As a long time hockey fan and someone who has enjoyed reading up on the past of hockey from before I was born, I was aware of the many struggles the Philadelphia Flyers have faced over the years when it comes to finding solid goaltending. Many truly solid NHL teams were ruined by the fact that the goalie couldn't stop a beach ball. Even I was unaware of just how bad it really was in Philly. Even goalies who were solid elsewhere in the NHL had some of the worst statistical seasons of their careers with the Flyers. The position almost seemed cursed.
The Flyers have used many first round picks on goalies over the years and they have had very little success with it. Vets, rookies, outspoken loudmouths - they have all tried to achieve success with the Flyers and they have all for the most part failed.
The Flyers currently have Steve Mason and Michael Neuvirth who combined for a pretty good season so the future looks good for the Flyers but as most goalies seem to in Philly, an implosion is always on the horizon.
So let's take a stroll down memory lane and take a look at the 15 worst goalies in Philadelphia Flyers history.
15 Doug Favell
Doug Favell will be the oldest entry on this article as he played on the first roster in the history of the Philadelphia Flyers franchise. He shared the starting gig with Bernie Parent, who was arguably the much better goalie at the time, and proved to be when all was said and done. Favell wasn't too shabby and after Parent was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1971, Favell took over as the starter. Favell would reach career highs during this time with a record of 20-15-4 during the 1972-73 season. That season would be his last however as he would be traded in the offseason to the Toronto Maple Leafs (ironically for Bernie Parent)
14 Brain Boucher
Brian Boucher was drafted to solve all the problems the Philadelphia Flyers had been having for years. Boucher was selected 22nd overall in 1995. Boucher had a great start to his career as a Flyer. During the 1999-00 season Boucher shined with a record of 20-1-3 with a 1.91 GAAA and a .918 save percentage. The issue with Boucher was his inconsistency. Some games he could be a world-class goalie and in the next he was letting in soft goals. This is evident in the fact that Boucher's worst season came the first season after his best. Boucher fell back to earth during the 2000-01 NHL season with a record of 8-12-5 and a 3.27 GAA, .918 save percentage. The Flyers just couldn't seem to let Boucher go for long as he would play four stints with the franchise achieving a record of 73-68-19 as a Flyer with a 2.50 GAA and a .904 save percentage.
13 Phil Myre
Phil Myre was not a horrible goalie by any stretch of the imagination. He spent 2 seasons with the Flyers and accumulated a record of 24-12-19 with a 3.71 GAA and surprisingly 37 PIMS. Myre played a part in the Flyers record 35 game undefeated streak during the 1979-80 season. However when the chips were down in the playoffs. the Flyers rode rookie goalie Pete Peters in the finals not having Myre play a single minute. Overall Myre was a decent goalie in a time where decent was okay. Scoring was much higher in Myre's era, as scorers got more skilled and goaltending techniques hadn't yet caught up.
12 Michael Leighton
Michael Leighton was a waiver wire pickup by the Philadelphia Flyers back in January of 2007. Leighton would play four games with the Flyers before getting claimed by the Canadiens. The Flyers brought him back for the 2009-10 NHL season where we would shock the NHL with a record of 16-5-2 with a 2.48 GAA and .918 save percentage. The Flyers thought they finally had their legit starting goaltender and he fell into their lap as an unwanted free agent. Well that didn't happen. Leighton would only play two more games with the Flyers over the next three seasons with a shocking GAA of 4.54. In 2013 the Flyers would package Leighton up with a draft pick and send him to the Blue Jackets for Steve Mason.
11 Antero Nittymaki
When people think of truly disappointing goaltenders for the Flyers most fans bring up Antero Niittymaki. Niittymaki was selected 168th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1998. After a few years playing overseas and three seasons in the AHL (he hit AHL highs during the 2004-05 season with a record of 33-21-4) the Flyers put him in as a starter for the 2005-06 season and he didn't disappoint with a solid rookie campaign (23-15-6) unfortunately for the Flyers and Nittymaki that was as good as it got for him with the Flyers. Niittymaki followed this season up with one of the all time worst seasons in Flyer history. Niittymaki finished the 2006-07 season with a record of 9-29-9 (tying the record for most losses in a single season).
10 Roman Cechmanek
His name draws immense hatred from Flyers fans everywhere. He started as an inspirational story. A goalie picked in the 6th round making the big club and succeeding. He won the starter job right out of training camp before the 2000-01 season beating out fellow list mate Brian Boucher. He dominated the season on his way to a 35-15-6 record with a 2.01 GAA and a .921 save percentage. Not to mention the fact he finished 2nd in the voting for the Vezina Trophy. The Flyers fans got a taste of what was to come for Cechmanek in the playoffs that season as he imploded in their six game series loss to the Buffalo Sabres. His GAA jumped by over a goal a game.
His contentious relationship with his teammates and the media started to show through the next year as he publicly called out his teammates for some poor play in the playoffs. After the same thing happened the following season the Flyers had enough of their talented but disruptive goalie moving him to the L.A Kings for a 2nd round pick. Cechmanek ended his stint with the Flyers with a record of 92-43-22 with a 1.96 GAA and .923 save percentage.
9 Ray Emery
Ray Emery is very much like Roman Cechmanek, he was a talented goalie that let his mouth get him into trouble. This time however it was his mouth that brought him to Philly. After a very auspicious ending to his time as a member of the Ottawa Senators he signed as a free agent with the Flyers in 2009 after spending one season in the KHL. From the beginning he struggled with health problems. He had a record of 16-11-1 with a 2.64 GAA in his first season with the Flyers. unfortunately his career almost came to an end in 2010 due to Avascular Necrosis in his hip. By the time he was healthy the Flyers had moved on and Emery would go on to play for the Ducks and the Blackhawks winning a cup with the Blackhawks in 2013.
8 Mark LaForest
Mark LaForest was acquired by the Flyers in June of 1987 from the Detroit Red Wings for a 2nd round draft pick. LaForest was brought in to provide stable backup goaltending to the Flyer great Ron Hextall. LaForest fell far short of this task as he was not a reliable option in net. Mark would struggle to provide much of anything in net actually forcing the club to go out and acquire Ken Wregget the next season at the cost of their 2 first round picks in 1989. LaForest would get into 38 games as a member of the Flyers ending with a record of 10-16-4 with a 3.91 GAA and a .873 save percentage.
7 Stephane Beauregard
Stephane Beauregard was picked up by the Philadelphia Flyers in the summer of 1992. The summer of 1992 is one that had Beauregard get traded repeatedly. Beauregard was first traded from Winnipeg to Buffalo for Christian Ruuttu and future considerations in June. Then Buffalo moved Beauregard with a pick that became Eric Daze to Chicago for Dominik Hasek on August 7th, then again on the 10th; Beauregard was traded from Chicago BACK to Winnipeg for Christian Ruuttu....again. Finally, on the eve of the season, Beauregard was traded from Winnipeg to Philadelphia.
6 Ken Wregget
Ken Wregget was a fine goalie for much of his NHL career. He had a record of 25-9-2 in 1994-95 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. His numbers wouldn't come anywhere near that as a Flyer. The Flyers spent two first round picks on acquiring Wregget from the Toronto Maple Leafs to shore up an aging goaltending squad on the team. Wregget would snare the starting role during the 1989-90 season and he struggled to a 22-24-3 record. Wregget would have only one season with a winning record as a Flyer (even then it was 9-8-3 during the 1991-92 season).
5 Ilya Bryzgalov
If you look strictly at stats then IIya Bryzgalov wasn't a horrific awful goaltender as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. He played in 99 games for the Flyers in his two years with the club and had a record in the regular season of 52-33-10 with a 2.60 GAA and a .905 save percentage. Those aren't elite numbers but they are decent. The problem was Bryz was getting paid elite money. During the 2011-12 season Bryz was making more than Martin Brodeur, Marc-Andre Fleury and Roberto Luongo. His stats paled in comparison to all of those players hence he was under a lot of scrutiny with the team. Some ill-fated comments to the media put him in the doghouse but the media loved Bryz as he was always good for a soundbite or two.
4 Bobby Taylor
3 Glenn "Chico" Resch
2 Bruce Gamble
Bruce Gamble was a member of the goalie carousel that was the Flyers after the trade of fan favorite Bernie Parent. Gamble would get into 35 games over the next two seasons but did not have much success on the ice during that time. He only played two playoff games with the Flyers and was winless with a 6.00 GAA, terrible numbers for a team that certainly had Stanley Cup aspirations that season. The regular season wasn't much better. In 35 games Gamble had a record of 10-14-4 with a 3.09 GAA, a disappointing tally for a goalie with high hopes. Sadly and unfortunately, Gamble would suffer a heart attack during a game on February 9th, 1972 and he would never play in the NHL again.
1 Maxime Ouellet
Maxime Ouellet was touted as the next big goaltender heading into the 1999 NHL draft. The Flyers were sure Ouellet was something special when the team drafted him and that he would solve all their problems in net. The organization let him develop in the minors and junior before calling him up to play two games in the NHL. He wasn't too bad sporting a record of 0-1-0 with a 2.37 GAA and .889 save percentage. However that is all he would play for the Flyers. The Flyers weren’t impressed and decided to package him – along with a first, a second and a third – in a deal for aging rental player Adam Oates.
As for Ouellet he struggled everywhere he went in the NHL. He would go on to play 10 more games in the NHL split between the Capitals and the Canucks. He would have a record of 2-5-2 with a 3.18 GAA. not what you expect from a 1st round pick.
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