Two of the biggest lingering stories from this off-season regard the future of Ilya Kovalchuk (as we discussed earlier) and former Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi. While there hasn’t been anything close to a confirmation – or concrete information, really – ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers reports that Niemi is on the verge of deciding which team he will play with next season.
I talked to a source today that indicated former Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi is close to making a decision on where he will play this upcoming season. It should happen over the next 48 hours.
According to this source, Niemi has offers from multiple teams. My guess is he’s weighing a short-term deal with a contender — think San Jose — rather than a deal with more security for a team that may not be ready to win.
While Joe discussed the Sharks and seven other teams possibly having an interest in Niemi, the list of teams that actually make sense right now is fairly skinny.
Will it be a contender with an unstable net situation such as San Jose or Philadelphia? Maybe a team with plenty of quantity but limited quality like Edmonton? Perhaps the Florida Panthers will decide that they need some Vokoun insurance by adding Niemi? Would he be comfortable in a 1a-1b situation? Finally, what about a foreign league with deeper pockets and less competition in net?
There are a lot of questions when it comes to Niemi, but very few answers. Yet, if Rogers is correct – and keep in mind it’s far from official – we may finally get some answers. Stay tuned, hockey fans.