Continuing a feature we’re going to look at frequently this year, which goalies are getting the majority of starts and who’s job is in jeopardy? Green means the goalie’s job appears safe, yellow would mean they are yielding more starts to their competitor than normal, red means the starting job appears to be more dependent on performance or a rotation.
Here’s what we know:
Ray Emery: 11-8-1 in 21 starts, 2.83 GAA, .901 SV%, 1 SO, 78% owned
Brian Boucher: 3-5-0 in 7 starts, 2.53 GAA, .903 SV%, 26% owned
There’s a number of intangibles affecting this goalies matchup right now. Philly was struggling mightily with Emery in net (losing 5 straight starts) which ultimately cost John Stevens his job. In comes Peter Laviolette with the main task of getting the Flyers back on track. Laviolette hasn’t said that he would give the Flyers goaltenders a clean slate but you have to assume he’s going to look at each equally.
That means Emery is in trouble. In Laviolette’s first game behind the bench, Emery gave up 5 goals on 17 shots and was pulled halfway through. In comes Brian Boucher, a career backup who’s never started more than 40 games in a season. Boucher dropped his first matchup under Laviolette, a poor 10 save effort in a 3-1 loss to Montreal. Fortunately for Boucher, he salvaged his reputation with the new coach by holding the Islanders to 2 goals in 24 shots in a 6-2 romp.
Now we find out that Emery has had a nagging abdominal injury (but was still healthy enough to play the game against Washington) that lands him on IR for 6 weeks. Last season, Boucher played most of November and March thanks to injuries to Evgeni Nabokov. In November, he won 7 of 9 starts but in March, he lost 5 of 6 starts carrying the starter’s workload. Boucher’s 5-game shutout streak was 5 years ago and he’s never developed into a reliable long-term over that time and there’s no reason to expect he will in Emery’s absence as well. Turn to him in your fantasy leagues if you must.
The Flyers are not tied to Emery as he is on a cheap $1.5M contract that expires after this season. The Isles could be willing to part with Martin Biron soon (as DiPietro nears a return) but how appealing he looks to the Flyers after they shelled him for 6 goals on Wednesday. The Flyers also have Johan Backlund in their system but despite gaining experience over 7 seasons in Europe, he hasn’t played an NHL game and isn’t likely to be an option for the Flyers.
The starting job is up in the air right now with Boucher being the obvious starter – but how long will that last?