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Flyers' hopes hinge on Hackett

The London goalie signs as a free agent with Philadelphia.
CP   2003-07-02 03:42:10  

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers signed unrestricted free agent Jeff Hackett to a two-year, $6-million US deal yesterday in the hope the 35-year-old from London is the answer to their goaltending needs. "Our scouting staff, our coaching staff, our whole organization feels that Jeff Hackett will give us the solid and steady goaltending that we will need to take a run at the Stanley Cup," Flyers general manager Bob Clarke said.

"He is also the type of goaltender that will allow us to give Robert Esche enough work to develop into a top goaltender."

The Flyers needed to find a No. 1 goalie after trading Roman Cechmanek to the Los Angeles Kings last month.

Hackett will earn $3 million next season and $3 million in 2004-05 while being able to make more in performance bonuses.

Hackett, who earned $3.6 million last year, had a 2.54 goals-against average and .926 save percentage with Montreal last season but struggled after being traded to Boston, posting a 3.21 goals-against average and .894 save percentage.

In late January, Montreal sent Hackett to the San Jose Sharks for right-winger Niklas Sundstrom and a third-round pick in the 2004 draft.

The Sharks then flipped Hackett and young defenceman Jeff Jillson to Boston for the rights to restricted free agent defenceman Kyle McLaren and a fourth round pick in 2004.

Hackett said of his signing with Philadelphia: "I'm very excited to come to a place that has some great tradition. I'll be joining a lot of former teammates. I'm really looking forward to this opportunity. I played with Mark Recchi, who I've kept in very good touch with over the years. I played a lot of years with Eric Weinrich, Jeremy Roenick and Tony Amonte."

The 14-year NHL veteran has a record of 156-234-50 with a 2.93 GAA and 23 shutouts in 473 regular season games for the New York Islanders, San Jose, Chicago, Montreal and Boston.

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