Any Flyers fan worth his salt remembers the playoff run of 2000. Finally getting to the Eastern Conference Finals after not reaching that point since 1997 when they won and got swept by the Red Wings in the Finals. After winning a deciding series against the Sabres and coming back to win four straight after dropping the first two games to the Penguins, the Flyers had all the momentum going into the Conference Finals versus their division rival the New Jersey Devils. The Flyers would go up 3-1 in that series, and then lose the next 3 consecutive games to lose in a series they had in the bag. However, one of the big moments of that playoff run was the goaltending of rookie goalie Brian Boucher. He had many memorable saves that season, including the one in the video above. He became a Philly fan favorite during his rookie year before losing the job to Roman Cechmanek the following year. In this final installment of “Meet the New Flyers”, we welcome back a former Flyer and favorite, Brian “Boosh” Boucher.
Boucher was drafted by the Flyers in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He would move through the system of playing in the WHL and such before securing a spot on the Phantoms roster starting in the 1997-1998 season. When he came to the Flyers and won the starting job in ’99-’00, he bolstered a 1.91 GAA and .918 SV%; great numbers for any goalie, let alone a rookie. He was named to the NHL All-Rookie team after that season but the magic would run out as he lost the starting job to Roman Cechmanek the following season. He was traded to Phoenix prior to the 2003-2004 season and he would set a modern-day NHL record that year with five consecutive shutouts. Boucher would then jump around between the Flames, Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, and come back to the Phantoms for a year before spending two season with the San Jose Sharks where he got back to form as a solid goaltender; backing up starter Evgeni Nabokov. His contract expired at the end of the 2008-2009 season, and he signed a deal for two years with the Flyers as we welcome Boosh back to the team where we was drafted.
Brian Boucher was always a good teammate to have and he always expressed his love and gratitude to the city of Philadelphia and his fans. He knows this signing isn’t to be a #1, but he knows the oppurtunity is there if Emery doesn’t pan out. The reason why this signing is so great and interesting is because it gives us a very solid option at the backup position, and it also gives Emery a mentor. Boucher has been in the league for almost 10 years, and went from being a rookie sensation to an average goalie, to going back down to the AHL for a season. He knows what it’s like to make a comeback, and hopefully Boosh can help Emery out as much as he can. If Emery can start and do well, it will be nice to give Boosh a couple starts to give him a rest since we know he can handle it after doing it for Nabokov for two years. The goaltending picture for the Flyers can be pretty bright depending on how you look at it and if things fall into place, we’re in for a hell of a ride this year.