Flyers

Are Flyers targeting a goalie for another trade?

Flyers

Chuck Fletcher made four trades in a span of eight days to revamp his roster.

"The exciting thing is I think we can still add over the next few days," the Flyers' general manager said Saturday.

One area they need to address is backup goaltender. Could Fletcher make another move to fill that important spot?

The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported on Tuesday that the Flyers are one of five teams he believes have shown "varying degrees of interest" in Coyotes netminder Darcy Kuemper.

The 31-year-old Kuemper is under contract for one more season with a $4.5 million cap hit, according to CapFriendly.com and PuckPedia.com. The Flyers having interest would make sense. Fletcher had Kuemper in Minnesota, where the Wild took the big goalie during the sixth round of the 2009 draft. Kuemper would be a bona-fide backup to Carter Hart, a guy that would push for a tandem and give the Flyers more than just a No. 2.

In 2018-19, Kuemper finished tied for fifth in the Vezina Trophy voting as he went 27-20-8 with a 2.33 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and five shutouts.

However, Kuemper has battled injuries, which have cut into his number of games played, including the 2018-19 campaign. And after that season, he ranks 33rd among all goalies in games played over the last past two seasons with 56. Brian Elliott has played more games through that span with 61.

 

Per CapFriendly.com, the Flyers currently have around $11.7 million in cap space. In actuality, that number is smaller given restricted free agents Hart, Travis Sanheim and Connor Bunnaman are due new deals.

More: Flyers are adding experienced D-man in free agency

But Kuemper's cap hit is manageable and he would be a good one-year stopgap for the Flyers. What the Coyotes want for him is the bigger question here.

The backup position is imperative for the Flyers. Elliott played a huge role in being a positive influence on the 22-year-old Hart and also spelling him at key stretches. Hart is looking to rebound from a challenging 2020-21 season in which he had a 3.67 goals-against average and .877 save percentage.

It's uncertain what level of interest the Flyers have in re-signing the 36-year-old veteran Elliott, who will be a UFA when free agency opens Wednesday at noon ET. If the Flyers don't fill their backup goalie position via trade, they'll do so in free agency.

More: 5 free-agent targets for the Flyers

Fletcher has already done business with Arizona this offseason, moving Shayne Gostisbehere and two draft picks to the Coyotes for cap relief. We'll see if the two sides strike another deal or if the Flyers look elsewhere and end up using the free-agent market.

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