The Flyers made a splash in the international free agency market, by picking up 6-foot-2, 200 lbs. goaltender, Johan Backlund on a one-year contract.
“Johan is a player who we have watched over the last couple of years and we really like,” said Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren . “He will bring depth to our organization at the goaltender position.”
The 27-year old posted a 2.56 goals against average in 49 games with Timra of the Swedish Elite League. Backlund was a sought after by multiple teams, but signed with the Flyers. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Backlund is low risk, high reward (as are most goalies). He has potential to be a decent NHL backup, but needs to prove himself under fire. He possesses a standup style with good reflexes and uses his size well. He is well-rounded, not excelling anywhere specific but also not lacking.
The Flyers’ system is terribly barren at goaltender. With next to no prospects even close to playing major minutes at the AHL level, let alone NHL, something needed to be done. Backlund will likely become the backup to any starter for the Flyers, considering both Marty Biron and Antero Niittymaki will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2008-09 season. The Flyers will likely let Niittymaki walk due to his bad hip and try to re-sign Biron. However, sources say that Biron’s agent is riding up the price of the backstop, which puts the future of Biron in Philly in question.