For more information regarding our move, please read the two last post published below.

28 March 2007

Goalie makeover complete for Flyers with Biron signing...

On Trade Deadline Day 2007, Sabres goalie Martin Biron did not participate in his team's morning skate, which led to wild speculation of him being dealt.
Those rumours persisted for about an entire season and began once Ryan Miller took over Martin Biron as the Sabres number one man.

A Biron trade wasn't too unexpected but this was sure unexpected.

The Philadelphia Flyers, the worst team in the National Hockey League acquire Biron at the twilight of the season for a 2nd round draft choice.
It did shock me as I thought Biron would've been moved to a team seeking a starting man heading into the playoffs...nevertheless, the move made perfectly sense on Paul Holmgren's part.
The Flyers, having a dreadful year, weren't getting much from their goalies, young Antero Niittymaki sports a very un-cool 3.41 GAA and horrific 9-28-9 record, and the monster that is Robert Esche, whose injuries and inconsistency have merited him a 5-9-1 record and a 4.32 GAA.
I bet you Esche would be an elite the AHL.

Esche, a UFA on July 1st, will not be coming back to the Flyers, and with Martin Biron signed on for two more seasons and Antero Niittymaki being favoured over him, there's only room in the pressbox for him.

Martin Biron happily arrived in Philadelphia and was enthusiastic about getting the once fierce Eastern Conference franchise back on its feet, and the notion of the Flyers being 100 times worse than the Sabres doesn't bother him, and it shouldn't, as he's now the undisputed clear number one guy.

And they showed him he's their number one guy by signing him to a 2-year contract extension worth $7 million, or, $3.5 million annually.
The move keeps Biron in Philadelphia until 2009 and possibly beyond.

Biron, a former Sabres first round draft choice, is 16-9-2 with a 3.01 GAA in 29 games this season and is 4-5-1 with a 2.96 GAA and .913 save percentage in 10 games with the Flyers.

The .913 stat right there is a 20 point improvement over the other two guys, whose futures in the city of Brotherly Love is now pointed to uncertain.

Esche is a goner, but Antero Niittymaki could be also, with his contract expriring at the end of the season, he's eligible for RFA status.
Niittymaki's agent has stated that his client would consider playing in Europe next season.
This scenario would be great for Antero Niittymaki, not only would he be a starter, but he won't have to permenantly back-up Biron.
However, the Finnish netminder said that it would be hard to go to Europe, as there aren't many jobs available.

"They want to give me a qualifying offer. I don't know. It's not that easy just to go to Europe. Not too many jobs available. If I sign the qualifying offer, I have to work hard to get some games next year."

"I don't think you can ever discount solid goaltending," Holmgren said. "At the end of the day, you have to have it, no matter how many goals you score. You have to have the guy who can make the timely saves and that your team has confidence in."

Biron, as I stated earlier, is excited about this challenge.

"Personally, this is very big for me," Biron said. "It was big that they came in and got me at the trade deadline, to be able to know more about me and introduce me to this organization and move forward. I want to move forward, too. That was a big part of my decision."

Biron is key for the Flyers if they expect to rebound next season and they will depend on him heavily, which raises the question if the Flyers should bring back Antero Niittymaki next season, just so he can rot on the bench, or should they just bring a minor-league scrub up like Martin Houle to back him up? Kind of like Dany Sabourin backing up Roberto Luongo in Vancouver.

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge

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