Ramblings: Free Agency, Last Call for Yakupov? (June 28)

Ian Gooding


Free Agency, Last Call for Yakupov? Plus more…

One goalie situation to watch come July 1 is that of the Philadelphia Flyers. About a month before the season finished, the Flyers re-signed Michal Neuvirth to a two-year contract. As it turned out, they signed him because they needed a goalie to protect for the expansion draft. That goalie was Anthony Stolarz, who impressed during his brief time with the Flyers (7 GP, 2.07 GAA, .928 SV%).

You might think that the Flyers would then go with a Neuvirth/Stolarz combo, but that may not be the case. There are a few established free agents that could be brought in to compete, including Jonathan Bernier, Keith Kinkaid, Ryan Miller, Brian Elliott, or Mike Condon. Don’t rule out Steve Mason being brought back either, which would bring the Flyers back to where they were before. 

That means in spite of an up-and-coming defense, any Flyers’ goalie in fantasy would likely be best served as a third goalie in a 12-team league. That is unless one goalie really stands on his head in 2017-18. Carter Hart, who is at least a couple years away, has the ability to put this goaltending debate to bed once he is NHL-ready (1.99 GAA in the WHL last season). But as in true Flyers’ fashion, Felix Sandstrom could push him and make this into yet another goalie controversy. In the present, though, it’s going to be two or three 1A-type goalies for the Flyers.


Take a look at a free agency list. Look way down, and you’ll see the name of a former first overall pick. That’s right, Nail Yakupov is there for the taking.

Before we examine Yakupov’s season, there’s two things we can learn from Yakupov, one past and one future: 1) Even first overall picks don’t always pan out, and 2) Since he’s only 23, there’s still time for him to make something out of his NHL career.