Five Flyers' Goalies Who Never Fulfilled Their Promise

Philadelphia Flyers v Toronto Maple Leafs
Philadelphia Flyers v Toronto Maple Leafs / Abelimages/GettyImages

With the Carter Hart situation still looming over his head, and to some extent Daniel Briere's, it's probably safe to say that he won't be back with the Flyers. Even then, he has a history of injuries, a mysterious illness, and some inconsistencies in the net. With him being a pending free agent, the team might just let him walk in the offseason, regardless of what happens. With the rise of Sam Ersson and some young, rising options in the net, Hart may not be needed anymore.

With this in mind, it is hard to think of a prospect that was so highly touted and hoped for in recent Flyers fans' memory than Hart. Once again, it didn't work out, and we are waiting for the "next one" in the net.

This got me thinking. The Flyers have had some great goaltenders in the past (Bernie Parent, Pelle Lindbergh, Ron Hextall). But they've also had some stinkers. However, which guys in the net were the biggest disappointments? This is not the same thing as the worst goalies in the net. It is, however, the five guys who came in with hype and horrifically failed those expectations. These players were proclaimed to be the second coming of Bernie and ended up just being a mess between the pipes.

5. Ken Wregget

It's not just that he wasn't good. It's also that he cost the Flyers two first-round picks to acquire. Coming over to Philly from Toronto, he was to be the backup to an injury-prone Ron Hextall. He had played okay in Toronto, never putting up better than a .891 SV% or 3.97 GAA. But for some reason, the Leafs were able to acquire two 1989 first-round picks for him.

So, how did Wregget do in Philly? Over four seasons, he finished with a record of 42-47-9 with a GAA of 3.55 and a save percentage of .879. Yikes! However, his story does have a good ending. He was traded to the Penguins in February 1992 with Kjell Samuelsson and Rick Tocchet for Mark Recchi. He helped lead Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup victory that season. Great...

4. Neil Little

Little was one of those guys who was great for the Philadelphia Phantoms but never could put it together for the big club. He played just two games for the Flyers in his career. He lost them both. He gave up six goals in those games. The worst damage was two goals on eight shots in his second appearance. He was always regarded as the next future goalie. After all, he helped guide the Phantoms to two Calder Championships. Yet, he was always bypassed for others.

However, when I think of Little, I think of a game I saw him play with the Phantoms. They were in Syracuse playing the Crunch. Philadelphia was up 1-0 with less than five minutes left in the game, and the Phantoms were on the power play. A player on the Crunch cleared the puck as it hit the boards near the penalty box, banked off it, and headed toward Little. The goaltender came out very lazily and, with one hand on his stick, tried to stop it. Instead, it hit the heel of the stick's blade and started careening backward. He looked around for it and caught a glimpse of it trickling backward. He dove in vain, but it didn't matter. The puck crossed the line. The game was tied. Syracuse would win in overtime.

3. Tommy Soderstrom

When the Flyers had traded Hextall as part of the Eric Lindros deal, someone had to fill that gap in the net. Soderstrom would fill that void...sort of. He played in two seasons. In his first year, he went 20-17-6 with a GAA of 3.42 and a .892 save percentage. That's not bad, but it's not good either. For a rookie, it's manageable.

In his second season, he fell apart. Soderstrom went 6-18-4 with a GAA of 4.01 and a save percentage of .864. He was traded to the Islanders before the 1994-95 season for Hextall and a sixth-round pick that would become Dmitri Tertyshny. Meanwhile, Soderstrom's numbers were slightly better in Long Island, but he was on a foundering Isles team and was soon back to playing in Sweden by 1997.

2. Maxime Ouellet

You may not remember him. Ouellet was the Flyers' first-round pick in 1999, selected 22nd overall. He was regarded as their next great goaltender and put up outstanding numbers for the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL.

He played in only two games as a Flyer, losing one of them. This was when he was 19. It wasn't that he wasn't good, either. He made 18 saves on 21 shots in the loss. And his second appearance was in relief, stopping all six shots he faced. With the outstanding play of Roman Cechmanek, Brian Boucher, and Little presumably on the rise, he was expendable. He was traded at the 2002 trade deadline along with a first, second, and third-round pick for 14 games worth of future Hall of Famer Adam Oates. Meanwhile, Ouellet played in just 10 more NHL games.

1. Iyla Bryzgalov

Not much of a shocker here. We can look past the Jeff Carter-Mike Richards trade it took to acquire him. His overall stats aren't awful (52-33-10, .905, 2.60). We'll even look past this horrific playoff performance in 2011-12.

The dude was a mess. There were his crazy quotes about the universe and his dog. Then there was his blaming of his teammates for why he had a sucky game. He was a mental disaster. You never knew what you were going to get with him. The worst part was that he wanted to be paid as the best goalie in the NHL. I never saw Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Brodeur, or even Pekka Rinne say things like: " I'm not afraid of anything - except bear. But bear in the forest." or "I'm lost in the woods right now."

We laugh at the NY Mets for having to pay Bobby Bonilla every year. We are still paying Bryz. Yup. Once a year, until 2026-27, we have to pay him $1,642,857 per the buyout from 2013. He is still costing this team money. If that isn't a disaster, I don't know what is.