The Philadelphia Flyers begin a new season with an unfamiliar face in net. Brian Elliott is here from Calgary. Here is what we know about him.
The Philadelphia Flyers Goalie Situation
The Philadelphia Flyers don’t do well with goaltenders. It could be bad luck, the pressure from the fans, or a curse. It’s definitely a curse. While there are a few in the pipeline a couple years down the road, for the time being, we have Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth to man the posts.
All I, and most intelligent Flyers fans, want is a goalie who isn’t so up and down. Fans have suffered for years with erratic play. A goalie looking like a world beater for a few games and then becomes a 10 game sieve in net. Brian Elliott has the reputation as a streaky goaltender. But from the small sample size, I have seen he doesn’t have the peaks and valleys that are so frustrating to Flyers fans.
Brian Elliott: The Newest Flyers Goaltender
Brian Elliott is a 6’2″, 209 lb butterfly goaltender from Newmarket, Ontario. I feel like I should have something about Newmarket ready a la Pierre McGuire, but unfortunately, I don’t. Even though he comes in 2″ shorter than Steve Mason when you see him play he looks as though he plays just as big in the net. Elliott also looks like he gets side to side slightly better than the taller Mason.
This is what The Hockey News scouting has to say about Elliott.
A long-limbed butterfly goalie who covers a lot of area, he is quick on his skates and takes good angles. He’s calm, efficient and mature in the crease. Can go on prolonged hot streaks. Lacks consistency and tends to run cold at critical times. Not very pro-active with his stick, he also isn’t very proficient at handling the puck. Does not challenge shooters enough.
“Tends to run cold at critical times” isn’t something that will make Flyers fans feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The whole team is to blame for not making the playoffs last year, but if Steve Mason or Michal Neuvirth were just average goaltenders then the Flyers would have made the playoffs. If we look at Quality Start Percentage (QS% explained here) for both Mason and Elliott we see one of them is much more consistent on a nightly basis. That goalie is Brian Elliott. Since he joined the St. Louis Blues in 2011-12, Elliott has posted an above 60% QS% every year, but one. That means that 60% of the time or more, he is giving his team a better than league average starter. Dating all the way back to the 2009-08 season Steve Mason has posted a 60% or above QS% just twice.
Philadelphia Flyers fans around my age have never seen a consistent goaltender year to year. One of these days we are going to see a star goalie. That could be Carter Hart eventually. For the time being though, we all just want solid goaltending to go along with the elite defensive prospects. Steve Mason just was not that guy for the Philadelphia Flyers. He is now in Winnipeg with a $4.1 million cap hit. Ron Hextall made a smart hockey move by getting a goalie on a $2.75 million cap hit for two years that is more consistent than Mason and can also hold the Flyers over until one of the prospects are ready.