Alex Lyon should get some starts for the Flyers

UNIONDALE, NY - SEPTEMBER 17: Alex Lyon #49 of the Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NY - SEPTEMBER 17: Alex Lyon #49 of the Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

I want to be crystal clear about this. I am in no way suggesting that Alex Lyon is the solution to the struggles currently being endured by the Philadelphia Flyers, whose issues go far beyond the inability of Carter Hart and Brian Elliott to make any saves at this point in time. But things can’t get any worse, and so a different look is merited as the team looks for anything that can plug the holes in this rapidly sinking ship.

We’ve seen Lyon in action before, and while nobody would make the case that he could become a starting caliber goaltender if given the chance, it’s worth taking a look to see if he could hold his own in a regular role going forward. And while the Flyers might dismiss this notion, saying that they have to ride the guys they have in an effort to get back into the playoff race (even though multiple sites have their odds of reaching the postseason at less than 12%), there are numerous good reasons to hand the crease over to Alex Lyon for a chunk of the upcoming schedule.

Giving some starts to Alex Lyon is worthwhile for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Originally, I was a proponent of letting Carter Hart play through his struggles, but that looks like it’s not an option right now. He may still become the goaltender we were hoping for, but he has things to work through which can’t be fixed in the remainder of this lost season. As a result, the team is left with the option of giving more time to Brian Elliott, who has been almost as bad as of late.

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Elliott will also be departing the team via free agency after this year, giving the club little impetus to play him down the stretch when they could get a look at someone like Lyon. Granted, it’s not ideal to put anyone behind this team with the way it’s currently playing, but these types of things have a strange way of galvanizing a club into focusing, simplifying their game, and achieving better results for at least a short period of time. All bets are off the table for this boggling Flyers team, but I say that this is one of the few valid kinds of shakeups that might actually have a chance of working.

It really is a no-lose situation to put Lyon back there. Although it might seem like cruel and unusual punishment to give him a shot right now, it would at least be the opportunity of a lifetime for a young man who has worked hard for that chance. Maybe he looks as bad as Hart and Elliott. Maybe he’s adequate. Or maybe he even shocks us all and propels the Flyers back to the pack with at least a glimmer of hope to make the playoffs.

In the most unlikely of scenarios, perhaps Lyon even plays so well that the Seattle Kraken elect to take him in the expansion draft, saving the Flyers from losing any of their other “precious young talent” that we’ve been obsessing over and writing articles about for two years. I’m not holding my breath on this one, but it seemed worth a mention.

In a perfect world, Lyon plays competently enough that the Flyers are comfortable rolling with him and Hart as the goaltending duo next year, rather than eating into cap space to bring in a veteran replacement for Elliott. Of course, even this is in doubt since Hart appears to be far less of a sure thing than he was just a few months ago. But if I squint hard enough, I can see a situation where Lyon and Hart roughly split the games for the rest of the year, playing well enough to move the needle in a positive direction for the team. The rest of the club has to buy in, of course, but I don’t think what I’m suggesting is impossible. If we’re back to baby steps, so be it.

As for Elliott, some might say to just throw him to the wolves in net, letting an outgoing player take the lumps for the rest of the year. This is the wrong way to approach it, though. Even in bad times, there is an opportunity to see what you have and to look toward improving your club for the future. Playing Lyon instead of Elliott at least has a future slant to it.

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Again, this isn’t about replacing Carter Hart. He’s been lousy, but the team really is tied to him at this time. We are all hoping that he can get right and resume his career trajectory with the Orange and Black. Yet it’s obvious that he can’t be counted on to carry a starter’s workload for the rest of this year, so why not look to Lyon for a workaround that might help the team? Even if it doesn’t do much to improve things, it sure couldn’t hurt.