John Boruk

Why Flyers traded Anthony Stolarz to Oilers for Cam Talbot

Why Flyers traded Anthony Stolarz to Oilers for Cam Talbot

Here comes number eight.

The Flyers acquired Cam Talbot in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers late Friday night in exchange for Anthony Stolarz, the Flyers' 2012 second-round selection (see story).

The move means at some point the Flyers will become the first team in NHL history to start eight different goaltenders in one season after tying the 1989-90 Quebec Nordiques on Dec. 18.

There’s a good chance Talbot could make his Flyers debut Sunday in Detroit as interim head coach Scott Gordon stated Thursday he was uncertain who would start that game. 

Here are some important questions surrounding general manager Chuck Fletcher’s latest move.

Why trade Stolarz?

Here’s the perplexing question perhaps on the minds of many who were hoping for a Carter Hart-Anthony Stolarz duo next season. The Flyers feel they need a solid veteran who can start next season alongside Hart.

As well as Stolarz has played, he’s still very raw and limited when it comes to NHL experience (just 19 games). Plus, there’s still some internal concern regarding his health. Stolarz has required knee surgery twice over the past 18 months, and sustained another lower-body injury this season that kept him out of action for six weeks.

Even if the Flyers valued Stolarz, he’s a restricted free agent following this season and would need to clear waivers just to be assigned to the Phantoms next season. Sensing a team would likely claim him to start the season (much like the Flyers did with Calvin Pickard), Stolarz became expendable.

Unfortunately, you just can’t keep everyone and this gives Stolarz a great opportunity moving forward in Edmonton.

Why acquire Talbot?

As we mentioned the other day, Talbot has experience as a starter with the Oilers and a backup with the New York Rangers. He led the NHL with 140 starts from 2015-17 while backstopping the Oilers to the playoffs in the 2016-17 season.

What’s very important is that he has a strong relationship with Hart after the two goaltenders worked together this past summer. Talbot will know exactly what his role is moving forward.

“We partnered up and took the ice for goalie sessions this summer,” Hart said this month. “He’s a great mentor, he’s a good guy, a great goalie. He’s the guy I called before my first start to ask about pregame jitters and what to expect.” 

Will they re-sign Talbot?

In all likelihood, yes. Consider the final 25 regular-season games somewhat of a trial run for Talbot. The Flyers want a firsthand look at how Talbot fits in with his new team, and is he still capable of winning games and playing well?

Plus, Talbot needs to make his own determination of whether he wants to stay in Philadelphia or test the free-agent market this summer. I would expect the Flyers to offer a two-year contract in the $2.5-3.5 million range, which would be perfect as Hart still has two years remaining on his entry-level deal.

What's the next move?

Well, the Flyers won’t carry four goaltenders on the roster, that’s for certain. Once Brian Elliott is ready to return to Philadelphia following his conditioning stint with the Phantoms, expect Mike McKenna to be placed on waivers, and if he clears, to be sent down to the Phantoms.

However, for Saturday’s game against the Red Wings, McKenna will serve as the backup to Hart.

Interesting tidbit

Talbot’s first NHL start came against the Flyers on Oct. 24, 2013 — a 2-1 loss. However, his first NHL win was a 3-2 victory over the Red Wings in his next start. Hart’s first NHL win was also a 3-2 victory against those same Red Wings.

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When will Philippe Myers make his debut?

When will Philippe Myers make his debut?

Philippe Myers walked into the Flyers' dressing room Wednesday morning, glanced into his stall and noticed that something wasn’t quite right.

“I asked the equipment guys, ‘Where’s my gear?’" Myers said. "I thought someone else’s pads were in my locker.”

Turns out it was Myers' equipment. The 22-year-old defenseman had no idea that the Flyers' players have two separate equipment bags — practice gear at the Skate Zone and their game day equipment.

His shoulder, elbow and shin pads that he’s worn with the Phantoms are at the Wells Fargo Center in preparation for Saturday’s game against the Red Wings, and then he’ll pack it all up and take to Detroit.

Until then, Myers is breaking in a new set of equipment, as well as trying to break into the league. There’s a feeling that Myers' debut was imminent once the team recalled him from Lehigh Valley last Saturday, but right now his NHL debut is in a holding pattern.   

“For him to come up here for a week or two weeks, it’s not going to hurt his development,” Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon said. “You have to make sure you balance the schedule for what you need, and what you potentially could need.”

Essentially, Myers has taken over the seventh defenseman role vacated by Christian Folin, who was dealt along with Dale Weise to the Montreal Canadiens. Gordon can’t risk not having that extra defenseman, especially in back-to-back situations in which the second game is on the road. 

Secondly, it doesn’t benefit Myers or the Flyers to receive a quick, last-minute call-up from Lehigh Valley when the defenseman is not acclimated to the speed of the NHL. 

“There is a pace of play that can’t be replicated in the American Hockey League to get a player used to the harder passes, receiving, making [them], bigger, stronger players that are coming down on you," Gordon said. "Right now, if anything, it’s helping his development to experience that pace of play."

Gordon could give Myers that first game and have either Shayne Gostisbehere or Andrew MacDonald sit as a healthy scratch. Gostisbhehere played just 11:24 Tuesday in Minnesota, where he finished as a minus-3 while also committing a heinous turnover in the middle of the ice that led to a prime scoring chance. 

MacDonald, Gostisbehere's partner, has performed like a third-pairing defenseman, blocking a ton of shots, but he doesn’t possess the athleticism and ability to move the puck like Myers does. However, Gostisbehere runs the point on the top power-play unit while MacDonald is utilized on the penalty kill where only Ivan Provorov and Radko Gudas see more time shorthanded.

Right now, Myers wouldn’t be utilized on special teams at all until he is better acclimated to the NHL and has worked extensively in those particular areas. 

Myers will get his shot, and soon. He’s one injury away from being the next man up and Gordon knows how important that first game will be to Myers and his family, who live in Moncton, New Brunswick. The Flyers' coach just can’t say definitively when that game will be.

“Right now, he deserves to be here and the experience of being here and playing and practicing with NHL players every day is beneficial,” Gordon said. 

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A big Valentine's Day surprise for Claude Giroux

A big Valentine's Day surprise for Claude Giroux

VOORHEES, N.J. — Claude Giroux received quite the Valentine's Day surprise.

Candy hearts with a beating heart is on the way. Giroux’s wife, Ryanne, tweeted out the picture Thursday morning with a bowl full of candy along with an ultrasound picture. 

Spelled out on the candy hearts was “August 2019,” denoting the expected arrival time. Exactly how the surprise went down, the Flyers' captain elected to keep that to himself.

“I’ll keep the details out of it, but it’s great news. We’re pretty excited, [life-changing] for sure," Giroux said. "There may be a little bit less sleep."

Claude and wife Ryanne tied the knot less than a year ago, July 7, 2018, at the Ashford Estate in Allentown, New Jersey, but he couldn’t have timed a pregnancy any better. An August due date works out perfectly with Giroux’s schedule in the middle of summer and a month prior to the start of training camp.

“Definitely good timing for sure,” Giroux said.

There’s an actual due day, but Giroux elected to sit on that piece of information as well. When I asked if it’s Aug. 7, he responded, “Is that your birthday?”

“No, it’s Sidney Crosby’s,” I told him.

“I’ll make sure he’s not born on that day,” Giroux said with a smile.

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