Report: Chicago Blackhawks allegedly sign Marty Turco; Is Antti Niemi on the way out?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for depressedturco.jpgIt’s pretty late so there might not be an official announcement – or even other media confirmations – but at least one report from The Fourth Period indicates that the Chicago Blackhawks signed erstwhile free agent goalie Marty Turco to a one-year contract worth $1.75 million.

Again, please note that this is a report and not an official announcement. Apparently word originally came from Chicago-based WGN Radio.

If that report is accurate, then it’s pretty safe to say that the team will either walk away from Antti Niemi’s salary arbitration decision or trade that one year, $2.75 million contract to another team. Again, that’s not a guarantee; as The Fourth Period notes there hasn’t been an official decision made regarding Niemi or Cristobal Huet just yet. This is just a common sense-based viewpoint.

It’s pretty safe to say that Huet’s out of the picture, too, though. CapGeek lists the Blackhawks’ roster as $400K over with only 17 players signed to contracts right now and that’s before the $1.75 million reportedly going Turco’s way would make it more than $2 million. By clearing out Huet’s massive $5.6 million cap hit by either sending him to the KHL or AHL, the Blackhawks would then have a solid amount of space to fill out their roster with minimum wage players.

Naturally, we’ll keep you up to date as news breaks on this big story. We might not hear any official word either way tonight (or at least not until even the most vampiric among us go to sleep) but we’ll let you know more as information trickles in.

Still, if this report is correct, Turco and the Blackhawks could make for a very interesting – and potentially dysfunctional – combination in Chicago. (After all, some of his worst moments actually came at the able hands of the Blackhawks). Stay tuned.

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    Would Blues trade Shattenkirk? GM says ‘all bets are off’ if losing continues

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 21: Kevin Shattenkirk #22 of the St. Louis Blues in action against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on December 21, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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    During an appearance on NBCSN last week, hockey insider Bob McKenzie mentioned that continued struggles could prompt the St. Louis Blues to trade Kevin Shattenkirk.

    When asked by Hockey Central at Noon on Tuesday, Blues GM Doug Armstrong didn’t exactly shoot down the idea of trading Shattenkirk (and maybe some other assets?) if St. Louis doesn’t get it together.

    “If we’re stumbling along like this, then all bets are off,” Armstrong said. “We don’t want to keep players here, hope to sneak into eighth place and get hammered in the first round.”

    Yep, that basically follows McKenzie’s update note for note. As you can see in this video, McKenzie mentions that Shattenkirk is also more willing to explore different options, including the possibility of being a “rental” rather than signing an extension wherever he goes.

    So, it seems like the Blues might be open for business (or at least willing to open up shop if things don’t turn around soon).

    With that in mind, what would be a reasonable price for Shattenkirk and what are the Blues asking for? Perhaps we’ll need to wait and see if we get a little more information in that regard soon.

    You know, unless the Blues began a run with tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, of course.

    Some good news: Patrik Laine’s back for the Jets

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 13: Patrik Laine #29, playing his first NHL game, of the Winnipeg Jets celebrates scoring his first NHL goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during NHL action on October 22, 2016 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. At top is Mathieu Perreault #85 of the Winnipeg Jets. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    The Winnipeg Jets could use some good news – couldn’t we all? – and it doesn’t get a lot better than this in late January: rookie sensation Patrik Laine‘s back.

    Paul Maurice said it simply enough, stating that “he’s in” for Tuesday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

    Winnipeg lost its game against the Ducks on Monday while the Sharks rode Patrick Marleau‘s magical third period to a decisive win versus Colorado on that same night, so getting a burst from Laine is a pretty nice bonus for a Jets team that feels like it’s just sort of hanging on.

    Laine’s been sidelined since Jan. 7 with a concussion thanks to a hard Jake McCabe hit that even the Jets considered “clean.”

    He’s likely out of the upper ranks of the Calder race at this point, although who knows?

    Laine already has 21 goals and 37 points in 42 games, so it’s probably foolish to say that the young sniper can’t pull something off.

    WATCH LIVE: St. Louis Blues at Pittsburgh Penguins

    PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 25: Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates with the puck against the St. Louis Blues during the game at Consol Energy Center on November 25, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)
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    The Pittsburgh Penguins carry a four-game winning streak into Tuesday, staying within reasonable striking distance of their deadly competition in the Metropolitan Division.

    The St. Louis Blues are familiar with that situation from the Central’s peak, but with a three-game losing streak and some serious struggles in net, they have to wonder about their chances of holding onto a playoff spot altogether.

    So, yes, this is a battle of teams going in two different directions, yet the Blues can also note that the Penguins struggled quite a bit in 2015-16, only to win it all.

    This game has the added bonus of featuring some of the NHL’s brightest scorers, including Sidney Crosby, Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeni Malkin. It should be a fun one that you can watch on NBCSN, online or via the NBC Sports App.

    Click here for the livestream link.

    Goalie nods: Bolts start struggling Vasilevskiy ahead of struggling Bishop

    TAMPA, FL - JUNE 06:  Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning switches with Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 during a break in play in the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks during Game Two of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 6, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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    Since returning from injury, Ben Bishop has allowed 10 goals on 96 shots — an .896 save percentage — and was hooked on Saturday in a 5-3 loss to the lowly Coyotes.

    So it’s not a huge surprise that Tampa Bay will start Andrei Vasilevskiy tonight, when it takes on the ‘Hawks in Chicago.

    But it’s not like Vasilevskiy’s rolling at the moment.

    The young Russian is winless in his last six outings, posting a 3.93 GAA and .877 save percentage. Perhaps head coach Jon Cooper was impressed with Vasilevskiy’s relief appearance over the weekend — he stopped all six shots faced in Arizona — or perhaps Cooper just flipped a coin.

    As Brough wrote earlier, it’s crunch time for the Lightning right now. The club’s in desperate need of wins, and it’s estimated the Bolts will have to win around 21 of their final 34 games in order to make the playoffs.

    If the goaltending doesn’t improve, it ain’t gonna happen.

    For Chicago, Corey Crawford gets the start.

    Elsewhere…

    — The Red Wings will continue to ride Jared Coreau, who is 5-1-2 since his recall from AHL Grand Rapids. Coreau will face Tuukka Rask, who starts for Boston after leaving Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh with a migraine.

    — After Jeff Zatkoff failed to impress in his start last night, Peter Budaj returns to the Kings’ net. The host Devils will go with Cory Schneider, who returns from a two-game absence (illness).

    — Good matchup in Brooklyn. Thomas Greiss, the NHL’s reigning second star of the week, will start for the Isles, who play host to Sergei Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets.

    — As we wrote about yesterday, Jake Allen‘s mental reset will continue as Carter Hutton gets the start in Pittsburgh. He’ll be up against Matt Murray, who’s coming off a 44-save win over Boston on Sunday.

    Braden Holtby gets the night off for the Caps, who wills tart Philipp Grubauer in Ottawa. The Sens will go with their workhorse, Mike Condon, who makes his 27th appearance of the year.

    Brian Elliott started last night, so Chad Johnson goes for the slumping Flames in Montreal. He’ll be up against Carey Price, who is slumping himself. Price has lost three in a row, and five of his last six.

    — The Preds have a good record with Juuse Saros (5-3-1) this year, so they’ll go with him tonight as they host the Sabres. For Buffalo, Robin Lehner is back in after making 36 saves in a win over Montreal over the weekend.

    — No confirmed netminders from either side in tonight’s Sharks-Jets game from Winnipeg.

    Devan Dubnyk returns to the net for Minnesota, after Darcy Kuemper gave him Sunday night off. Dubnyk will be up against Kari Lehtonen.