Photo: SITA/Ján Slovák
When finding talent overseas, the Flyers have certainly had good luck. Michael Raffl and Pierre-Edouard Bellemarre have both done very well this season with the Flyers. Sergei Bobrovsky, discovered by the Flyers, has blossomed into a top flight NHL goalie as well.
With that, we look at another goalie to come out of Russia: Emil Garipov. Garipov’s a young netminder who’s put up several solid seasons in the KHL which is easily the second best hockey league in the world. Garipov has posted a solid .941 SV% against 1752 shots in KHL action. Of course, we need to translate this over to NHL capability. Luckily, Garipov’s teammate Anders Nilsson played in the NHL and AHL rather recently as well as the KHL. Unluckily, Nilsson was a sub-replacement goalie in 2013-14 with an abysmal .896 SV% in 19 NHL games and a rather unimpressive .901 in 29 AHL games.
Luckily however, another goalie did quite well.
Sergei Bobrovsky split the lockout 2013 season between the KHL and NHL and kept the same Save Percentage across both leagues. Obviously, for the Flyers, this is what they would want in Garipov.
Goaltending is volatile, Nilsson and Bobrovsky are KHL to NHL extremes. Both were elite in the KHL, but Bobrovsky is a solid NHL goalie while Nilsson was sent packing to the KHL because he was not very good.
If you split the difference between Bobrovsky and Nilsson, you get .914 which happens to be league average save percentage.
At age 24, heading into next season, he’s a solid bet for a backup for Steve Mason. The Flyers need someone with starter potential to jump in should Mason’s health falter again, but they also need someone who’s going to be cheap and cost controlled due to the typical Flyers cap problems. Garipov satisfies both requirements.
There are heavy odds Garipov is an upgrade over Ray Emery, he’s also cheaper. If he performs at .914 backing up Mason and Mason continues to play around the .920 level he’s amassed here in Philly, the Flyers will have a solid, stable goaltending situation.
Also, as an added bonus, Garipov would be exempt from waivers for a while and therefore, if he doesn’t workout, can be shuttled back to Lehigh Valley as needed.