SUNRISE — The Dallas Stars have acquired goalie Antti Niemi from the San Jose Sharks. As Niemi is a pending unrestricted free agent, the return was limited to a seventh-round pick (193rd overall) in today’s draft.
The Stars now hold Niemi’s negotiating rights until June 30.
Dallas was expected to address its goaltending this offseason. The position was a major issue for the Stars last season — perhaps the number-one reason they missed the playoffs.
In Niemi, they get a former Stanley Cup winner and Vezina finalist.
“Antti is a proven goaltender who has played and succeeded at the highest levels,” GM Jim Nill said in a release. “He’s one of the hardest working goalies out there and we look forward to working towards an agreement.”
If Niemi signs, he’ll presumably form a tandem with fellow Finn Kari Lehtonen, who still has three years left on his contract.
Related: UFA of the Day: Antti Niemi
Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.
Connor McDavid (C)
Height: 6’1 Weight: 195 Shoots: Left
Team: Erie Otters (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 among North American Skaters
What kind of player is he?
The clear-cut top prospect in this year’s draft, viewed by many as the kind of talent that comes around once every 10-15 years. For all of McDavid’s exploits this season — OHL Player of the Year, CHL Player of the Year — the feather in his cap might’ve been an outrageous run through the Ontario League playoffs; he scored an eye-bulging 21 goals and 49 points in 20 games and put together a highlight reel of goals, further cementing him as the type of dynamic player that will make an immediate impact in Edmonton next season.
“McDavid is a generational talent that’s been in the spotlight since he was 13 years old, and has excelled on all of the big stages. An offensive force, he’s a natural set-up man with deft passing ability — but he’ll still score his fair share of goals with his innate ability to capitalize on opportunities. McDavid also has incredible quickness, a hockey IQ that’s off the charts and will instantly create offense in the NHL.”
NHL comparable: Sidney Crosby/Tyler Seguin
The New York Rangers have taken the next step in an attempt to trade goaltender Cam Talbot.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers have given the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres permission to speak with Talbot.
Friedman reports that teams are allowed to talk to the 27-year-old about how he would fit with the club and answer questions Talbot may have about the city, but are not permitted to discuss salary.
Talbot finished the 2014-15 season with a 21-9-4 record to go along with a 2.21 G.A.A. and a .926 save percentage in 36 appearances.
He is owed $1.45 million for next season before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Related: Chiarelli thinks Oilers will probably add a goalie before draft
Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…
He won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks, and he was a Vezina finalist with the Sharks. So his agent does have a good story to sell.
“I have to think he’s going to be one of the most sought-after goalies on the market,” Markus Lehto told ESPN.com.
But Niemi, 31, is also coming off a couple of so-so seasons in San Jose. His save percentage was .913 in 2013-14 and .914 in 2014-15, when the league average was .915.
While the Sharks have not ruled out bringing Niemi back, and Niemi has not “closed the door” on the Sharks, most expect him to move on.
Niemi’s future is likely to be determined in part by the trade market. Younger goalies like Cam Talbot, Robin Lehner, and Eddie Lack could all be dealt by July 1. Once the dust clears there, it’ll be easier to nail down his options.
Other UFA goalies include Devan Dubnyk, Karri Ramo, Michal Neuvirth, and Jhonas Enroth.
If Dubnyk somehow fails to reach a deal with the Wild, the market will become further convoluted.
Click here for more UFAs.
It doesn’t sound like Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp will be traded to the Dallas Stars.
“He’s a great player, but he’s not what we need right now,” a Stars official told the Dallas Morning News. “It’s that simple.”
Chicago was reportedly eyeing 25-year-old winger Antoine Roussel in return for Sharp, 33, who has two years remaining on his contract, with a cap hit of $5.9 million.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers have also reportedly shown interest in Sharp.
Related: A holdover from the ‘dark days,’ does Sharp have a future in Chicago?