It's about to get crowded between the pipes for the Phantoms.
Brian Boucher has joined the Flyers for his fourth tour of duty, after being traded along with prospect Mark Alt for Luke Pither, and general manager Paul Holmgren indicated that he will be reporting to Glens Falls.
"Once Brian clears his physical (Monday) I would say the idea right now is to not have him take part in camp here, we’ll probably just get him to the Phantoms," he said on Sunday, according to a release from the team. "I talked with Jeff [Reese] a little bit about the direction here and I think the best thing to do is to make sure we get good work in for Ilya (Bryzgalov) and Michael (Leighton).
"It’s not an ideal situation but we’ll deal with it,” Holmgren told Flyers Inside Reporter Anthony SanFillippo. “It allows us to have an NHL-caliber goalie in the organization to jump in if we need him to do so. We’ll figure it out eventually with the Phantoms, but for now we’ll live with three goalies down there.”
Holmgren also said that insurance at goaltender was a big reason for the trade. Scott Munroe is on an AHL deal and would have to be signed by the Flyers for them to call him up. Cal Heeter, a rookie, was the only insurance they had before this move.
Boucher is a 16-year veteran, who has played 324 games in the NHL. He and Munroe were teammates on the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2007-08, Munroe's second full year as a professional. Boucher also played one game for the Adirondack Phantoms in 2009-10.
Earlier in the season, Munroe referenced Boucher as a goaltender he was able to learn a lot from early in his career, but he admitted that he wasn't too excited by the thought of the veteran joining the team at first. Munroe knew that Boucher would take away starts, but said in December than in hindsight, it had been a good thing for him.
Once again, there was a lot going through Munroe's mind when he heard that Boucher could be joining the Phantoms. But this time they were different thoughts, he said.
"I had a lot of reactions and I'll just keep it at that for now, until we actually find out what's happening," Munroe said.
As of Monday's practice, Phantoms head coach could not confirm that Boucher was definitely headed to the Phantoms. He did agree with Holmgren that it's not ideal to have three goalies, but said he has dealt with it before.
"You don't have to have (three goalies) because all three are messed up - emotionally, mentally," Murray said. "If it happens with three, though, I've been through the process. I felt that it was resolved best it could - simply, 'you two guys are playing and then you get your shots after practice and before practice but the two need to have the net for the full practice.' It's a hard conversation to have, but you have to do what's right for the team."
Munroe has been through the three-goalie situation before and wasn't a fan.
"In Bridgeport we had three goalies for the first few weeks and it sucked," he said. "Sharing a net and rotating, playing every third game, it's hard, especially halfway through the year. It's hard. We'll just have to wait and see."
Heeter's alma mater Ohio State, like most college teams, carried three goaltenders, but there was an understanding that only two were playing and then third, usually the youngest, was learning and waiting for his chance. The third one was the "placeholder" in Heeter's words.
"I don't know how it will affect me, with Boucher being sent down here to the Phantoms, but it doesn't really change my outlook," Heeter said. "I'm going to work as hard as I can whether I'm here or in Trenton or if I don't move at all.
"I look forward to playing with Brian if I get the chance, I think there's a lot I can learn from him. He's been a pro, he's been playing for a long time, he's a seasoned veteran. For me, I look at it as a positive more than a negative."