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Sharks Extend Antti Niemi

via the San Jose Sharks,

The Sharks have locked up Antti Nieimi for a four year extension.

More details to follow.

added 12:22pm, via Pierre LeBrun tweet,

Niemi extension is $3.8 million average salary, four-year deal

added 12:38pm,

SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the team has signed goaltender Antti Niemi to a four-year contract extension. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Niemi has appeared in 42 games with San Jose this season, posting a 23-15-3 record with a 2.44 goals-against average (13th NHL), a .919 save percentage (T-13th NHL) and five shutouts (T-5th NHL).

“We wanted Antti to remain a San Jose Shark and he wanted to be here,” said Wilson.  Once he got through his expected integration period with our club, Antti’s play has been outstanding and, just as important, he has consistently been a great teammate.  And like many of his teammates over this past year, he worked with us on a contract that fits within our team structure and enables us to keep our group intact.”

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi

Comments

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The Howard signing becomes more of a bargain with each passing day, literally.

Posted by Dahrken from Grand Rapids, MI on 03/01/11 at 02:27 PM ET

edillac's avatar

well now,
amateurs,nothing more to say

Posted by edillac from isolation on 03/01/11 at 02:35 PM ET

awould's avatar

The Howard signing becomes more of a bargain with each passing day, literally.

That was my first thought. Niemi has won a Cup though. And I think he’s shown he’s capable of being the #1 guy. I have him on my fantasy team and feel confident starting him every time. Not a bad deal for the Sharks overall, but I’d take Howard for the money every time.

Posted by awould on 03/01/11 at 02:52 PM ET

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The funny thing is that if you compare housing prcies in Detroit vs San Jose, Niemi’s 68% higher salary is nothing compare with the over 600% difference.

Posted by Kel on 03/01/11 at 02:56 PM ET

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True enough Kel, in fact I’ve always wondered if players considered cost of living in cities such as NY or SJ when contemplating a contract.  Besides housing, food and parking are exorbitant in the Bay Area.  My point however is in terms of cap space and what that extra $1.55 million could help shore up in the off season.

Posted by Dahrken from Grand Rapids, MI on 03/01/11 at 03:03 PM ET

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And high taxes in California.  Of course no argument that Howard’s contract is a much better value for his team than Niemi’s, which I feel is at or even slightly below market rate.

Posted by Kel on 03/01/11 at 03:07 PM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

well now,
amateurs,nothing more to say


+1

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 03/01/11 at 03:30 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Heh. Wasn’t somebody saying yesterday that the Sharks follow along with whatever the Wings do?

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 03/01/11 at 03:40 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

Leaves them around $10 million to sign 9 players.

Imagine this means Setagouchi is set to walk.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 03/01/11 at 03:59 PM ET

BetterThanYou's avatar

Howard got 2.25 because he isnt that great, 2.85 gaa and .907 save % is nothing to write home about. It’s a 2 year prove yourself contract because right now that’s really all he is worth.

Pretty good move for the Sharks. So much for all those experts who said he wouldnt play well without the Hawks D in front of him.

Posted by BetterThanYou on 03/01/11 at 04:15 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

My peanuts mongering preference of 2m -v- 2.25m for Howard yesterday was just pronounced dead.

Ken Holland just struck the goalie bargain salary of the season.  Again.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 03/01/11 at 05:32 PM ET

awould's avatar

It’s a 2 year prove yourself contract

...

I agree to a point. If Howard had gone out and duplicated last season’s numbers, he would’ve been in a position to ask for more. And maybe he’d have gotten it on in free agency.

Still, I’d take a $1.5MM break on the goalie and spend it elsewhere, ideally on D. The career GAA difference between Niemi and Howard amounts to about 9 goals over the season if they each play 70 games. The current season GAA is much more in favor of Niemi. Howard has struggled this year, albeit backstopping another year of injured Red Wings. Niemi’s numbers have dipped too, from last year, showing maybe the Chicago D was a factor in his 2.25 GAA last season. Could just be growing pains in a new city.

As for the teams, Detroit has shown they can win without an “elite” goalie and Howard, right now, works well for them and fits that mold - he’s got the most wins in the league and 6 pts on SJ. So, no need to spend heavy. SJ hasn’t shown anything when it counts. Letting Nabakov go was a good move, I think, and Niemi should work out at least as well at half the price. Also, he’s won a Cup and can maybe clue in the Sharks on how that’s done. Then again, the Hawks’ Cup run was pretty much in spite of Niemi’s goaltending (2.63 gaa). Last year’s Cup finals was an embarrassment of goal scoring.

I’d argue that Niemi still has some proving to do as well. Maybe he’ll do a Steve Mason next year…. one can hope.

Posted by awould on 03/01/11 at 05:43 PM ET

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So much for all those experts who said he wouldnt play well without the Hawks D in front of him.

Well, let’s not pretend he’s doing anything particularly special.  Certainly nothing to warrant a raise nearly doubling his current salary.

Posted by Garth on 03/01/11 at 05:44 PM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

Posted by Garth on 03/01/11 at 03:44 PM ET

That’s where I’m at as well. 

He’s played a few more months for them and they’ve decided to bust the bank on him, giving him the most lucrative goaltending contract in the past 2 years.

Couple this with the massive offer to Hjlmarsson (which I intially thought was a brilliant move by Wilson, forcing Chicago’s hand) and you’ve got to wonder if they have some kind of a magic bag that tells them something the rest of us don’t see.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 03/01/11 at 05:48 PM ET

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I don’t think a starting goaltender has to do anything special to warrant a $3.8M a year cap hit on a 4-year deal giving up unrestricted free agency at the age of 27.  Most teams are willing to pay that much to their starting goalie.

Posted by Kel on 03/01/11 at 06:12 PM ET

awould's avatar

I don’t think a starting goaltender has to do anything special to warrant a $3.8M a year cap hit on a 4-year deal giving up unrestricted free agency at the age of 27. Most teams are willing to pay that much to their starting goalie.

Thus making the Howard deal awesome. It’d be more awesome if they did 3 years w/ Howard at that price. 4 years makes me nervous with a goalie these days.

Posted by awould on 03/01/11 at 06:22 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I never have understood the “but he’s won a Cup” argument.

Sure he did.  In CHICAGO, not San Jose.

For a year or two, maybe I could see this.  But FOUR years at that price…. this will come back to bite SJ in the rear end for sure.  A headscratcher.  There’s a reason DET only signed Howard for 2 years, and for my money they are perhaps the two most comparable goalies in that both have had success on very good teams, but are still unproven commodities long-term.

Posted by Primis on 03/01/11 at 06:31 PM ET

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Well one thing remains constant in the Doug Wilson GM era, and that is that Wilson has never been GM of a team that has drafted a quality starting goaltender. In fact Wilson has failed miserably in drafting goalies since becoming GM of the Sharks. And this move just cements the notion that Stalock and all the other Sharks goalies in the system just aren’t that good. Why pay big bucks for a goalie if your younger goalies are any good?

Posted by gp on 03/01/11 at 06:44 PM ET

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I don’t think a starting goaltender has to do anything special to warrant a $3.8M a year cap hit on a 4-year deal giving up unrestricted free agency at the age of 27.  Most teams are willing to pay that much to their starting goalie.

Really?  Most teams are willing to give up that kind of contract based on “nothing special”?  I’d rethink that stance if I were you.  Most goalies that get really good deals do SOMETHING special, like get Calder or Vezina nominations or win Conn Smythe awards.

Anyhow, if you look at the list of goalies making what he signed for or more, that’s a list of elite goalies and busts, not unproven talents.  If he ends up being better than Price, Halak, Rinne or the like then it will end up being a good contract, but if he doesn’t then it’s an albatross.

Add in the fact that goalie contracts are trending down, in both per-year salary and length of contracts and this deal looks less and less positive for SJ.

Posted by Garth on 03/01/11 at 06:50 PM ET

awould's avatar

I never have understood the “but he’s won a Cup” argument.

At the end of Joe Thornton’s career, when they stack up his numbers and Hall of Fame credibility against other top players of his era, there will forever be that “never won a Cup” stigma (not-so-bold prediction). And that stigma isn’t that his name is just missing from a trophy, it’s that he could never lead his team over that final hump. And he’s played for good teams, Cup-favorite type teams. And he’s largely choked.

A guy who has won the Cup has seen it all and won, not choked. A good asset to have in the lockerroom, especially in goal. I think it would mean less if it’s a fourth line scrub that won a Cup by playing 7 minutes a game, but to get a key player with that experience is an asset, I think.

Of course, Niemi can hardly be credited with not choking during the Stanley Cup Finals so maybe it means less with him too.

Posted by awould on 03/01/11 at 07:00 PM ET

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Most goalies that get really good deals do SOMETHING special, like get Calder or Vezina nominations or win Conn Smythe awards.

Anyhow, if you look at the list of goalies making what he signed for or more, that’s a list of elite goalies and busts, not unproven talents.  If he ends up being better than Price, Halak, Rinne or the like then it will end up being a good contract, but if he doesn’t then it’s an albatross.

The point is that this deal is not a “really good deal”.  We are not talking about Lunqvist Ward, or Miller cap hit ($6M+) here.  We’re talking about $3.8M a year, less money that a non-superstar top-4 defencemen gets (e.g. Hamhuis).  Niemi now ranks tied-10th in sav%, and in that range you see goalies like Ward ($6.3M), Fluery ($5.0M), Bryzgalov ($4.25M), Price ($2.75M), Quick ($1.8M), Lethonen ($1.55M).  Niemi’s future cap hit makes it right in the middle of the pack.

Posted by Kel on 03/01/11 at 07:30 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Per Capgeek, the Sharks have Niittymaki signed for $2 million for one more year.  A lot of money is coming off the books if they choose not to re-sign their UFAs.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 03/01/11 at 08:17 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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