not pretty. Bobrovsky has struggled in the first third of this season, but his track record is strong enough to overlook it.

Bobrovsky is going to be paid big this summer, and the Flyers have cap space and the drive to spend. Bringing Bobrovsky back would instantly solve this problem; it's just about the term.

The Flyers have learned firsthand not to go term on a goalie. But dishing out big bucks on, say, a five-year contract? It solves the problem now and doesn't block Hart either.

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Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

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Flyers' Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma

Oskar Lindblom, a 23-year-old forward on the Flyers, is expected to miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, the team announced Friday afternoon.

Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones.

Below is a statement from Flyers president of hockey operations and general manager Chuck Fletcher:

Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma by leading specialists at the University of Pennsylvania. He will undergo further testing and evaluation next week and begin treatment immediately thereafter. He is not expected to return to play for the remainder of the season. The Flyers will do everything possible to support Oskar and assist him in securing the best care available. Out of respect for Oskar and his family, the team will have no further comment at this time and asks that Oskar be afforded a period of privacy so that he may focus his efforts on his treatment and a return to full health.

Lindblom, a native of Sweden, had been one of the Flyers’ top players through 30 games, scoring 11 goals and 18 points.

He was selected by the Flyers in the fifth round of the 2014 draft and has blossomed into a promising player.

Always smiling, positive and humble, Lindblom is beloved by his teammates. His rise from a fifth-round pick to a difference-making player has been a product of hard work.

After scoring 17 goals last season, sixth most among NHL rookies, Lindblom went back to Gävle, Sweden, to train all summer with his old team Brynäs IF.

"It’s like five minutes from my house," Lindblom said during training camp.

“It was nice to be back home for a bit, just relaxed, had some time with friends and family, so it was great.”

It didn't take long for the Flyers' new coaching staff to fall in love with Lindblom's game as the winger raced out of the chute, scoring in the team's season opener and playing a major role ever since.

“I didn’t know much about Oskar before coming here, but what I’ve found is a real smart, two-way player, hard-working young man," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Oct. 26.

In the summer of 2017, Lindblom talked about his climb within the Flyers' system.

"I just think about it by myself, like fifth-rounder, I just felt like I can play and I can be on this level," Lindblom said.

By the age of 23, he has more than made it on the highest level.

Below is the outpouring of support for Lindblom, via social media:

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Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

BOX SCORE

From the moment it was announced that Oskar Lindblom would miss Wednesday night's game, the Flyers' chances at Pepsi Center felt bleak.

No Lindblom, no Travis Konecny and facing the NHL's highest-scoring team in its building was not a promising script for the Flyers, who lost to the Avalanche, 3-1.

In stretches this season, the Flyers have struggled to bury goals. And that has been with Lindblom and Konecny — their two leading goal-scorers at 11 apiece — in the lineup.

The Flyers (17-9-5) did some good things but Colorado finished plays behind its world class talent up top.

The Avalanche (20-8-3) are on an eight-game point streak (7-0-1) in which they've scored 4.13 goals per game.

• Without Konecny (concussion) and Lindblom (upper body), the Flyers had difficulty putting the puck in the net. They were going to have to put up some goals against the Avalanche, who entered scoring an NHL-best 3.70 goals per game. For the second time in the last three games, the Flyers scored only one goal.

The lone tally came from Claude Giroux when the Flyers were trailing 3-0 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

• Following a first period in which they survived, especially in the back half of it thanks to Carter Hart, the Flyers actually played a solid second period. At one point during the middle stanza, the Flyers were outshooting Colorado 11-0.

But as the Flyers kept pushing to no avail, the Avalanche changed the whole complexion of the period with one play by their two best weapons. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen hooked up for a nasty marker to make it 2-0 with 3:55 left in the period, a deflating goal to allow for the Flyers (see highlights).

Considering Colorado was 14-0-1 when leading after the middle period, the Flyers were in a serious hole, even after a hard-working period.

• Hart, who entered 8-2-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .928 save percentage over his last 12 starts, faced the Avalanche for the first time in his career.

He made a highlight-reel save and gave the Flyers a fighting chance in tough circumstances.

The 21-year-old has been impressive during the first period all season long, allowing the Flyers to find their legs and rhythm. He converted 12 of his 24 saves in the opening stanza against Colorado.

On the Avalanche's first-period goal, Scott Laughton won a defensive zone faceoff but the Flyers failed to clear the puck, resulting in Matt Calvert's tally.

Rantanen added his second goal early in the third period and that was pretty much the game.

Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz, who came in 5-0-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .926 save percentage over his last eight games (six starts), finished with 32 stops.

• When Philippe Myers (back spasms, day to day) is ready to return, Robert Hagg should be the odd man out on defense. Shayne Gostisbehere has found some of his offensive mojo and Myers has shown way too much promise to be sitting when healthy.

A stay-at-home guy like Hagg was far too noticeable against the Avalanche. He committed a penalty and was a minus-2 in 15:21 minutes.

• David Kase was summoned to Denver this morning to make his NHL debut and become the ninth rookie to play for the Flyers this season

The 22-year-old winger had a nice scoring chance and two shots in 7:47 minutes. 

• The Flyers head to the old stomping grounds of general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr when they visit the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Fletcher was the GM in Minnesota from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

The Flyers have not lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29.

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