Flyers Resign Brian Elliott to 1-Year, $2 Million Deal
Lost in the shuffle of the Flyers various trades and bigger contracts was the Flyers lack of a backup goalie. With Carter Hart slated in as the present and future of the Flyers crease, he obviously needs someone to play for him from time to time.
Furthermore, the Flyers have well over a dozen back-to-backs on their 2019-20 schedule, amplifying the need to find an affordable option to backup Hart. Wednesday afternoon, Chuck Fletcher officially filled that void, retaining goalie Brian Elliott on a one-year deal worth $2 million.
Unlike Sanheim, Provorov, Konecny, Laughton, and NAK, Elliott was set bad to be a UFA on July 1st, meaning he could have gone wherever he wanted. Elliott was not the only option for the backup role. Cam Talbot had been acquired in February, in part because he had mentored Hart in the past and was dominate as recently as 2016-17. There was also the option of signing a free agent like Keith Kinkaid or Mike Smith, or trading for someone like James Reimer.
So, out of all those options, why Elliott? Familarity no doubt plays a role. Of the five goalies the Flyers either have signed or have the rights to, only Michal Neuvirth (who was not a realistic option to return) has been a Flyer for longer than Elliott. The 34-year old netminder finished a 2-year, $2.75 million deal this year. He played pretty well during that span, recording a .908 save percentage over the two years.
The only real negative was Elliott's injury history. Elliott missed 25 games in the 2017-18 season due to core surgery. Last year, he only played in 26 games due to a variety of injuries. A lower-body injury sidelined him for over three months (November 15-February 19). However, Elliott was often given a rigorous workload as the expected starter under Dave Hakstol. In a backup role where he is expected to play less, Elliott will hopefully have a much healthier 2019-20 campaign.
With Elliott now under contract, the Flyers have just over $15 million of cap space to resign RFAs Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Scott Laughton, and Nicholas Aube-Kubel (who may be placed in the AHL to start the year). Talbot, who told the Flyers he wanted to go to a team where he could start more, per the Inquirer's Sam Carchidi, will leave as a UFA on July 1st. Hopfully, Elliott can provide stability and solid play behind Carter Hart next year.