Blackhawks let Niemi go and sign Turco!!
After hearing the arbitrator's decision on Antti Niemi the Blackhawks have decided to walk away and make the goaltender a free agent. Niemi earned $826,875 last season, the arbitrator reward Niemi with a new salary of $2.75 million for one year. The Blackhawks were allready up against the $59.4 million cap. They didn't have many options either they could have signed him and traded him or signed him back and trade another player to free up space. Blackhawks have had such crazy offseason with many of there players being free agents, the Hawks dealt away a lot of there players this offseason like Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager and Kris Versteeg. They still got Huet and his $5.625 million cap hit. The Blackhawks have the option of sending Huet to the AHL, which would take his cap hit off the books. Campbells contract of $7 million also. Hawks are really stuck up against the cap. Niemi had a solid year in net for the Hawks in 39 games played spliting time early on with Huet but then taking over the reigns as the number one guy. Niemi had a record of 26 wins -7 losses - 4 ties with seven shutouts, and then had 16 wins and 6 losses in the playoffs with a 2.63 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Niemi had a great regular season imagine if he played most of the year he could have had easly over 35 wins and over 10 shutouts. There were times in the regular season also where he wasn't consistent in net. In the playoffs and especially the finals Niemi wasn't that great if it wasn't for his great defense in front of him the Hawks probably would have lost. Niemi's rebound control was just horrible and it really showed in the stanley cup finals against the Flyers. Now the Blackhawks have decided to sign veteran goalie Marty Turco to a one year deal worth $1.3 million dollars. Turco is 34 years old and played with the Dallas Stars last season, had a record of 22 wins - 20 losses - 11 ties in 53 games with a 2.72 goals against average and four shutouts. Turco was quoted as saying "Joining the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks is an unbelievable opportunity for me both professionally and personally, The Blackhawks are a first class organization in a world-class city and at this point in my career I am excited to be a part of a team that will give me such a good chance to win the Stanley Cup.” I feel signing Turco is a great signing he maybe up there in age but I feel he still has few good season left in the tank and just needed to be on a good team. He has went threw the battles in the playoffs and is more well rounded then Niemi is. With Niemi you aren't to sure what you are gonna get he could put together a good strech of games then also he has those mental lapses threwout the game where he consistently would let up those juicy rebounds up to the opposition. Niemi is only 26 years old and has more time to improve and get better then Turco does, but the Hawks also have a young goaltender in Corey Crawford who they wanna give a chance to also. Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said that even with acquiring Turco he wanted to give Crawford a chance to play this year also. It looks like Turco will play majority of the season but they will give the kid Crawford a shot at playing some games also and see what he can bring. Overall I don't think the Hawks team is as strong as last year cause of the players they have lost and now they have to fill those voids with cheaper young prospects or farm players they have. Hawks would have never been in this situation if it wasn't for Dale Tallon the former general manager who signed Huet which has ended up being a bad signing,Campbell to his big contract of $7 million a year and Hossa to this 12 year deal which will give him $7.9 million in the first seven season of the deal. There has been some sketchy signings in Chicago even though it resulted in them winning the cup, but now look at this team a lot of there guys were free agents this summer and they didnt have the space to keep them and have to get rid of them. I feel the Hawks will be a top 4 team in the Western Conference still but I don't feel they will make it to stanley cup finals though.