Flyers

Flyers re-sign RFAs Alex Lyon, Anthony Stolarz and Cole Bardreau

Flyers re-sign RFAs Alex Lyon, Anthony Stolarz and Cole Bardreau

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall's summer shopping may finally be over.

The Flyers on Saturday night re-signed goalies Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz to one-year contracts and forward Cole Bardreau to a two-year contract. All three are two-way deals.

Lyon and Stolarz will return to Lehigh Valley, where the two will again partner up in net for the Phantoms. The duo helped the Phantoms finish 2016-17 with 101 points.

In his first professional season, Lyon, 24, posted a 27-14-0 record with a 2.74 goals-against average and .912 save percentage with the Phantoms. The Flyers signed him as an NCAA free agent out of Yale University on April 5, 2016.

Stolarz had an up-and-down campaign last season with the Phantoms, his third year in the AHL. He had a 2.92 GAA and .911 save percentage in 29 games. He had a cup of coffee with the Flyers in November and December when Michal Neuvirth dealt with a lower-body injury. The 23-year-old goalie made his NHL debut on Nov. 27 against Calgary in a 5-3 win.

Overall, Stolarz, 23, was 2-1-1 with a 2.07 GAA and .928 save percentage in seven games with the Flyers.

Despite showing promise in his limited action, Stolarz didn't earn the trust of Hextall, who repeatedly has said he wasn't comfortable handing Stolarz the backup job.

Thus, Hextall signed Brian Elliott to a two-year contract on July 1. With Elliott and  Neuvirth under control for the two years, the Flyers are committing to a stopgap tandem.

"Anthony Stolarz has improved every year in the American League," Hextall said earlier this month. "With Neuvy's track record of injuries, we just didn’t feel comfortable with bringing Stolie in at this time. The guy we all forget about is Alex Lyon. He's done a pretty good job down there, too. Those two guys will go back down there and battle it out.

"We'll see where it goes, but they're two very good young goalies. We'll see how it goes this year with them and make adjustments as we go along."

What makes their extensions interesting is the term. With both on one-year contracts, it's safe to say the Flyers are pitting Lyon and Stolarz against each other once again in a competition at the AHL level.

The winner may get another contract and the other let go. It's a fascinating problem the Flyers have here in net, one that is a problem but one they should love to have.

Goalie prospects Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom are still a few years away from NHL consideration. Hart, 18, and will spend one more year in the WHL before turning pro. Sandstrom decided to re-sign for one more year in Sweden. He said at last week's development camp that he needed one more season before coming overseas (see story).

Should Sandstrom come over for the 2018-19 season, when Lyon and Stolarz's contracts are up, the crease in Lehigh Valley could be crowded with Hart expected to be there too.

Despite having Elliott and Neuvirth under control for 2018-19, the Flyers could foresee either Lyon or Stolarz being NHL ready that year and move either Elliott or Neuvirth.

This is all projection. Hextall has positioned himself to have this problem, and it's one the organization hasn't had often. There is a healthy goalie problem brewing.

That should be welcomed.

Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Why Flyers fans should be hopeful about post-NHL All-Star break playoff chances

Today, we break down why Flyers fans should be hopeful for the post-All-Star break stretch. On Sunday, we’ll look at the reasons for concern.

Through 50 games, the Flyers have done two important things. They’ve played well within the division and have dominated at home. 

Those two trends bode well for after the All-Star break because divisional games become much bigger and confidence at home is paramount as the pressure builds.

The Flyers are 17-4-4 at home and 9-2-3 against Metropolitan foes. The marks are notable given the Flyers fell sorely short in those areas last season, when they finished 19-18-4 at home and 10-16-2 in divisional play.

Another positive is the Flyers are getting healthier after the break. Shayne Gostisbehere (knee) could be back Friday in the Flyers’ first game out of the bye week, while Carter Hart (abdominal strain) is expected to return not long after.

But what might be the Flyers’ most convincing piece of evidence for optimism is how they’ve performed against the NHL’s best teams. The Flyers have shown they can play with any club, which is huge for their own belief moving forward.

The Flyers are 11th in the NHL standings at 27-17-6. They've gone 9-5-3 against the top-10 teams and 5-1-1 vs. the top four.

Head coach Alain Vigneault has a history of taking teams to the playoffs, and doing so in Year 1 on the job. At his previous three stops (Canadiens, Canucks, Rangers), each of his first seasons produced playoff bids and at least one series victory.

Vigneault’s track record will be tested over the Flyers’ final 32 games.

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2020 NHL All-Star Skills: Travis Konecny finishes 7th in fastest skater; Mathew Barzal beats Connor McDavid

2020 NHL All-Star Skills: Travis Konecny finishes 7th in fastest skater; Mathew Barzal beats Connor McDavid

Travis Konecny went toe to toe with familiar faces in the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills Friday night.

Among the eight-player field for the fastest skater event, four players were from the 2015 draft class.

Konecny went 24th overall to the Flyers and Mathew Barzal No. 16 to the Islanders, while Connor McDavid was selected No. 1 by the Oilers followed by Jack Eichel at No. 2 to the Sabres.

The first-time All-Star Konecny couldn't take down McDavid, but the competition's three-time reigning champ was dethroned by Barzal at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

Konecny had fun in the event and scored during the goalie competition.

Right at the start line, I could see my parents, brother and girlfriend, so that was pretty cool — they were right there," Konecny said Friday, via Flyers senior director of public relations and communications Zack Hill. "I was just having fun with them, they're enjoying it just as much as I was. We had a little moment after I finished my lap and I think I was near the bottom, they're laughing and I was laughing. It was over with and I could enjoy the rest of the night.

Barzal took the crown with a time of 13.175 seconds, just ahead of McDavid.

1. Mathew Barzal, Islanders — 13.175
2. Connor McDavid, Oilers — 13.215
3. Chris Kreider, Rangers — 13.509 
4. Jack Eichel, Sabres — 13.540
5. Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche — 13.895
6. Anthony Duclair, Senators — 14.005
7. Travis Konecny, Flyers — 14.113
8. Quinn Hughes, Canucks — 14.263

Konecny will compete for the Metropolitan Division in the All-Star Game Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, which you can live stream right here.

Here are more sights and scenes from Konecny's All-Star weekend:

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