Flyers general manager Ron Hextall's summer shopping may finally be over.
The Flyers on Saturday night re-signed goalies Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz to one-year contracts and forward Cole Bardreau to a two-year contract. All three are two-way deals.
Lyon and Stolarz will return to Lehigh Valley, where the two will again partner up in net for the Phantoms. The duo helped the Phantoms finish 2016-17 with 101 points.
In his first professional season, Lyon, 24, posted a 27-14-0 record with a 2.74 goals-against average and .912 save percentage with the Phantoms. The Flyers signed him as an NCAA free agent out of Yale University on April 5, 2016.
Stolarz had an up-and-down campaign last season with the Phantoms, his third year in the AHL. He had a 2.92 GAA and .911 save percentage in 29 games. He had a cup of coffee with the Flyers in November and December when Michal Neuvirth dealt with a lower-body injury. The 23-year-old goalie made his NHL debut on Nov. 27 against Calgary in a 5-3 win.
Overall, Stolarz, 23, was 2-1-1 with a 2.07 GAA and .928 save percentage in seven games with the Flyers.
Despite showing promise in his limited action, Stolarz didn't earn the trust of Hextall, who repeatedly has said he wasn't comfortable handing Stolarz the backup job.
Thus, Hextall signed Brian Elliott to a two-year contract on July 1. With Elliott and Neuvirth under control for the two years, the Flyers are committing to a stopgap tandem.
"Anthony Stolarz has improved every year in the American League," Hextall said earlier this month. "With Neuvy's track record of injuries, we just didn’t feel comfortable with bringing Stolie in at this time. The guy we all forget about is Alex Lyon. He's done a pretty good job down there, too. Those two guys will go back down there and battle it out.
"We'll see where it goes, but they're two very good young goalies. We'll see how it goes this year with them and make adjustments as we go along."
What makes their extensions interesting is the term. With both on one-year contracts, it's safe to say the Flyers are pitting Lyon and Stolarz against each other once again in a competition at the AHL level.
The winner may get another contract and the other let go. It's a fascinating problem the Flyers have here in net, one that is a problem but one they should love to have.
Goalie prospects Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom are still a few years away from NHL consideration. Hart, 18, and will spend one more year in the WHL before turning pro. Sandstrom decided to re-sign for one more year in Sweden. He said at last week's development camp that he needed one more season before coming overseas (see story).
Should Sandstrom come over for the 2018-19 season, when Lyon and Stolarz's contracts are up, the crease in Lehigh Valley could be crowded with Hart expected to be there too.
Despite having Elliott and Neuvirth under control for 2018-19, the Flyers could foresee either Lyon or Stolarz being NHL ready that year and move either Elliott or Neuvirth.
This is all projection. Hextall has positioned himself to have this problem, and it's one the organization hasn't had often. There is a healthy goalie problem brewing.
That should be welcomed.