VOORHEES, N.J. — Lucky No. 7 could be in the net soon for the Flyers.
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher on Friday afternoon claimed goaltender Mike McKenna off waivers from the Canucks.
If, and when, McKenna plays, he would be the record-setting goaltender for the most used by an NHL team in one season. That factoid left McKenna recalling his days with the now defunct Las Vegas Wranglers.
“If you last long enough in the minors, you’ll see things you can only imagine,” McKenna said. “Years ago, when I was in the ECHL, we picked up a couple of guys at a rest stop.”
That may be Fletcher’s next option if something unfortunate happens to Carter Hart or McKenna, who ironically won his only game this season in Philadelphia — part of a 4-3 comeback on Nov. 27.
In 10 appearances with the Senators, McKenna finished with a 1-4-1 record, 3.96 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage.
The timing was ideal for Fletcher. Claiming McKenna was a move made necessary following a lower-body injury to Michal Neuvirth, now day to day and unavailable for Saturday’s game against the Flames.
“Mike provides our organization added depth as we continue to battle injuries at the goaltending position,” Fletcher said in a statement. “He is a veteran goaltender with a tremendous amount of professional experience.”
That experience has been mostly accumulated in the minors, having been a part of eight different NHL organizations, which also includes stops with 11 different AHL teams. His longest NHL stint came 10 years ago when he made 14 starts with the Lightning.
The 35-year-old signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with the Senators this past summer but was traded to Vancouver just two days ago as part of a four-player swap that allowed the Canucks to shed salary. The Flyers' new goaltender never made it to Vancouver as he accompanied the team to Montreal and then Toronto, where he departed to join the Flyers.
“I’ve always been able to perform. It’s just been a matter of not being somebody’s prospect. That’s what I’ve battled my whole career,” McKenna said. “I didn’t start out with an entry-level contract, so the cards were stacked against me from the beginning, and for whatever reason, I’ve managed to persevere and keep my career going.”
How long it rolls on in Philadelphia remains to be seen.
The Flyers are hoping to get Anthony Stolarz back on the ice this weekend from a lower-body injury that has kept him out since Dec. 15, while Brian Elliott is optimistic he can start practicing with the team in the next 10 to 14 days.
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