Gauging Antti Niemi’s value

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Antti Niemi isn’t exactly a well-regarded netminder in many quarters, Stanley Cup ring or not.

Has he been up to snuff as the San Jose Sharks’ starter, though? Let’s take a look.

Individual stats

After wrestling away the starting job during that Cup-winning season with Chicago in 2009-10, Niemi’s carried the mail in San Jose (aside from a slight tussle in 2010-11 with Antero Niittymaki in 2010-11).

2010-11: 60 games played, 35-18-6 record, .920 save percentage, 2.38 GAA and six shutouts.
2011-12: 68 GP, 34-22-9, .915 save percentage, 2.42 GAA and six shutouts.

His playoff numbers are mostly comparable, aside from an ugly first campaign with San Jose in 2011.

Compared to others

How do those numbers stack up to the rest of the league’s franchise guys, though? Habs Eyes on the Prize provided an interesting look at what one should expect from goalies and ranked Niemi’s 2011-12 in 11th place. Seems about right for what San Jose would want … perhaps.

Area of concern

The Sharks sported the league’s second worst PK unit last season and much can be traced to Niemi’s worrisome .838 save percentage shorthanded (down from .875 in 2010-11). In his defense, backup Thomas Greiss was a tough worse, though.

***

Overall, Niemi’s produced solid-if-unspectacular work in San Jose. The Sharks needs more than “solid” to truly contend, however.

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