Concord Monitor: (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)
As the Flyers season winds to an end and the draft is still months away, there’s still a chance to add prospects via the undrafted unrestricted free agent route for European or NCAA players. The Flyers added Matt Read this way just a few years ago and he’s worked out just fine for the team. Sergei Bobrovsky was another add back in 2010 from the KHL and he became a Vezina winning goalie, just thanks to Paul Holmgren, not in Philadelphia.
Speaking of goaltenders, as of now, only Steve Mason and Anthony Stolarz have NHL contracts for next season, Ray Emery and Rob Zepp have both posted sub-.900 SV%’s this season and likely will not find themselves backing up Steve Mason next season. With Stolarz probably nailed down as the AHL starter and no ECHL goalies in sight, the Flyers will likely need to add another goalie.
Stolarz’s .908 SV% is a bit concerning, as it’s a bit lower than it should be. Hopefully, for the Flyers, Stolarz becomes the future in net, but if not, the Flyers have a shot to add a decent goalie out of the NCAA ranks. Luckily for Stolarz, he did post 2 years of .920+ in the OHL, so there’s a chance he rebounds next season.
Colin Stevens is finishing up his senior year at Union College of the ECAC. A former teammate of current Flyers prospect Shayne Gostisbehere, Stevens has posted a .923 SV% in over 2000 shots faced in 4 years at Union.
Stevens also was a teammate of Gostisbehere on the 2014 Union College team that won the National Championship as well, so he’s been put in a national spotlight and succeeded.
Stevens would be the perfect addition to the Flyers system mainly because he’s posted solid save percentages on a top tier program. Goaltending is volatile, any goalie gets hot and most get cold, so the best bet is to find goalies who have posted solid save percentages at amateur levels and hope they keep them as they move up the chain. The volatility of goaltending makes it more important to have quantity of prospects in net, because any goalie can turn into something solid, just as highly regarded goalies can fail quickly.
In a perfect world, if the Flyers add Colin Stevens and a true NHL backup next season, Stevens can slot between the ECHL and AHL and battle Stolarz to become the future in net. Mason is the current starter, but having two future options puts less pressure on the organization to turn Stolarz into a future starter.
Using an Entry Level Contract on Colin Stevens isn’t a waste, but rather an investment that’s low risk, high reward.