Goalie Controversy? What Goalie Controversy?


Flyers head coach John Stevens remained cool, calm, and collected the other day as he announced no actual goalie controversy in Philadelphia. He said Niittymaki had the hot glove, and he was in fact going to ride that glove until it cooled down. Of course he didn’t have to wait very long as the Flyers brand new starting goaltender for little under a week let in 5 goals against the struggling Ottawa Senators tonight only managing to fend off 18 of the 23 fired shots in his direction.

Yes, Coach Stevens was completely correct about there being no such controversy in Philadelphia. There can’t be goalie controversy if there aren’t in fact any starting goalies. Martin Biron has played far under expectations all season and backup Antero Niittymaki is just that, a backup goaltender. While no one should jump the gun just yet because the Flyers are still in a very good position to make the playoffs they may never meet their expectations without a solution in net. The team has to either ride one of these two goalies through the playoffs or will have to find a better option.

Biron had shown the hockey world what he was capable of last season as he not only carried the Flyers into the playoffs but also led them through to the Eastern Conference Finals. Philadelphia fans are praying for a similar scenario. Both Biron and Niittymaki are out of their current contracts at the end of this season as UFAs. So far none have shown that extra little bit of effort that they want to be the guy to lead the Flyers to a Stanley Cup.

While the Flyers have defensive problems the biggest problem without a doubt is their goaltending situation. What that means going into the trade deadline no one knows for sure. It shouldn’t take any stretch of the imagination to believe that Paul Holmgren is taking a good long look at the upcoming free agent market for goaltenders.

Big Names On The List:
Nikolai Khabibulin – Chicago Blackhawks – $6.75m
Manny Fernandez – Boston Bruins – $4.75m
Martin Gerber – Ottawa Senators – $3.75m
Martin Biron – Philadelphia Flyers – $3.50m
Niklas Backstrom – Minnesota Wild – $3.10m
Dwayne Roloson – Edmonton Oilers – $3.00m
Manny Legace – Saint Louis Blues – $2.50m
Olaf Kolzig – Tampa Bay Lightning – $1.50m
Antero Niittymaki – Philadelphia Flyers – $1.38m
Tim Thomas – Boston Bruins – $1.10m
Ty Conklin – Detroit Red Wings – $0.75m
Joseph Curtis – Toronto Maple Leafs – $0.70m
Brian Boucher – San Jose Sharks – $0.65m
Craig Anderson – Florida Panthers – $0.58m
Scott Clemmensen – New Jersey Devils – $0.50m

Full UFA Goalie List

4 thoughts on “Goalie Controversy? What Goalie Controversy?”

  1. Hmmmm….interesting list of possible choices on that list of goalies “on the market.” I haven’t heard of Minnesota’s progress with trying to sign Backstrom (since they’ve presumably gotten the hint that Gaborik is as good as gone, I’ve gotta think re-signing Backstrom is Priority #1 at this time), but Holmgren could well swoop down to pick another tasty morsel from a dying team (it HAS kind of become his forte). Can’t say see any of the ‘tenders from the East (aside from Ottawa – who’s already placed Gerber on waivers AND sent him to Binghamton, or Toronto – where CuJo has proven himself as old and ineffective in giving Toskala any rest), simply for the sake of giving a conference rival a extra helping hand. Legace could be another interesting choice, but seeing he’s in Peoria right now, his confidence must be shot (the equivalence of unemployment for a netminder). I’d be making some calls to Dougie Riseborough in St. Paul if I’m Holmgren….sounds intriguing to me.

  2. Other than maybe Backstrom, I dont think anyone on that list is really that much of an upgrade over Biron.

  3. I agree with what you write here Chris, other than I still think their biggest issue is Stevens….I have seen street hockey teams play with more organization than the Flyers.

  4. Goalies have been the Flyers weak spot all season, although it seemed to get better late last fall for a time, but you’re right, they need a bona fide starter, not a wana be. Great article.

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