02 August 2010

Antti Niemi Not Coming To Philly, Flyers Ready To Ride The Leighton

Photo Courtesy of: Bruce Bennet/Getty Images

Paul Holmgren told reporters today that the Flyers are not interested in signing UFA goaltender Antti Niemi.

Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly, as well as Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer, tweeted the news just hours ago.

Niemi, who helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup last June, became a free agent today after the Chicago Blackhawks signed former Dallas Stars netminder Marty Turco and opted to let the young Finnish native walk.

Already in serious cap trouble, Chicago went with Turco between the pipes (and his $1.3 million, one-year deal) over Niemi and his arbitration award of $2.75 million.

The Blackhawks were hoping to sign and trade Niemi in an effort to acquire some aspiring talent or draft picks, but there simply was not enough of a market to ship Niemi for anything in return. (See Tim Thomas)

For the Flyers, it makes perfect sense that the team would decide to let Niemi find a starting role somewhere else.

Philadelphia isn't in the greatest cap situation themselves, and would have to move a few more pieces around in order to sign Niemi.

Additionally, Philadelphia has several goaltending prospects--namely 21-year-old Russian Sergei Bobrovsky--who will be making a run for the #1 spot in the next few years.

Teams left on Niemi's list?

Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, and Edmonton Oilers.

No takers yet, but it would be hard to imagine a goaltender going from winning the Stanley Cup one season to finding himself a backup the next.

Keep an eye out for news about Niemi in the following weeks.

Meanwhile, keep checking out Between the Pipes for lots of hockey goodness!

-Stick tap to Ryan Bright from Philabright for the title idea!

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