While you were sleeping last night, the Philadelphia Flyers made their first trade of the hectic ‘deadline’ period, sending Anthony Stolarz to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for another goaltender in Cam Talbot. This move may seem a little strange at first, but it comes down to one thing…winning now.
‘Stolie the Goalie’ had a special place in the hearts of Flyers fans, but as far as being an NHL caliber goalie, he still has a lot of growing room. With limited experience and 12 of his 19 games coming this season, it certainly doesn’t help that Carter Hart has exploded onto the scene and made a greater impact in a smaller amount of time. A second-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, Stolarz has plenty of potential, but he’s unlikely going to see a spot to showcase it in Philadelphia.
Further complicating matters is the mild health concern that’s beginning to arise. With two knee surgeries in the last two years and another lower-body injury that sidelined him for six weeks, the Flyers late playoff push simply can’t hang on a goalie who can’t step in when the team needs him most. Stolarz ends his stint in Philadelphia with a record of 6-4-4 with a 2.86 GAA and a .911 save percentage.
So, why Tolbat? The 31-year old may not be an elite goaltender, but during four years in Edmonton, he’s proven to be steady, amassing a 104-95-19 record with a 2.74 GAA and a .912 save percentage. He’s seen time as a backup with the Rangers after signing as a free agent way back when and has blossomed into a starter for Edmonton. Carter Hart, the team’s certified future at goaltender, also spent time working with the veteran during the offseason bringing the young gun a sense of familiarity and mentorship over what’s bound to be a rollercoaster few months.
A wildcard here is now Brian Elliott. Our man Jamey Baskow said recently that Elliott could become an eventual trade chip after his conditioning stint with the Phantoms and it’s hard to really disprove that theory now. The Flyers aren’t going to keep four goaltenders around and if Talbot provides a little more stability, then you may as well strike while the Iron is hot.
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