Philadelphia Flyers: Brian Elliott will be a difference maker

CALGARY, AB - APRIL 17: Brian Elliott
CALGARY, AB - APRIL 17: Brian Elliott /

The Philadelphia Flyers decided to go with tandem goal-tenders for what feels like the tenth season in a row. This time it will be Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth splitting time between the pipes.

When either player is on their game, they both have shutdown potential. Neuvirth can’t stay healthy long enough to be worthy of being named a true number one goalie, thus creating a need for a goalie who excels in a split role. Enter Brian Elliott.

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I like this tandem. I actually like this tandem a lot. This is far from a long term solution, but I like that the Philadelphia Flyers have two very capable, veteran goaltenders while they await Carter Hart, Felix Sandstrom, and even Anthony Stolarz.

The first thing that gives me confidence about the Elliot-Neuvirth duo is that both goaltenders have excelled in time shares. One on hand you have Michal Neuvirth, who is great in a pinch (think back to games four and five of the Flyers-Capitals playoff series two seasons ago). And on the other hand, you have Brian Elliott, who led the St. Louis Blues to the Western Conference final two seasons ago in a part time role. That season he had four shutouts, a .930 save percentage, and a 2.07 goals against average. Those numbers came in 42 games played for the Blues. For reference, Braden Holtby (the Vezina Trophy winner from the 2015-16 season) had three shutouts, a .922 save percentage, and a 2.2 goals against average in 66 games played. I’m not saying I would take Elliott over Holtby, but the stats don’t lie. Elliott can play, even if it’s in a time share.

Related Story: Meet The Philadelphia Flyers New Goaltender: Brian Elliott

The next thing that tells me that Brian Elliott will be a difference maker for the Philadelphia Flyers is that he brings a veteran presence to the locker room and ice. Despite having a down season last year he still posted better numbers than Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth. He still played 11 seasons in the NHL with the Senators, Avalanche, Blues, and Flames.

Veteran Presence

His experience will be valuable to help develop the younger defensemen in the Flyers organization. Between Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, and calling up (at least) two of Samuel Morin, Robert Hagg, and Travis Sanheim, the Flyers will have four defensemen under the age of 24. These young guys will be sponges, soaking up the knowledge from the veteran goaltender. He could be crucial to the development of the young defenseman.

The last thing that Brian Elliott will bring to the Philadelphia Flyers is his experience. As I mentioned before, he has played eleven seasons in the NHL on four different teams. The most valuable thing is his playoff experience. Elliott has been on a playoff team since the 2011-2012 season. Including a trip to the Conference Finals. If the Bullies think they can make a run at the playoffs, they have a proven veteran goaltender they can lean on.

When you combine all of those things, it’s easy to see that the Philadelphia Flyers signed a winner in Brian Elliott. He will be the lead goaltender for the next two seasons, expect to see him play around 50 games this season, not including playoffs. Going into the following season he will be there to groom one of the younger goalies (Hart, Sandstrom, Stolarz while helping the Flyers get ready for their next step.

Next: Philadelphia Flyers newbies at forward: What should we expect?

I said it before, and I’ll stand by it: I love that the Flyers brought in Brian Elliott. His veteran presence and ability to excel in a split role is the best thing for the Flyers heading into the 2017-18 season. Through in all of his playoff experience and that’s enough to excite any fan. Is it October yet?