August 3, 2010

Niemi wins, then loses

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey

In perhaps what is the worst case ever of “but what have you done for us lately,” The Chicago Blackhawks have balked at paying Antti Niemi $2.75 million US per season and cut him loose. Instead, they went the cheap, cap-effecient route again – a theme of this off-season – and signed veteran netminder Marty Turco as their new goalie.

Niemi was brilliant in the Hawks run to the Cup and the salary he was awarded in arbitration was more than fair. If anything, he could’ve gotten as high as the $3 million he wanted. But now, he’s jobless. Granted, he can now ask for more money than he would have made in the Windy City, but who’s really left in need of a goalie? San Jose and not much else.

If you think about it, the Sharks might be the perfect destination for him. A team that has struggled to make that final push in the playoffs signing a defending champs goalie? It’s a match made in heaven. He’s already proven he can take a team where ex-Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov never could. Let’s just hope they have the cap room to get him. It doesn’t seem like anyone does any more.

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