Monday, September 15, 2008

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.
This is bad, bad news for Niittymaki, who was hobbled by a hip problem in training camp in 2006 and hasn't really ever looked comfortable since. His absence may not hurt the Flyers to much, however, given starter Martin Biron is likely to get in as many as 70 games this season.

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.



At 10:06 p.m., September 15, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anybody signed Doug Favell, yet?

At 4:16 a.m., September 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holmgren said there will be six goalies in camp: The four under contract (Biron, Niittymäki, Teslak and Duchesne), recently drafted Jacob DeSerres and there is a french report that states that former first round pick Maxime Ouellet will be at camp.

The Flyers don't own the rights to Dupont any longer, drafted 2006 and expired in June.

At 11:43 a.m., September 16, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very bad news. Niittymaki is a second coming of Kiprusoff (they're same size, same style, and from same city - Turku, Finland) and he proved it in Torino Olympics where he was chosen as tournament MVP. He also won AHL Championship and was playoff MVP. Hip-hip-hooray. Not.

At 4:28 p.m., September 17, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put in Teslak!!!!!


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