(Campbell: “Ask for at least $7 million per year …”)
From what I can remember, there really isn’t much precedent for Antti Niemi’s “rookie” season, when it comes to contract negotiations.
The 26-year-old Finnish goalie played 39 games regular season along with 22 in the playoffs, backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to its first Stanley Cup in almost 50 years. His save percentage was very similar in the playoffs (91%) and the regular season (91.2) while his goals against average inflated slightly when the games mattered the most (2.32 in the regular season vs. 2.63 in the postseason). Perhaps most importantly, Niemi was 26-7-6 during the season and 16-5-1 in the playoffs.
His playoff run was far from spotless, but Niemi still played a bit above average (91% is pretty solid). There were games when he absolutely slammed the door during an onslaught (see: most of the San Jose Sharks series and some of the third periods against the Flyers), while others he won merely because his team can fill the net like few others in the NHL.
So, it’s basically tough to say how much he’s really worth. Being a restricted free agent, teams would have to give up a draft pick (or three) to sign Niemi. It’s not as simple as just out-bidding Chicago. That being said, a Stanley Cup can really bolster a goalie’s resume. I’d say he’s liable to sign a contract in the range of a $3 million annual cap hit, but it could be more if a different team is smitten enough to send an offer sheet his way.
What do you think, fair PHT reader? Cast your vote in the poll below.
Crouse brings the ‘total package’ of size, skill and speed to Coyotes
The Coyotes had to take on the contract of injured forward Dave Bolland, but in their minds, it was worth it to get a player like Crouse, who certainly brings size up front at six-foot-four-inches tall and 212 pounds. He had 23 goals and 62 points in 49 games this season with Kingston in the OHL.
“He’s a guy that you add the size and he actually enhances that for your entire group. In our opinion, it was a guy that’s rare to find, difficult to obtain. Certainly, once they become established in the league, those players are locked up well into their 30s and then you end up trying to maybe overpay for a player that has these attributes that’s not in the prime of his career.”
Crouse, who turned 19 years old in June, now joins the likes of Max Domi, Dylan Strome and Anthony Duclair as part of Arizona’s group of up-and-coming young forwards. He has familiarity with all three from playing in the OHL or for Team Canada at the world juniors.
“He can fly. He’s fast and he hits and he scores goals. You kinda get the total package,” Strome told Sportsnet.
Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.
Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.
DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.
Foley said via text message he had no comment regarding the process when reached by the Review-Journal.
Scott Luce has gone from the Florida Panthers to the Las Vegas expansion franchise.
The new NHL organization — still searching for a team name — announced Thursday that it has hired Luce as its new director of amateur scouting.
Luce spent the last 14 years in Florida, as a scout and as director of player personnel.
Luce was let go earlier in the offseason, as the Panthers underwent massive change within their front office, with the promotion of Dale Tallon to president of hockey operations and Tom Rowe to GM, and more attention to analytics.