Flyers Claim Goalie Calvin Pickard Off Waivers From Maple Leafs

It turns out, the Flyers aren't exactly comfortable with their goaltending situation after all.

The Flyers on Tuesday claimed goalie Calvin Pickard off waivers from the Maple Leafs. Toronto lost two goalies to waivers Tuesday as Curtis McElhinney was claimed by Carolina.

Both Dale Weise and Taylor Leier cleared waivers Tuesday. The opening night roster has to be finalized by 5 p.m.

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Pickard is a 26-year-old former second-round pick (2010) by the Avalanche. He spent three seasons with Colorado, posting a .914 save percentage and 2.77 goals-against average in 86 games with the Avs.

In his final season with Colorado, Pickard played in 50 games and started 48, both career highs, with a 2.98 GAA and .904 playing in front an absolutely dreadful Avalanche team that was the NHL's worst.

Some more background info on the Flyers' new goalie: Pickard was the first player selected Vegas in the 2017 expansion draft but was later traded to Toronto. He played in just one game last season with the Leafs but won the Calder Cup with the Marlies.

The Flyers claiming Pickard is interesting for a few reasons.

• Michal Neuvirth and Alex Lyon are both injured, but general manager Ron Hextall said Sunday that Neuvirth could be ready by next Tuesday's home opener.

• Anthony Stolarz was not placed on waivers, which suggests they're planning on carrying three goalies. This explains why both Leier and Weise were waived Monday.

• Pickard now gives the Flyers six NHL goalie contracts: Brian Elliott, Carter Hart, Neuvirth, Lyon, Stolarz and Pickard.

Claiming Pickard gives the Flyers immediate goalie depth but also isn't a bode of confidence in Stolarz. If Neuvirth is nearing a return, why not allow Elliott to carry the load with Stolarz as the backup until Neuvirth is ready?

It's clear the Flyers have hesitations about Stolarz as their backup and perhaps also that Neuvirth isn't as close to returning as Hextall thought he was a couple of days ago.

But one has to wonder if claiming Pickard is a safety net because the Flyers have completely lost faith in Neuvirth's ability to stay healthy. Pickard has NHL experience and is a safer bet than Hextall's other in-house options at the moment.

If Lyon was healthy, it's a different conversation. Lyon looked strong in his cup of coffee with the team last season, and there has always been a feeling that the Flyers are higher on him than Stolarz. But Stolarz and Hart were the Flyers' only healthy options right now.

Pickard isn't the long-term answer here. This is simply a depth move and given Neuvirth can't be trusted, it's a good one.

As always, it's always goaltending in Philadelphia.

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