I came across a chart in a Jeffler post this morning about save percentage that I thought was pretty neat at showing save percentage over a number of seasons. So I did what any normal human being would do and I
stole it for profit reinterpreted it. Specifically I wanted to see just how horrendous the well documented struggles of Flyer goaltenders had been over the years.
The scoring system is pretty simple. It probably should be calibrated to each year in order to get numbers of standard deviations but.. I'm lazy. Someone else do it. 10pts above the average league save percentage = dark green, 10pts below = dark red. Grey tiles are years not played for the Flyers. Simple to understand. I
hope you squint so bad your eyes explode apologize for the tiny jpgs.
Does everyone remember Robert Esche and Antero Nittymaki!? I'm glad I dredged those memories out of the murky depths of your brain, painful as they are. Esche was abysmal. A fountain of suck that spread a suck disease because of the negligence of Bob Clarke. Both he and Nittymaki were bad in 05-06 and then they topped it by getting WORSE in 06-07! They were also terrible in the playoffs (see bottom table) and a huge part of the 06-07 season that most Flyers fans have blocked from their memories.
Fortunately Martin Biron was brought in and played some pretty good hockey. Heck he was above average for 3 seasons with the Flyers! Yes, his career is over now, but maybe (just MAYBE) we could have skipped the entire Boucher/Leighton debacle for the next number of seasons if Biron had stuck around. How did they let this guy walk out the door?
In case you were wondering, the Flyers decided to go in a new direction after they had received solid goaltending from Biron. Holmgren, "it was time to move on to a more risky scenario, Marty was just too safe a bet." This marked Emery's first tenure in Philly. It was a shame that his hip failed him and he had poor discipline away from the rink as Ray had the looks of a promising goalie in the early stages of his career. He may never have been an annual Vezina threat, but he certainly could have been more than the sum of his body of work to this point had he stayed healthy. His time in Philly as the starter was a total failure.
Ultimately Ray's (and then Brian's) health led Michael Leighton to be the starter for an improbable playoff run and of course the eventual Mike-Leighton-back-breaking-Stanley-Cup-losing-extraordinaire-goal. Mike played really well during that run. Then he got an extension, and then the Flyers sent him to Adirondack because
it was his turn to get off the Merry-Go-Round this new Bobrovsky kid was alright.
2010-11 marked the season the Flyers brass had their first stroke of luck in terms of goaltending. They signed a young Russian named Sergei. He was good. Better than average in his first season in fact! They liked this Russian so much that the following season they signed another! A more established Russian to of course
guide him in his transition into the Norht American game take away all of his playing time, stunting his development, and eventually trading him. The return for Bobrovsky was draft picks that resulted in hopeful-eventual-franchise-goalie Anthony Stolarz, and small-but-skilled-winger Taylor Leier. So it wasn't a total loss.
Bryz however.. that was a total loss. You know, soundbites aside, total loss.
That brings us to Steve Mason and the return of Ray Emery. Emery is a decent back-up at this point in his career, and nothing more than that. Mason was picked up for Mike Leighton and a 3rd Rounder in 2015. So it's likely he'll be worth more than what the Flyers gave up even if he's just average for the rest of his time in Philly. However, as we saw in the playoffs against the Rangers, Mason can be a game-changer. A game-stealer. A show-stopper. While I don't see a Vezina in his future, it would be nice if he was just a stable presence for the next half-decade. Is that asking too much?
Oh and quickly, the Bobrovsky trade also netted a 4th round pick that was traded to LA to get Simon Gagne back in the orange and black. I know there were a lot of Gags-boners out there, so that was nice despite his minimal impact.