Doesn’t sound as though Antti Niemi’s anywhere close to a new deal in San Jose.
Niemi’s future in San Jose is unclear at best, his agent Markus Lehto telling ESPN.com via email from Europe on Monday that there haven’t been any discussions with the Sharks about an extension.
Niemi, 31, is in the last of a four-year, $15.2 million deal with a $3.8M annual cap hit. Though he’s been San Jose’s unquestioned No. 1 since coming aboard five years ago, Niemi’s status was up in the air following last season’s opening-round playoff collapse to Los Angeles; the Sharks held an open competition between he and Alex Stalock for the No. 1 job this season, only for Niemi to once again emerge the starter (he’s made 38 appearances this year to Stalock’s 13.)
Despite this, the Sharks could stick to their “tomorrow team” philosophy and part ways with Niemi at the end of this season — or sooner. Per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Niemi could be in play prior to the Mar. 2 trade deadline.
“While most people might think it crazy to deal your veteran starting goalie when you’re sitting in a playoff spot, I think Wilson would be willing to do it as long as the offer was good enough,” LeBrun explained.