Flyers: 3. Brian Boucher
Boosh, before he became a successful hockey announcer, had three stints with Philly. The first was as a young phenom goalie from 1999-2002. The second would come as an established veteran from 2009-11. Finally, he would play in four games in 2013.
His play as a young goalie was so stellar that the Flyers benched veteran goalie Vanbiesbrouck in favor of his development. He went 20-10-3 in his rookie season, had a save percentage of .918. and lead the NHL with a GAA of 1.91.
In the playoffs, he was part of the 5OT game against Pittsburgh and made one of the greatest save in team history against New Jersey’s Patrik Elias. The Flyers would falter that year to the Devils after being up 3-1; losing in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The next year, Beezer was gone and Boosh had the net all to himself. But when he struggled, he was replaced by Cechmanek as a goalie. At the end of the 2002 season, he was traded to Arizona for Esche and Handzus. It was there as a Coyote that Boucher made history. He set an NHL record shutout streak of not being scored upon for 332 minutes, or five-and-a-half games during the 2003-04 season.
After that, he bounced around for a bit. He returned to Philly in 2009 to be Emery’s backup. But when Emery got hurt, Boosh was put into action. He put his playoff demons behind him as he defeated New Jersey and then helped rally the Flyers past the Boston Bruins after being down 3-0.
But then he got hurt and was replaced by Leighton. He and Leighton would guide the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks. Maybe had Boucher been healthy, it could have been a different outcome.
You also wonder had the Flyers not pulled the plug on him earlier, would have been “the guy” in the 2000s. Cechmanek wasn’t dispatched long after he was traded. Likewise Esche, and later Biron, never fully seemed to have the confidence of the team management.
Flyers: 2. Brian Elliott
He wasn’t in Philly long; just four years. He had good numbers — 65-38-14, a .902 save percentage, and a 2.88 GAA. He was at the tail end of his career when he joined the Flyers.
What places him as the second-best goalie, just edging out Boucher, was his lasting influence. He shared goaltending duties with a young Carter Hart. Hart has often said that Elliott helped to mentor him and become a better goalie. You can see that influence now as Hart is working on helping to mentor Felix Sandstrom and Samuel Ersson.
Sometimes some of the things you do as a goalie is best seen off the ice. The Beezer helped Boosh become a better goalie. Likewise, Elliott helped give Hart the confidence to keep going, especially after hard nights. During his stay, as shown above, he played well enough on a team that was in decline. But his steadying influence on Hart cannot be denied.