Flyers sign Biron to two-year contract
Biron has been the regular goaltender since he was acquired from Buffalo for a second-round draft pick in late February. Biron, Buffalo's first-round pick in the 1995 draft, is 16-9-2 with a 3.01 goals-against average in 29 games this season and is 4-5-1 with a 2.96 GAA and .913 save percentage in 10 games with the Flyers.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said immediately after the trade deadline deal that he wanted to sign Biron to a new contract and make him the No. 1 goalie. Biron lost his job with the Sabres early last season to Ryan Miller and has been enthusiastic about his opportunity in Philadelphia.
Holmgren, speaking by telephone from a scouting trip in Montreal, said he liked that the Flyers would go into next season with a goalie who was already familiar with the team.
"I don't think you can ever discount solid goaltending," Holmgren said. "At the end of the day, you have to have it, no matter how many goals you score. You have to have the guy who can make the timely saves and that your team has confidence in."
Biron said he still feels like he has something to prove.
"Personally, this is very big for me," Biron said. "It was big that they came in and got me at the trade deadline, to be able to know more about me and introduce me to this organization and move forward. I want to move forward, too. That was a big part of my decision."
Coach John Stevens is pleased to have a goalie of Biron's caliber in place for next season.
"I think it's terrific," Stevens said. "We were excited when he came here and we heard good things about him. He's a great personality, he's a character guy and a proven veteran goalie. No question he makes us a better team."
Esche, once considered the future in goal after a stellar postseason three years ago, will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Niittymaki's contract also runs out at the end of this season, but he's a restricted free agent.
Biron made $2.1 million this season in the final year of his contract.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press