Two interesting bits of news tonight from Wayne Fish of phillyburbs.com. First, that the Flyers are interested in goalie Robert Esche. Again. He's currently playing over in Russia. Secondly, Fish is reporting that defenseman Braydon Coburn has turned down a contract extension, instead wanting to wait until the season is over to negotiate.
Let's get to the Esche news first. As you likely remember, the Flyers contacted Esche over the summer as a potential candidate to fill the vacant goaltender spot back then. Esche decided that he wanted to honor the final season of his KHL contract in Russia, though.
Paul Holmgren confirmed to Fish on Sunday night that he has in fact explored Esche as an option for the remainder of this regular season, but rules say that any goalie signed right now wouldn't be eligible to play in the postseason. If that's the case, it really doesn't matter.
Sure, the Flyers could use a backup goalie who isn't still taking college classes while Johan Backlund is out, but that's all Esche would be. If Boucher goes down as well, we're clearly effed beyond comprehension. Therefore, an Esche signing or any signing for the remainder of the regular season is really not too important.
Now, on to Coburn. Fish is reporting that the Flyers defenseman "directed his agent" to defer contract talks until the end of the season. He's a restricted free agent following this season and Flyers reportedly offered him a contract. The most intriguing part of Fish's report is the following quote from Holmgren.
"I don’t think he’s played as well as we would have anticipated,’’ Holmgren said. "And if you ask Braydon, probably not as good as he would have liked. He still logs a lot of minutes for us. I’m concerned that his production has dropped again this year.
"But I do think there are some variables here that are out of his control. Chris (Pronger) gets more power-play time now and Braydon is getting less this year. But we still consider him part of our future. We look forward to getting it (contract) done.’’
Holmgren also said that he "doesn't have any problems" with Ryan Parent, that Dan Carcillo's agent is waiting until the end of the year to start talks and that he's close on terms with Darroll Powe's camp.