Beezer goes to Philly

Archived from 1998-99 season.

Unrestricted free agents

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The Philadelphia Flyers solved their goaltending problems once and for all by signing unrestricted free agent John Vanbiesbrouck to a two-year contract with a third year club option.

"It was very flattering for me to have the Flyers organization come to me first and want to do a deal," said Vanbiesbrouck. "With me, it was never anything more than getting that response from somebody and knowing I was wanted."

The Flyers were thought to have been pursuing the other two big-name free agent goalies, Mike Richter and Curtis Joseph. Instead they chose Vanbiebrouck, who will be re-united with coach Roger Neilson.

"In our position it's preferable to have John Vanbiesbrouck than the other two goaltenders with Roger Neilson coaching the team," general manager Bob Clarke said. "In Florida, John Vanbiesbrouck was absolutely sensational playing for Roger."

Vanbiesbrouck, 34, has spent the last five years with the Florida Panthers. He has a 3.12 career GAA and he was the key in Florida's phenomenal 1996 playoff run taking the team to the Stanley Cup finals.

Florida picked him from Vancouver in 1993 expansion draft. He started his NHL career with the NY Rangers, where he played for 11 seasons before being traded to Vancouver in 1993.

"Two years ago we feel Vanbiesbrouck was by far the better goaltender than Joseph or Richter," Clarke said. "We didn't think any of them were better than the other last year. All three are terrific goaltenders. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them."

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