And, so, the Flyers' never-ending Great Goalie Search has ended with a stop-gap veteran who, truth be told, is not much different from his predecessor.
In essence, they traded a goaltender with a good-but-not-great resume — that would be Steve Mason — for someone with similar traits, Brian Elliott.
Mason, the Flyers' primary goalie the last four years, and Elliott, who will sign with Philadelphia when the free-agency period opens Saturday, are coming off inconsistent seasons. Mason, who will test the free-agent waters, was excellent during the Flyers' 10-game winning streak and a late-season run. He was mediocre, or worse, the rest of the time. Elliott's season with Calgary was almost identical to Mason's. In his first 22 appearances, he was 8-11-2 (one no-decision) with a 2.87 goals-against average and .893 save percentage. But, like the 29-year-old Mason, he excelled during his team's 10-game winning streak and finished the regular season strong.
After the all-star break, Elliott resembled the goalie who was mostly excellent in his five previous seasons with St. Louis, putting together a 17-6-1 record, a 2.24 goals-against average, and a .924 save percentage.
Yes, the Flyers would gladly take those numbers.
Elliott, 32, has the temperament to be in a platoon with often-injured Michal Neuvirth. Mason, on the other hand, wasn't comfortable unless he knew he was the No. 1 goalie.
Two years ago, Elliott keyed a Blues playoff run in which he won Game 7s against Chicago and Dallas before falling in the Western Conference final to San Jose in six games. He was also the guy who struggled mightily as Calgary was swept by Anaheim in four playoff games last spring. Elliott started all four losses and had a 3.89 goals-against average and .864 save percentage. The playoff meltdown is why Calgary decided not to re-sign Elliott, allowing the former University of Wisconsin star to become an unrestricted free agent.
So did the Flyers get better with this "trade" of goaltenders?
Not really. But they will be getting a goaltender who will serve as a bridge until a young prospect such as Carter Hart is ready in two or three years.
The price — a reported three-year deal with an annual cap hit of $2.75 million – won't break the bank.
Elliott will be a good soldier, and the Flyers are hoping he can regain the form that allowed him to excel in his five years with the Blues, compiling a 2.01 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage while playing behind a very good defense. During those five seasons, only Tuukka Rask and Carey Price had better save percentages than Elliott.
As for Mason, the third-winningest goalie in Flyers history was under-appreciated here. He was one of the team's leaders, a guy who spoke the truth, even if some of his teammates didn't always want to hear it. His numbers in four-plus seasons with the Flyers, playing behind a shaky defense, were solid (2.47 goals-against average, .918 save percentage) and he had an even-strength save percentage that was as good as Henrik Lundqvist's in that span.
From here, it's puzzling why the Flyers didn't go with a Mason-Anthony Stolarz tandem, but that ship has sailed.
Lots of ships have sailed, of course, when it comes to the Flyers and their goalie carousel for most of their history. This is a franchise that is always searching for "the next Bernie Parent," a franchise that at least has an impressive group of goalie prospects in the pipeline.