Though it had been reported a few days ago by John Hoven, the Philadelphia Flyers have now officially announced that Anthony Stolarz has re-signed with the team. The deal will be a one-year two-way contract worth just over $761K at the NHL level.
Stolarz, 24, was once an up-and-coming goaltending prospect in the Flyers system with his sights set on the NHL. The huge 6’6″ netminder even played seven games for Philadelphia during the 2016-17 season, but since then has dealt with multiple knee surgeries and played just four minor league games last year. His role in the organization isn’t clear any longer, as the Flyers have Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth at the NHL level, Alex Lyon penciled in for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and Carter Hart banging down the door to jump into the professional ranks. That’s not even including Felix Sandstrom who, while expected to play in Sweden this year, looks ready to contribute in North America in short order.
Hart could technically stay in the WHL for another season, but there’s little chance of that after he has posted one of the greatest CHL goaltending careers in history. Hart has been named the best goaltender in the WHL for three consecutive seasons, while also taking home CHL Goalie of the Year honors twice during that time. He has little left to accomplish in junior, and should make an impact at the minor league level immediately. Where that leaves Stolarz’ future is unclear.
The Flyers will see both Elliott and Neuvirth reach unrestricted free agency next summer, at which point they could turn over the reins to one of their young goaltending prospects and work with them through any inconsistencies or struggles they may endure. They also could bring back one of their veterans or sign someone else, but either way it looks to be a tough road to the NHL for Stolarz with the Flyers. If he can get healthy again and show he is still a legitimate NHL prospect perhaps the team would retain him, otherwise he’s looking at Group VI unrestricted free agency next summer and a chance to start fresh with a new organization.