Stanley Cup winning goaltender Annti Niemi has officially signed with the San Jose Sharks. The deal, announced Thursday, is a one year contract for $2 million.
The 27 year old goaltender went 16-6 with two shutouts in the last years post season with the Blackhawks. The Sharks are familiar with Niemi’s body of work as they were beaten by Niemi in the Western Conference Finals.
After winning the cup Niemi and Blackhawks began talking about contracts. However Niemi and his agent were not happy with the offers and decided to take the money crunched Blackhawks to arbitration. Niemi was rewarded $2.75 million and the Blackhawks were forced to let go of the goaltender. The Hawks went on to fill their goaltender vacancy by signing veteran Marty Turco. Hawks fan may find it sad that the goaltender could have been kept if he had not taken the team to arbitration.
The Sharks have been trying fill gaps at the position since the exit of star Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov was released by the team because of a high resigning price after their post season exit. Eventually Nabokov found his new team in Russia’s KHL where he now plays for the SKA St. Petersburg.
None the less, Niemi is a great pickup for the Sharks. If he is anywhere close to his 2010 numbers the Sharks will be very pleased. Niemi went 26-7-4 with 7 shutouts last season.