Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Philadelphia Flyers Goaltending Situation

When the Philadelphia Flyers entered this season, they expected that Robert Esche, who had been the USA starting goalie during the 2004 World Cup, to be their starting goalie. They expected rookie Antero Nittymaki, who was fresh off of a Calder Cup victory in the AHL to be a strong backup.

It turned out that Niittymaki did a little bit better than expected and Esche may have done a little bit worse. The two goalies basically shared the work in Philadelphia. In fact, Niittymaki had been the slightly more used goaltender (Niittymaki has 34 games played this year, while Esche has 26). Niittymaki has also put up slightly better statistics (2.95 GAA, .896 saves percentage compared to Esche 3.15 GAA, .892 saves percentage). Nevertheless, in February before the Olympics Esche appeared in 5 games and Niittymaki appeared in two.

During the Olympics, Robert Esche was a seldom used extra American goalie. Antero Nittymaki was the MVP of the Olympic tournament. He had three shutouts in the tournament, where Finland won the silver medal.

Does the Olympic success of Niittymaki ensure that he comes back to Philadelphia as the clear number one goaltender? Has a goaltender ever won the number one job for his play outside the NHL? At this point, it seems clear that Niittymaki is the better of the two goalies. He is also the younger one so he has a better upside. However, Esche is a good goalie. He has been an NHL number one goalie in the past. Will the Flyers have a goalie contreversy as they head down the stretch run?

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?