2021 Free Agency: Five Goaltenders The Flyers Should Consider Signing

Aug 2, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CANADA; Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Boston Bruins stops a shot by Scott Laughton #21 of the Philadelphia Flyers during a power play in the first period during Game One of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 02, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario., Canada. Mandatory Credit: Andre Ringuette via USA TODAY Sports
Aug 2, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CANADA; Jaroslav Halak #41 of the Boston Bruins stops a shot by Scott Laughton #21 of the Philadelphia Flyers during a power play in the first period during Game One of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 02, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario., Canada. Mandatory Credit: Andre Ringuette via USA TODAY Sports /

NHL free agency is coming up soon as the 2020-21 season is nearing its end. July 28th marks the official first day of the league’s free agency period, and the Philadelphia Flyers will be in the market for a new backup goaltender as current backup Brian Elliott‘s contract runs out at season’s end.

Today we’re going to take a look at five potential realistic goaltending targets for the Flyers to look at this ensuing summer that they can pair with Carter Hart next season should they choose not to keep Elliott around anymore.


Reimer has appeared in 21 games for the Carolina Hurricanes this season, recording a 14-5-2 record to go along with a .905 save percentage and 2.74 goals against average.

Reimer and fellow Carolina netminder (and former Flyer) Petr Mrazek are both unrestricted free agents after this season, and Alex Nedeljkovic is also a restricted free agent but he will likely stick around with the Hurricanes after his fantastic emergence this year.

Mrazek’s peripheral numbers are superior to Reimer’s this season despite missing extended periods of time with injuries, and while Reimer does lead Rod Brind’Amour’s club in wins and games played, he ranks third among the three goalies in both SV% and GAA.

This may render him as the odd man out in Raleigh, and the 33 year-old Manitoba native may come cheap based on his stats. A season ago he did post a .914 SV%, and he’s actually never posted a save percentage under .900 in his entire 11-year career.

He may also perhaps bring some consistency to the Philadelphia crease and he might be able to rejuvenate himself to an even higher level in a larger role given Carter Hart’s young age and recent struggles.


Halak has been very good in the last three seasons as Tuukka Rask’s understudy in Boston. This season he has played in 18 games for the Bruins, posting a 9-6-3 record coupled with a .909 SV% and 2.45 GAA.

Rask is also a pending unrestricted free agent but he’s had a great year and the longtime Bruins starter will probably be back in Beantown next season.

Boston’s young netminders in Dan Vladar and Jeremy Swayman will push Halak out of the picture, especially the latter considering the fantastic start he’s gotten off to in his NHL career so far.

Halak in his three years as Boston’s backup is also tied for 7th in SV% (.917) and 4th in GAA (2.38) among goalies with at least 50 appearances in that time frame, which shows how remarkable he has been in his role for the Bruins.

Halak is a seasoned veteran who will turn 36 years old on May 13th and has played 15 seasons in the league. But if his time in Boston is any indication, he should still have some gas left in the tank and work well mentoring and splitting time in net with Carter Hart next season.


Bernier has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in Detroit after a rocky tenure in Toronto followed by brief stops in Anaheim and Colorado.

The former Stanley Cup champion overtook Jimmy Howard as Detroit’s starting goaltender last year after serving as the backup in 2018-19. Bernier, despite the Red Wings’ depleted roster, has recorded a .912 SV% and 3.02 GAA to go along with a 9-9-1 record in 22 appearances in the Detroit crease.

His save percentages have actually risen each season with the Red Wings, going from .904 to .907 to .912 in the past three years. Bernier’s name also popped up this season as a potential trade target in the wake of the Flyers’ midseason struggles.

So if Detroit decides not to keep Bernier and move along with Thomas Greiss as their starter next year, Philadelphia should have their eyes peeled on Bernier, who will turn 33 in August.


Raanta has had an up and down tenure with the Arizona Coyotes since his trade there in 2017. He registered a .930 SV% and 2.24 GAA to complement his 21-17-6 record in 47 appearances in his first year in Arizona, but injuries quickly derailed the success he was having.

He would only play in 12 games in the 2018-19 season, going 5-6-0 and his peripheral numbers dipped to a 2.88 GAA and .906 SV%. His injury troubles forced the Coyotes to trade for Darcy Kuemper, who was shipped from Los Angeles to Arizona for waiver-wire pickup Scott Wedgewood and Tobias Rieder.

Raanta did have a resurgence in last year’s shortened season, posting a 15-14-3 record in 33 games to accompany his 2.61 GAA and .923 SV%. He also played in two of Arizona’s postseason games in the Edmonton bubble.

Of course, Kuemper has cemented himself as the starter out in Glendale and the Coyotes have given 24 year-old Adin Hill an extended look in net as well. Hill actually maintains the best save percentage on the team at .911 among the four goalies that have played for Arizona this season (Hill, Kuemper, Raanta, Ivan Prosvetov).

Raanta has played in 12 games this season and has only managed a 5-5-2 record with a .905 SV% and 3.36 GAA and has missed more time with injuries this year as well. The Coyotes’ commitment to Kuemper and Hill coupled with Raanta’s injury issues will likely see the 31 year-old Finn test the market. If he can stay healthy, the Flyers may be able to get some good service from Raanta on a cheaper contract given his play this season on a mediocre Coyotes squad.


This one may be a bit of a longshot, but I’ll explain my reasoning. Rinne has spent his entire NHL career with Nashville, playing 682 games in total with the Predators across 15 seasons. He’s by far and away the greatest goaltender in franchise history and leads the Predators in games played, wins, GAA, and shutouts.

But he is also 39 years-old and has been supplanted as the starting netminder by fellow Finland native Juuse Saros. Nashville also has 24 year-old Connor Ingram, who is a two-time AHL All-Star, waiting in the minors. They also drafted the highly touted Yaroslav Askarov with the 11th overall pick in last year’s NHL Draft.

Rinne has seen his game take a decline the last couple years, as last season was the first time he’s posted a save percentage below .900 at any professional level in his career since his brief stint in the KHL during the 2012-13 NHL lockout with an .895 SV% through 36 games last year. Rinne has experienced a small bounce-back this season with his GAA lowering from 3.17 to 2.97 and his save percemtage slightly rising from .895 to .902.

Between Nashville’s plethora of good young goaltenders plus Rinne’s age and decline, it’s not totally out of the question to consider that he may leave Nashville. Rinne also brings plenty of experience, including a Stanley Cup Final run in 2017, and has served as a great mentor to Saros with the Predators and maybe he could provide the same mentorship in Philadelphia with Carter Hart.

There were some other names that are going to hit the UFA market this year that are definitely better than some of the ones in this article, notably Linus Ullmark and Frederik Andersen, but I don’t think they will be cheap to sign and neither would likely want to play in a platoon or be a backup.

Ullmark has been a bright spot in what has been an otherwise historically awful season in Buffalo, posting a .917 SV% and 2.63 GAA in 20 games with the Sabres this season to accompany a 9-6-3 record. While it would be great if he came to the Flyers, I think the Sabres end up re-signing him even with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s NHL career beginning to take shape this year.

Andersen has had his fair share of struggles with the Maple Leafs in his five seasons in Toronto, but he has also provided them with some fantastic netminding at times. I do think that the pressure of playing in goal in a market like Toronto has taken a toll on him, and while Philadelphia is not as large or hockey-crazed as Toronto is, Flyers fans have a very infamous reputation of being hard on goaltenders.

So there are five goaltenders the Flyers should take a look at to fill in as Carter Hart’s backup next season. Of course, they could also just re-sign Brian Elliott given that he’s been with the team for four seasons now and he knows the system and the Flyers already know what they have in him. But it’s fun to shake things up sometimes, right?