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Calvin Pickard Set To Be Philadelphia Flyers Backup Goaltender

Calvin Pickard

Calvin Pickard did not know his destination when he was waived on Monday. Had he cleared, the Toronto Maple Leafs were likely sending him to the AHL to play for the Toronto Marlies. The Philadelphia Flyers had other plans as they claimed Pickard off waivers.

Claiming Pickard off waivers means the Flyers must keep him in the NHL for 10 games or 30 days, whichever happens first. They would then be able to waive him again should they chose to do so.

Calvin Pickard To Backup Brian Elliott For Flyers

It hasn’t been a long NHL career for Pickard since being drafted in 2010. He has only appeared in 87 games for the Colorado Avalanche, 50 of them coming during the 2016-17 season. Pickard posted a 15-31-2 record, along with a 2.98 GAA and a .904 SV%. It is safe to say that Pickard hasn’t proven he has what it takes to be an NHL goaltender.

The Vegas Golden Knights would select Pickard in the expansion draft, but he would not play a game for the team. Set to back-up Marc-Andre Fleury, the team instead claimed Malcolm Subban and waived Pickard. He would be traded to the Maple Leafs after clearing waivers.

Pickard would only appear in one game for the Leafs in 2017-18, giving up four goals on 28 shots in an overtime loss. In 31 games for the Marlies, Pickard posted a 21-9-1 record with a 2.31 goals-against-average and a .918 save percentage. He also appeared in three postseason games for the Marlies.

Going into training camp this season, Pickard was fighting to be the Leafs’ backup goaltender. The team instead chose to go with Garret Sparks. This lead to both Pickard and Curtis McElhinney being placed on waivers.

Michal Neuvirth And Alex Lyon Injured

The Philadelphia Flyers had their own questions in the net before acquiring Pickard. Brian Elliott would be coming off of core muscle surgery after a summer procedure. Michal Neuvirth had his own surgeries in the summer but was injured once again in the preseason.

Alex Lyon would also find himself on the injury list before the season began. There is no timetable for Neuvirth’s return as he was placed on injured reserve to start the season. Lyon is in week two of a timetable that had him sidelined for four weeks. He is also on injured reserve.

Lack Of Confidence In Anthony Stolarz?

This left the Flyers with Anthony Stolarz to back up Brian Elliott. Stolarz has appeared in the NHL before. Appearing in seven games during the 2016-17 season, he posted a 4-2-1 record to go with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .928 save percentage. He would also record his first NHL shutout.

Stolarz would be sidelined for most of the 2017-18 season as he had two separate surgeries on his left knee. He would appear in three rehab games in the ECHL and one AHL game.

Following their 5-2 victory over the Golden Knights, the team announced that they had placed Stolarz on waivers. Stolarz served as Elliott’s backup due to Pickard’s visa issues.

Calvin Pickard To Stay, For Now

The move to pick up Pickard seems to be a sign that Hextall and the Flyers do not trust having a tandem of Elliott and Stolarz in the NHL. After their win last night, the Flyers announced today that they have placed Stolarz on waivers.

Once both goaltenders return, Pickard will likely be placed on waivers again. It would not be a surprise to see the Maple Leafs re-claim him as their depth took a hit. The team would also lose McElhinney on waivers to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Flyers will be faced with a big question if Pickard slips through the waiver wire unclaimed, however. In the AHL, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms will have at least Hart and Stolarz. Lyon will most likely be there after he is healthy. Ron Hextall did not rule out keeping three goaltenders at the AHL level.

That potential situation is a long way off for now, though. For now, Pickard will suit up as the backup goaltender for the Flyers. Pickard will backup Elliott starting Saturday night against the Avalanche. Expect Elliott to play a bulk of the games coming up, however.

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