More hip woes for Niittymaki
Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced on Monday that goaltender Antero Niittymaki will be out for four-to-six weeks after having surgery on his left hip.
Niittymaki's 28 now and seems unlikely to ever really regain the starter's role in the NHL, especially with these injury problems. The Flyers are saying four-to-six weeks, but a hip issue is very difficult for a goaltender to play with and he'll need to be close to 100-per-cent healed before he's back in the crease.
I don't know who the Flyers have in camp, but the top netminders in their system other than Biron and Niittymaki are Jeremy Duchesne, Mike Dupont, Jakub Kovar, Brad Phillips and Michael-Lee Teslak — the majority of whom were midlevel draft picks the past few years.
Teslak should be the favourite to step in. He was undrafted but did get into five games in the AHL last season after a strong career at Michigan Tech.
If Niittymaki does, in fact, miss more time, however, expect Philadelphia to go looking for an experienced backup. The Flyers have very little depth at the position and it's just too much of a risk to have zero insurance should Biron battle injuries this season.
Losing Brian Boucher to the Sharks midway through last year could prove a problem.