Antii Niemi: Should the Philadelphia Flyers Sign Him?

Denis DotsonContributor IAugust 2, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 09:  Antti Niemi #31 of the Chicago Blackhawks hoists the Stanley Cup after the Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in overtime to win the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Wachovia Center on June 9, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The 2010-11 season will be a new beginning of sorts for the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Eastern Conference Champions will now play out of the Wells Fargo Center, and many new faces will join the squad. However, the most prominent change will undoubtedly be the departure of Simon Gagne, the team's prolific winger who produced some of the greatest goals in franchise history.

This season could also see a new man between the pipes if the Flyers sign the man they last faced in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Antti Niemi received $2.75 million in his arbitration hearing this offseason, but the Blackhawks parted ways with their goalie and signed veteran Marty Turco in Niemi's place. The Flyers could greatly benefit from signing Niemi, whose 2.25 GAA in the regular season ranked him fourth in the entire league. This ranks much better than any of the Flyers' current three goaltenders.

While the Flyers believed Ray Emery was their goalie of the future when they signed him last offseason, his season was dismal at best, playing in just 29 games and missing the entire postseason run to the Finals. He has since become an unrestricted free agent, leaving the Flyers with two goaltenders who were not consistent during the playoffs.

By signing Niemi, the Flyers will gain an elite goaltender with plenty of potential, and a great amount of playoff experience. With the improvements at goaltender, the Flyers can safely make another run at Lord Stanley's Cup, and perhaps win their first title in 36 years.

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