It has been approximately three weeks now since the Chicago Blackhawks announced they will not be re-signing Antti Niemi as their goaltender.
Niemi was awarded a salary of $2.75 million for the upcoming season. That would be a considerable raise from the $800,000 that he made previously, while leading Chicago to its first Stanley Cup in 49 years.
Right after GM Stan Bowman announced the Blackhawks would be signing Marty Turco, there was more buzz than we have heard all off-season, minus the Ilya Kovalchuk catastrophe.
Since the Blackhawks declined Niemi's arbitration settlement, it appeared the Washington Capitals would be a good fit for the Stanley Cup-winning goaltender. But several reports have noted that the Caps want to go with their young goalies. The San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, and Nashville Predators have all been rumored to be looking at Niemi as well, but have yet to show serious interest.
Will any of those teams go after him? Or hope for the best with what they already have? The Capitals saw the Blackhawks depend on their young goaltender, will they do the same?
Niemi should have thought all of this through before going into arbitration. The rumor mill and buzz around Niemi has expired and seems to continue that way as time goes on.
Where will Niemi go?
Besides the fact that most teams have their goaltender situation already mastered, where is the love for the goalie that brought the Stanley Cup to Chicago after 49 years? Most teams would love to have a goaltender that was able to perform their rookie season all the way to the finish line. In all honesty, where is the buzz, the rumors, and even the contract?
Maybe it is the greed. In today’s Chicago Tribune, Niemi said there were no regrets on going to arbitration. Niemi is disappointed not to be with the Blackhawks, but he must have known the trouble the franchise was in. In order to stay, he should have known $2.75 million was not going to be entering his bank account.
I wish him the best and, of course, wish he was still a member of the Blackhawks.
Life will go on for Niemi, but sometimes greed can harm an individual, whether it is him or his agent Bill Zito.