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San Jose Sharks

Antii Niemi a San Jose Shark?

San Jose SharksRumors are swirling that the San Jose Sharks have signed Antii Niemi to a one-year, $2M contract. Apparently the Sharks are neither confirming nor denying the rumors at this time, but we should hear in the next day or two whether or not the signing has actually occurred.

Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks falls on goaltender Antti Niemi #31 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the seocnd period of Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on May 16, 2010 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Couldn’t help it - that’s Niemi buried under
Joe Thornton during last season’s playoffs.

If true this signing just boggles my mind. Niemi came to be on the market because an arbitrator ruled that Niemi should be granted a contract worth $2.75M by the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks were only offering $1.5M. If signed by San Jose at $2M, that’s only $500,000 more than what the Blackhawks were offering. Getting Niemi for that price speaks volumes on so many levels. Is the goalie market so flooded that Niemi couldn’t get $2.75M and/or a multi-year deal with another team? Is this just another validation that the Sharks are one of the desired franchises in the NHL? Is Niemi taking less money to try and make another run for The Cup?

The most curious statement about this move might be around the team’s confidence in Thomas Greiss. Remember that last season the Sharks were rumored to be in the hunt for Josas Gustavsson, last season’s top goal tending prospect out of Sweden. Gustavsson eventually signed with Toronto and the timing left the Sharks with no viable options to back up Evgeni Nabokov. If the Sharks go into this season with Greiss back with the Worcester Sharks that would pretty much validate the idea that the Sharks bet and lost on Gustavsson and just took their chances with the net minders they had.

I don’t know about anyone else but I feel pretty good about our goal tending, Niemi backed up by Antero Niittymaki - anyone else have any opinions on that tandem?

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3 comments for “Antii Niemi a San Jose Shark?”

  1. On one hand it is nice to have two decent goalies, so that they can back each other up as well as force the other to be the best they can be. On the other hand, I would have been just as happy with a Nitty/Greiss combination. True, the verdict is still out on Greiss and his abilities, but that’s simply because he has never really been given a chance to play. I would have like the Sharks to start the season with the Niittymaki/Greiss combo and acquired a blueliner in the off-season, but now it looks like we are going to have to trade for one during the season, and that does not sit well with me. Plus, this move kind of contradicts the reasoning for letting Nabby go (not that I really wanted him to stay) because now we have between 4 and 5 million tied up in goaltending, which is probably only slightly less than what Nabby was asking for. So much for going the “cheap” goaltender route. And now we only have 1.5 million left in the salary cap. It is true that we have more options now, though neither one of these guys can be traded anytime soon, so that means we probably still lose Clowe, some prospects, and maybe Douglas Murray to get that D-Man we need.
    Still, I am trying to withhold judgment until the season starts and I actually see how the Sharks as a complete team compete. It’s going to be an interesting season, to be sure.

    Posted by unrulytravllerNo Gravatar | September 2, 2010, 11:20 am
  2. If anything hopefully Niemi will bring with him “inside” information on the Blackhawks - what really rattles some players and/or their ‘tells’.

    Posted by sharksfanNo Gravatar | September 2, 2010, 11:32 am
  3. yes, that would be nice, especially since they are still the team to beat in the West.

    Posted by unrulytravllerNo Gravatar | September 2, 2010, 11:39 am

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