According to this report in Ilta-Sanomat, Niko Hovinen will be leaving the Trenton Titans to join the Finnish team, KalPa.
For what it’s worth, a team source tells me Hovinen is “sick,” and that’s why the Titans had to sign Eric Swanick as an emergency backup to Scott Wedgewood tonight in Elmira. Until I can confirm the story on the Trenton/Philadelphia end, I’ll hold off on going forward with a lot of the behind the scenes stuff with Hovinen this season, but even without any of that, it would make a lot of sense for him to go.
Hovinen fell to sixth on the Flyers goaltending depth chart when Philadelphia re-acquired Brian Boucher from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for former Titan Luke Pither. Right down to the country, this isn’t an unprecedented move. Johan Backlund was loaned to Finland last year as well after it became clear that he wasn’t going to figure into the picture in Adirondack.
The 24-year-old netminder struggled for the majority of the first half, posting a 3.14 GAA and .889 save percentage in 16 games for Trenton. He missed time with both a whiplash concussion and the flu, and had become the clear #2 on the team behind Wedgewood.
I have an e-mail into the Flyers and am waiting to hear if Hovinen even traveled with the Titans today, which I’d assume he did not.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 at gmail.com