Dwayne Roloson has officially been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. This now makes Simon Gagne and the rest of the boys in T-Bay an even bigger threat in the Eastern Conference. The only question that surrounded the Lightning was the sub-par goaltending given to them by Mike Smith and Dan Ellis. Now they have a very capable starter in Roloson to lead their team and make them serious contenders. Roloson posted a 2.4 goals against average and a .916 on an awful New York Islanders team. The one thing that shocked was who the Isles got in return for Roloson. All the Lighting had to give up to get their starter was minor league defender Ty Wishart. Now since the Isles were willing to give Roloson up for such a low price, why didn' t the Flyers make a play for him?
Now I know a lot of you are going start tearing me a new you know what, but just hear me out. Roloson's contract is very leight for legitimate starting goalie. He only makes $2.5 million a year, and has only one year left on his deal. So even at the age 41, we don't have to worry about the long-term cap issues. He posted admirable number with the Islanders and was recently the first star of the week. So there's no question he still has a lot left in the tank.
Now most will argue that the Flyers goaltending has been fine, but the defense is to blame over this rescent stretch. But lets be honest here. Even if this is true, we have to look at last year. The Flyers got to the Stanley Cup Final with Michael Leighton (a journeyman goaltender) and Brian Boucher (a career back-up) between the pipes for most of the season. Yes, both went on hot streaks and played clutch games, but it was a good Flyers team who got their act together for a solid end-of-the-year run, it wasn't because of good goaltending. Boosh wasn't good down the stretch when Leights got hurt and only got hot in the series with the Devils. So the Flyers proved that they can win with sub-par goaltending last year during the regular season, much like they have this year.
But when the Cup Final came around, the Flyers couldn't win with goaltending issues. Leighton didn't play well and the league best Chicago Blackhawks took advantage of it to win the Stanley Cup. I still to this day believe that if Ray Emery were in net the cup would've come home to Philadelphia.
So once again this year the Flyers have proved (for most of the year) that they can win with sub-par goaltending and that they are able to stay at the top of the conference while rotating starters. But what worries me is a possible repeat of last year, where goaltending falls apart in the final. I believe that Sergei Bobrovsky still needs more time to develope before he can lead us to a Stanley Cup, while Leights and Boosh are incapable of doing so. All I'm saying is that Roloson was great opportunity to get a legitimate number one for a good shot at the cup. We could've given anyone one of our young defensemen (Oskars Bartulis, Kevin Marshall, Marc-Andre Bourdon, etc.) and possibly unloaded one of Leighton and Boucher in the process as well aa back-up for Rick Dipietro.
Let me know your thoughts.