Earlier this week, we passed along a report that Antti Niemi would choose his next NHL team in the next few days. That report might have some legitimate credibility because Nick Kypreos claims that he received confirmation that the former Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup winner will sign with the San Jose Sharks.
West coast source has confirmed Antti Niemi will sign with the Sharks as early as tomorrow. I hear 2M base, possibly for just the 1 year.
From the sound of that report, some of the details may still be in question and it’s far from official, so do prepare your grain of salt.
That being said, Kypreos is a respected media member so the chances of this happening could be pretty strong. After all, the Sharks have often been cited as one of the teams that make the most sense for the Finnish goalie.
Of course, it’s not a squeaky clean scenario if this does happen. The team already has newly signed goalie Antero Niittymaki (two-year, $4 million with a $2 million annual cap hit) and last year’s backup Thomas Greiss ($550K for one year) on their roster. One must assume that Greiss would be sent down to the AHL to accommodate a solid, if still-a-bit-unproven 1a/1b pairing of Niittymaki and Niemi.
While it’s a bit of a messy situation, I think the Sharks would be wise to hedge their bets and have two goalies who could conceivably succeed as their top guy. Again, though, keep in mind that this is far from official. We’ll have more on this story as it develops or ends up being a blip on the free agent radar.
Update: Adding some fuel to the speculation, ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers also says that a deal with San Jose is basically done for one year at $2 million. So perhaps this deal is indeed going to go down.