The honeymoon isn't over for Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro. In fact, he's enjoying his wedding trip now after getting married last Saturday.
But DiPietro's future with the Islanders was called into question Wednesday when the team signed free-agent goaltender Martin Biron to back up previously signed free-agent goaltender Dwayne Roloson. The former Philadelphia netminder received a one-year deal for a reported $1.4 million three weeks after Roloson agreed to a two-year contract totaling $5 million.
Three's a crowd in goal, if you count DiPietro, who is undergoing rehabilitation for his third surgical procedure on his left knee in a 10-month span. He's expected to begin skating in August and report to training camp in Saskatoon Sept. 12. But Biron, who has the same agent as Roloson, clearly expects to get his share of playing time.
After starting for the Flyers the past two seasons and compiling a 59-39-14 record, Biron was left hanging as a free agent.
"We were thinking outside the box and tried to make it work with the Islanders," Biron said when reached last night. "We put the emphasis on the situation and tried to see how that would work for us and the team. It's a good fit for my situation and for the Islanders. It's going to give Rick and the Islanders a chance to get themselves prepared."
DiPietro played only five games last season after undergoing operations on his left knee on June 3, 2008 and again on Oct. 31 last year. He played his last game on Jan. 2 in Phoenix this year and later was seen on crutches in April at a local rehab facility. Newsday has confirmed he underwent a third procedure on the knee. Although he is expected to recover this season, DiPietro pushed too hard to try and play in the opener last year and suffered a series of setbacks.
Biron's signing suggests it's unlikely DiPietro will be ready for the Oct. 3 opener, but it gives him time to make sure he's healthy. Biron's bargain contract would be easy to trade if DiPietro is up and running by midseason.
Biron said Islanders general manager Garth Snow "said he's going to monitor the situation closely and be in constant conversation with everyone involved. A lot can happen that I don't have control over, but I know I have Garth's support . . . I look at this as a great opportunity to put myself in a situation a year from now where I will be a premium goaltender in the NHL."