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Shark-Infested Blogger


September 2, 2010 11:10 AM

Sharks Sign Antti Niemi

Stanley Cup winning goalie Antti Niemi has agreed to a one-year contract with the San Jose Sharks. In keeping with team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed, but all reports have the contract valued at $2 million.4550106690_4884ae5fc2_z.jpg

This puts the team in an awkward position, as they signed fellow Finn Antero Niittymaki presumably as the new starter in July for the same amount. Niittymaki is three years older and more proven (Niemi has fewer than 70 career games including the playoffs), but much of what he has proven is not good.

Including the three games he played before the lockout, Niittymaki has an 83-79-28 record with a .903 save percentage and 2.98 goals against average. Last season was his first as an even adequate starter, being the first time he played in more than 32 games with a save percentage of .900 (.909) and a goals against lower than 2.97 (2.85).

Niittymaki might not want to be a backup, but he could easily be convinced to buy time until Niemi either fails or proves himself for a second straight season and prices himself too high; in either case, the Sharks would probably not re-sign him. But the bigger problem is what to do with Thomas Greiss.

Sending him down to the minors will not only stunt his development but also that of minor league prospect Alex Stalock who would have to give up many starts to Greiss. It would also make the Sharks a less attractive team for Greiss to sign with in the near future when he might be needed. Finally, it would cost the Sharks more in the short-term on the salary cap for very little upgrade at the position that would be offered by Niittymaki being the backup over Greiss.

However, there are a few good options for the team; click here to read my suggestions.

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