Rumors surfaced yesterday that the Chicago Blackhawks had reached a verbal agreement with former Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco, contingent upon the outcome of current 'Hawks netminder Antti Niemi's arbitration case.
Turco's alleged contract was for one year at $1.5 million, if Chicago opted to trade or let Niemi walk after his hearing.
Several sources, including NHL.com, reported this afternoon that Niemi was awarded $2.75 million by the arbitrator, giving the Blackhawks 48 hours to accept the offer or send the Finnish native packing.
What does this all mean?
Several analysts, including James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail, believe that Chicago will find a way to keep Niemi and still get under the cap before the season starts.
Assuming that this holds true and Niemi stays in Chicago, Turco is not left with a plethora of options.
The Flyers are certainly a team that has expressed interest in the veteran goalie before, and one that would fit the "contender" criteria that Turco is looking for in his future club.
If the numbers from Turco's agreement with the Blackhawks were accurate, Philadelphia could certainly add his experience between the pipes and still easily maneuver their way under the salary cap.
As of today, the Flyers have just over $300K in cap space.
However, that number reflects the eight defensemen and fourteen forwards currently on the team's roster.
It's quite likely that the Flyers will trim their lineup by at least two players by the time the season starts.
One option would be to send recent acquisition Matt Walker down to the AHL, freeing up an additional $1.7 million to sign Turco to a short-term deal.
The 35-year-old goaltender has all the right credentials, posting six consecutive seasons with 30 or more wins before stumbling a bit last year, reaching just 22 wins in 53 starts.
And if the Stanley Cup finals were any indication, it seems that Michael Leighton cannot compete at the top of his game consistently for an entire season.
Turco would finally give the Flyers some security in net, something the organization has been trying to pin down for decades.
Is Turco a godsend? No.
Would he be an improvement over the Flyers current goaltending situation? Absolutely.
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