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NHL free agency: The Philadelphia Flyers will be goalie shopping this summer

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Who will it be?

Nashville Predators v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Ron Hextall spoke at his season-ending press conference on Thursday, and one thing was very clear: he’s signing a goalie this offseason, and Anthony Stolarz will not be thrust full-time into an NHL role.

Barring his selection by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft, Michal Neuvirth is going to be here next season. Steve Mason is a free agent, and it sure doesn’t seem like either side is eager to put pen to paper again.

Hextall apparently doesn’t think Stolarz is ready, and if you look at his full season in the AHL, that’s not shocking. Despite playing on one of the league’s best teams, Stolarz still had just a .911 save percentage in his 29 games played at the AHL level. That’s good for 20th in the league among goaltenders with more than 1,440 minutes played this season, and it’s not even as good as teammate Alex Lyon, who had a .914 save percentage in 46 games played.

Stolarz is obviously ahead of Lyon on the depth chart, and he looked good in his limited NHL time this season. But throwing him onto the Flyers roster — particularly with Neuvirth, who was frankly one of the worst goalies in the NHL this year — is not an ideal situation. Can’t blame Hextall for looking outside here.

So who is going to be the second goalie, then?

As Charlie notes, this is really good news, and it probably rules out several options. Below is a list of every free agent goaltender this offseason, via CapFriendly.com. Let’s get into it.

2017 NHL Free Agent Goaltenders

PLAYER AGE GP W L SO GAA Sv% CAP HIT ▾
PLAYER AGE GP W L SO GAA Sv% CAP HIT ▾
1. Ryan Miller 36 54 18 29 3 2.80 0.914 $6,000,000
2. Ben Bishop 30 39 18 15 1 2.54 0.910 $5,950,000
3. Jonathan Bernier 28 39 21 7 2 2.50 0.915 $4,150,000
4. Steve Mason 28 58 26 21 3 2.66 0.908 $4,100,000
5. Ondrej Pavelec 29 8 4 4 0 3.55 0.888 $3,900,000
6. Brian Elliott 32 49 26 18 2 2.55 0.910 $2,500,000
7. Chad Johnson 30 36 18 15 3 2.59 0.910 $1,700,000
8. Darcy Kuemper 26 18 8 5 0 3.13 0.902 $1,550,000
9. Reto Berra 30 7 0 5 0 3.45 0.876 $1,450,000
10. Anders Nilsson 27 26 10 10 1 2.67 0.923 $1,000,000
11. Curtis McElhinney 33 21 8 8 1 2.70 0.917 $800,000
12. Jonas Gustavsson 32 7 1 3 0 3.10 0.878 $800,000
13. Jhonas Enroth 28 6 0 3 0 3.94 0.872 $750,000
15. Keith Kinkaid 27 26 8 13 1 2.64 0.916 $725,000
16. Pheonix Copley 25 1 0 1 0 5.08 0.828 $708,750
17. Michael Leighton 35 4 2 2 0 3.43 0.870 $700,000
18. Jean-Francois Berube 25 14 3 2 0 3.42 0.889 $675,000
19. Jeremy Smith 28 10 1 6 0 3.54 0.888 $675,000
20. Magnus Hellberg 26 2 1 0 0 1.52 0.929 $625,000
21. Peter Budaj 34 60 30 21 7 2.18 0.915 $600,000
22. Justin Peters 30 3 0 1 0 3.16 0.900 $600,000
25. Scott Darling 28 32 18 5 2 2.38 0.924 $587,500
28. Mike Condon 26 41 19 14 5 2.48 0.914 $575,000
via capfriendly.com

Ben Bishop is probably the big name off the list. The 30 year old is likely going to command a long-term deal and the biggest money on the goalie market this summer. Jonathan Bernier is in that bucket as well.

Ryan Miller will probably get cash but not term since he’s 36 years old. Jonathan Bernier could get term as well. Ondrej Pavelec is bad. Brian Elliott is meh.

Names on the list that are interesting include Anders Nilsson, who put up a .923 while standing behind the friggin’ Buffalo Sabres. He only made $1 million last year, is 27, and will probably not cost too much more than that on a new deal. Scott Darling of the Chicago Blackhawks is there in the same boat as well. He made just $587,500 against the cap last season and is just 28 years old, the same as Mason. Keith Kinkaid of the Devils is perhaps a guy the Flyers take a swing at as well.

Of course, if the Flyers strike out on all of the above and Mason can’t find what he’s looking for elsewhere ... maybe they come back to an awkward reunion on July 10 or something. Crazier things have happened.