On Sunday, news broke that the Flyers had placed Phantoms goalie John Muse on waivers. Since Muse did not, at the time, have an NHL contract, it was more or less assured that the Flyers would be signing Muse a contract, once he eventually cleared waivers.
Sure enough, Muse cleared waivers, and the Flyers have signed him to a two-way contract for the rest of this season, as the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac reported this afternoon.
(Note: CapFriendly says Muse’s deal is worth $655,000 at the NHL level, as opposed to the $650,000 number Isaac reports above. We cannot confirm either report.)
Muse, who was originally brought in to the organization to play at the ECHL level, performed very well with the Reading Royals for the first half of the season. After Alex Lyon was called up to the Flyers to cover for an injury that Brian Elliott suffered in Arizona, Muse was brought up to the Phantoms. He’s performed quite well since that call-up; on the whole this season, Muse has a .934 save percentage in eight Phantoms games, to go with his .930 in 24 Royals games.
With Elliott and Michal Neuvirth on the shelf until at least late March, Petr Mrazek and Alex Lyon figure to be the Flyers’ two goalies for the time being. But the organization, prior to this move, only had one other healthy goaltender on an NHL contract: Dustin Tokarski, who’s been with the Phantoms all year and has been pedestrian for the Phantoms. By signing Muse to an NHL contract now, the Flyers have given themselves another alternative if either of Mrazek or Lyon get hurt in the next month. And with the way Muse has played at lower levels this season, there’s a pretty good case to be made that he’d likely be a superior option to Tokarski. (Additionally, Muse is now eligible to play in NHL playoff games if necessary, though the Flyers are obviously hoping it doesn’t come to that.)
A 29-year old goalie who was an undrafted free agent signing by the Carolina Hurricanes after a successful four-year college career at Boston College that included a national championship in his senior year (/points at header image), Muse has spent the last nine seasons moving between the ECHL and AHL. He’s played 167 career AHL games, posting a .915 save percentage in those games. While, for the sake of Mrazek and Lyon, I can’t say that I hope to see him with the Flyers this year, it’s very cool for him that he’s managed to get — and earn — an NHL contract for the season.