New goalie Brian Elliott arrived Friday at the Flyers’ practice facility in Voorhees, eager to show that his strong second half last season — he went 17-6-1 with a 2.24 goals-against average and .924 save percentage — will carry into 2017-18.
Elliott struggled at the start of last season in Calgary, his first year with the club, but steadied himself and sparked the Flames into the playoffs.
“As a team, we came together, and I benefited from that,” said Elliott, who signed a two-year, free-agent deal on July 1 for a total of $5.5 million. “I felt real good from the middle to the end of the season in Calgary, and I want to continue that feeling. You feel confident and feel that, no matter what, you can make that save. When you have that feeling and that confidence back there, then the guys can go and do their job.”
Elliott, 32, a two-time all-star during his stellar tenure with St. Louis, and Michal Neuvirth are expected to divide goaltending duties this season.
“You want to play as many games as you can, but it’s a tough league and everybody has to contribute or else you’re not going anywhere,” said Elliott, who has settled in Haddonfield with his wife and their 11-month-old son, Owen. “You can see that from Pittsburgh last year. If they don’t have Marc-Andre Fleury, they’re not winning anything.”
Elliott said “having two guys who can go in there and win games is huge, whether it’s an injury or one guy not going [well]; the other guy can pick up the slack. Staying consistent in this league is what gets you in the playoffs.”
The Flyers tied for 19th in the NHL with a 2.82 goals-against average last season.
Ghost and Hurricane Irma
As Hurricane Irma moves toward his home state of Florida, Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has hired a jet to take family members from Fort Lauderdale to Philadelphia. The plane was scheduled to leave Florida at 9 p.m. Friday.
“Hopefully, the plane takes off at 9 and they can get out,” he said.
Gostisbehere’s parents, grandparents, and uncle and their dogs are slated to take the flight.
“The biggest thing you can do is preparation,” he said. “It [stinks] for the whole state, but the state is prone to it because of being that close to the coast.”
Gostisbehere said he was in junior high when Hurricane Wilma struck Florida in 2005.
“We had school canceled for two weeks and no power for a week,” he said of a hurricane that did $20 billion of damage. “But this one is a little more dangerous.”
Rookie camp will start at 10 a.m. Monday in Voorhees at 10 (free to the public), and left winger Oskar Lindblom said he is eager to make an impression. He has played in Sweden, and this is his first year in camp. Lindblom, 21, is favored to win a spot with the Flyers.
“I have to battle for it and do the best I can and see what I can do. But that’s my goal — to make the team,” said Lindblom, who said an eight-game stint with the AHL’s Phantoms (he collected seven points) in 2016 and playing on national teams have given him a feel for what it’s like playing on smaller rinks.
Lindblom and the other Flyers prospects, including Nolan Patrick, will play in the rookie game Wednesday night against the Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center.
Most Flyers veterans are skating in Voorhees even though their camp doesn’t start until next Friday.
“The skates here have been good,” defenseman Andrew MacDonald said. “Everyone usually rolls in around the same time, but I feel it was a little earlier this year. Everyone is anxious to get after it.”
More surgery for Stolarz
Flyers goaltender Anthony Stolarz underwent another knee surgery and will be sidelined indefinitely, general manager Ron Hextall announced Friday.
More surgery for Stolarz
Stolarz, 23, had surgery on his left knee Thursday to repair a meniscus tear, Hextall said.
In April, Stolarz had surgery on his right knee to fix a torn medial collateral ligament.
Subsequently, the Flyers surprisingly protected the Jackson, N.J., native in the June expansion draft.
The AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms signed veteran goalie Leland Irving recently, and on Friday they signed another veteran, Mark Dekanich.
Irving, 29, was a first-round selection by Calgary in 2006.
Dekanich, 31, went 21-12-1 with a 3.04 goals-against average and .910 save percentage last season with Reading in the ECHL. (He played one game with the Phantoms.) In 2006, he was drafted by Nashville in the fifth round.
Stolarz, a second-round selection in the 2012 draft, was expected to divide duties with Alex Lyon this season in Lehigh Valley.
In seven appearances with the Flyers last season, Stolarz had a 2.07 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. He had a 2.92 GAA and .911 save percentage in 29 games with the Phantoms last season.
A few weeks ago, while working out at the Flyers’ training facility in Voorhees, Stolarz said: “I’m taking baby steps to get healthy and just make sure I’ll be able to start the season on time. I’m probably 90 percent right now.”
That was before he injured his healthy knee.