Fantasy Take: Brian Elliott Signs with Philadelphia

Michael Clifford

2017-07-01

Brian Elliott’s tenure in Calgary was short-lived, and he’s moved on to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers. After letting Steve Mason leave for Winnipeg, the Flyers had an opening for a goaltender to share the net with Michal Neuvirth, and they have their guy:

 

From 2013-16, Elliott managed a save percentage of .923 in all situations and .931 at five-on-five. He turned 32 years old in April.

It is kind of odd how similar the situation of Elliott is to that of Mason’s; both guys who were pretty good for a few years for their respective teams, and then all of a sudden had one bad year. That bad year has led to them both finding new homes.

Fantasy Impact

For Philadelphia

The hopes are that Philadelphia finally has sufficiently replaced Mason in goal. One glaring issue is the problem of reliability, however. Elliott has not started more than 45 games in a season since 2010-11, be it because of tandem usage in St. Louis, injuries, or poor performance.

If anything, this should help Michal Neuvirth’s value. Mason, for all his problems, started at least 48 games in every full season with the Flyers, averaging about 52 a year. With Elliott in town, Neuvirth should be able to wrangle an additional 5-10 starts a year than he had traditionally been given so long as he doesn’t perform like he did last year. And health permitting (a huge issue for him).

Other than the additional starts for Neuvirth, this signing should improve the save percentage behind the Flyers skaters. That may have happened anyway, but Elliott should provide them with that improvement.

One thing that went kind of underrated here was how good the Flyers were defensively last year. In recent seasons, it was an area that needed a great amount of work, and they seem to be on the right track: in 2016-17, the Flyers allowed fewer adjusted shots per 60 minutes of five-on-five play than the Habs, were neck-and-neck with the Predators in scoring chances allowed, and top-10 in fewest high-danger shot attempts allowed. If that can continue to improve, and Elliott returns to form, this is a top-10 fantasy goalie in the making.