What's next for Antti Niemi? It won't be Philadelphia

Thumbnail image for Niemi6.jpgWith the news of Antti Niemi being let go by the Chicago Blackhawks today after walking away from his arbitration decision, the speculation over where the soon-to-be 27 year-old goalie has taken off. One place that’s been getting mentioned heavily is Philadelphia, but as it turns out, there’s no interest there from general manager Paul Holmgren as Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly found out.

It made sense that the club pursed older veterans Evgeni Nabokov and even Turco this summer because general manager Paul Holmgren was looking for an experienced goalie to bide time while one of his prospects developed. Pursuing Niemi would seemingly alter that strategy.
Holmgren said late Monday afternoon he has no interest in pursuing Niemi.

Both Montreal and Washington are in need of a starting goalie, so Niemi has options.

Panaccio is trying to pass the buck in an interesting direction by mentioning both Montreal and Washington but it appears that both of those teams are also all set in goal. Montreal still needs to re-sign restricted free agent Carey Price and have already signed Alex Auld to be his backup. Washington, meanwhile, appears set to go with a major youth movement in goal going with incumbent semi-starter Semyon Varlamov and two-time Calder Cup winning goalie Michal Neuvirth.

Niemi could have plenty of other options though as long as his salary demands are in line with what the market is showing. Obviously Turco signing for $1.3 million with Chicago to replace Niemi is a bit different in that Chicago had no real cap space to work with, but cost-effective is the buzz word being used for goaltending all around the league now. Whether that translates into optimal results for teams remains to be seen.

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    Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

    Mike Richards

    The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

    Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

    Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

    “Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

    Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

    • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
    • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
    • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

    … Yeah.

    Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

    Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?

    Coyotes exploit another lousy outing from Quick

    Jonathan Quick
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    Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.

    Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

    Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.

    Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).


    A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:

    Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.

    It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.


    After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.

    Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.