It's safe to say that this is what we were all worried about. The Flyers, now rolling through the Eastern Conference playoffs and potentially on their way to a spot in the Stanley Cup Final, are seemingly forgetting their dismal regular season. It's easy to do, and in some respects, it's totally acceptable. After all, a spot in the Final is always a course-altering event for a hockey team.
But does this mean the Flyers are able to ignore some of their problems, namely goaltending?
According to a member of the as reported by Delco Times beat writer Anthony SanFillippo this morning, the team believes Michael Leighton is the answer in the Philadelphia crease.front office,
Yhes, the answer. Not the backup for next season. Not a temporary-ish starter for a season or two while they furter develop a young guy they can then hand the reins. No, they seem to think he's the guy we've been waiting for these long 23 years or so.
Do they stick with the original plan and deal for a young goalie, or do they conclude that they’ve had that guy for the past six months, but that he was being overlooked as a stopgap?
"Michael Leighton has been just fantastic," the front-office source said. "Who knew we had the guy we needed already here?"
Leighton is proving that his 16-5-3 regular-season record was no fluke. And the front-office source has seen the light.
"Absolutely we’ll want to keep him here," he said.
There is certainly a possibility that Leighton is simply a late-bloomer. It's certainly possible that his success this season is a glimpse of his true potential, and that with some proper teaching from Flyers goalie coach Jeff Reese and a chance to play on a regular basis, he's unleashed that potential.
But do we want to take that risk? Are the Flyers really in the position to take that risk? Even if Leighton wins the Flyers a Stanley Cup this spring, are we really confident that he can do it again?
I like Michael Leighton. I like him a lot, actually. (How can you not, really? He's a soft-spoken, polite guy who's pitched back-to-back shutouts in the Eastern Conference Finals.) I hope he is able to stay here and win the job next season and beyond.
To say that he's ready to be handed that job without question, though, and that he's "the guy we needed" all along, worries this Flyer fan quite a bit.