Just days after unrestricted free agent goaltender Marty Turco officially denied a multi-year deal with the Flyers, the 35-year-old backstop has accepted a one-year, $1.3 million deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The signing came immediately following the announcement that the Blackhawks had officially released Stanley Cup winning restricted free agent goaltender Antti Niemi, after arbitration awarded the 26-year-old Finn $2.75 million. With money issues, Niemi was simply a cap casualty.
According to CSNPhilly.com, despite Turco’s interest in playing for Philadelphia, the two parties differed and decided to walk away from any deal.
However, with the interest the Flyers have shown in adding a cheap goaltender to split time with unproven Michael Leighton, it is to be expected that general manager Paul Holmgren will kick the tires on Niemi and see if the price is right.
Niemi, a native of Vantaa, Finland, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Blackhawks in 2008. Playing just a portion of one season in 2009-10, he recorded a 26-7 record and 2.25 goals against average.
In early July, Niemi had some choice words for Philadelphia.
“I think the crowd in Philadelphia was probably even louder than in our place,” Niemi said. “The fans there gathered around to grill outside the arena already in the morning. It was totally amazing.”
UPDATE: Per the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Flyers have NO interest in Niemi.