August 2nd, 2010, 9:46 am
Well, it turns out even the $2.75M arbitration award was too rich for the Blackhawks’ blood. They ditch Niemi and sign Marty Turco for one year, $1.3M. I guess you could say Doug Wilson’s evil plan of signing Hjalmarsson to an offer sheet really paid off. The Hawks now have to go with a goaltender who’s last 5 years of save percentage are .898, .910, .909, .898, and .913. I consider .900 to be the Mendoza line for goaltenders, and .910 is roughly NHL average.
The Hawks are delightfully, wonderfully screwed for goalies. According to Hockey’s Future, the Hawks have only one goaltending prospect in their top 20, Alec Richards at #11. Richards posted great numbers his last year at Yale, but has been unable to crack the magical .900 mark in either the ECHL (in a full season) or the AHL (only six games). A blue chipper this guy ain’t.
The annoying thing about Turco is his ability to play well against the Sharks. Each of the past three years Turco has posted a better save percentage against the Sharks than his season average. It’s not statistically huge, but it’s irritating. I guess the one upside is we are only facing the Hawks four times this year, versus the customary six against Dallas.