Author: Mike Halford

Antti Niemi

Agent: ‘No serious discussions’ between Niemi, Sharks on new deal


Sure sounds as though San Jose is ready to move on from Antti Niemi.

Niemi, the club’s starting goalie for most of the last four seasons, doesn’t appear close to a new deal, agent Markus Lehto told CSN Bay Area on Monday.


The Sharks have had “no serious discussions” with pending unrestricted free agent goalie Antti Niemi about a contract extension, his agent told on Monday via email.

On April 15, Niemi was asked if he’d like to return to the Sharks.

“Yeah, we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has twice declined to comment on Niemi, as well as the team’s other free agents in his media sessions after the season. Matt Irwin, John Scott and Scott Hannan all have expiring contracts as well, and all would hit the open market on July 1.

It’s long been believed the Sharks would part ways with the Finnish netminder this summer. He was a central figure in the infamous playoff collapse to Los Angeles and, at the start of this season, was thrown into an open competition with backup Alex Stalock for the No. 1 gig. Niemi didn’t win the job so much as Stalock failed to grab hold of it and, as a result, started the majority of games (61, to Stalock’s 19) — but Niemi also posted one of his lowest save percentages (.914) and highest GAAs (2.59) since joining the Sharks in 2010.

It’ll be interesting to see what San Jose does in goal moving forward. In late February, we passed along a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in which he suggested the Sharks were looking for “a 25-year-old goalie who can play a few years for them.” Shortly thereafter, they signed 24-year-old University of Wisconsin standout Joel Rumple to a one-year deal, putting him in the mix with Stalock and AHL Worcester’s Troy Grosenick to compete for minutes next season.

Based on that trio’s lack of big-league experience, though, it’s likely the Sharks will target a more proven entity in goal.

Hamonic suffered torn MCL on Scuderi hit, no surgery required

Rob Scuderi, Travis Hamonic

The day after the Isles were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, news finally started to surface about their injured players — specifically, defenseman Travis Hamonic.

Hamonic, who missed the entire Washington series with an undisclosed ailment, revelaed he suffered a torn MCL on a hit from Pittsburgh’s Rob Scuderi in the second-to-last game of the regular season (as pictured).

That was Hamonic’s last hockey-related activity of the year though, per Newsday, the tear didn’t require surgery — in fact, Hamonic was holding out hope of a Round 2 return, should the Isles have won Monday’s Game 7.

There’s no denying Hamonic was missed. The 24-year-old averaged nearly 22 minutes per night this season and broke out offensively, scoring a career-high 33 points in 71 games. Hamonic was also largely assigned the task of defending Alex Ovechkin during the Isles’ regular-season tilts against the Caps, a job that fell to Johnny Boychuk instead.

Boychuk fared well against Ovechkin but, with injuries also hitting blueliners Calvin de Haan and Lubomir Visnovsky, the Hamonic ailment was even more pronounced. On Monday, the Isles were forced to play AHL recall Scott Mayfield and little-used Matt Donovan a combined 26:24 against Washington.

Here’s the Stanley Cup playoffs Round 2 schedule

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators - Game Four

The NHL released its schedules for the second playoff round on Tuesday — two schedules, to be precise.

The first is contingent upon Tampa Bay winning Wednesday’s Game 7 against Detroit and advancing to face Montreal in Round 2. The second, obviously, is contingent upon Detroit winning and moving on to face the Habs.


As for some of the potential scheduling quirks:

• We could see our first back-to-back scenario of the playoffs if the Bolts advance. Games 3 and 4 of the Tampa Bay-Montreal series would be played on May 6/7, with both games being played at Amalie Arena.

• Regardless of who wins, there’ll be a sizable gap between Games 1 and 2 of the Calgary-Anaheim series. The opener will go on Thursday, Apr. 30 and the second game will be played on Sunday, May 3 — both at the Honda Center. (If Detroit wins, Game 3 would come after another two-day break, as the Flames and Ducks would play in Calgary on Wednesday, May 6. If Tampa Bay wins, Game 3 goes on Tuesday the 5th.)