Monday, March 29, 2010

Desperation: Flyers interested in Robert Esche

Back in June 2009, the idea of signing Robert Esche seemed ridiculous. Now, with the Flyers so desperate for goaltenders that they needed to call up a college kid just to be the backup goalie, bringing in a veteran like Esche suddenly makes sense.

According to Wayne Fish of, the Flyers are exploring all options in net, including possibly bringing back Esche, who has played the last two seasons in the KHL. While NHL rules would permit Esche to only play for the rest of the regular season and not the playoffs, he would at the very least be insurance should Brian Boucher go down with an injury. Since Boucher is expected to be the goalie if/when the Flyers make the playoffs, Esche wouldn't be brought in with the expectation that he would be the starter and would likely only play in emergency situations. In fact, even if Boucher gets injured, Esche probably still wouldn't be the starter since the Flyers would need to get Johan Backlund ready to be their goalie in the postseason.

Should they sign him, Esche would simply make things easier for the Flyers. Rather than having to shuttle goalies up and down from the Phantoms when injuries happen, the Flyers could turn to Esche to at least temporarily fill in. Sure, Esche hasn't played in the NHL since 2007 and he is 32 years old but at least he's a warm body who has real NHL experience, something the Flyers really don't have in the system.

Would signing Robert Esche be a desperation move? Yep, but when your top two goalies have been lost to injury and you have a college kid filling in as a temporary backup, you are the very definition of desperate. Such is the sad state of Flyers goaltending when bringing back Robert Esche actually makes sense.

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