Two dudes blogging and podcasting about the San Jose Sharks, straight from sunny California.

post Sucks to Be You, Thomas Greiss

September 1st, 2010, 7:46 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Doug

Greiss is German for unemployment.

An unconventional offseason continues for the  Sharks as rumors abound that Stanley Cup winning goalie, Antti Niemi, will form the Finnish Wonder Twins in San Jose with Antero Niittymaki.


Friend of the podcast, EJ Hradek, wrote about this, said it again on the show last week – and we giggled and doubted it would be so – and while it’s not official official, it sure looks like Niemi is coming to town. You gotta love live prerecorded internet entertainment – just after Mike and I spent a half hour last night discussing how deep the Sharks goalie prospects are, Doug Wilson goes out and adds another netminder. Now, the deal is rumored to be one year/2M, which would not delay the real development of anyone we hold important to the Sharks future in net (Stalock, Sateri, Sexsmith) but the reality is that if Niemi does his job and raises the Cup in back to back seasons (that’s the goal here right?) – then is he really going to be let to walk out of Tombstone again? Doubtful DW would let him walk. How would you like to be Thomas Greiss today? You might see him bussing tables at Elephant Bar next week, or traded to the Oilers. Which job is better, by the way?

I’m conflicted. I’m surprised. I’m confused – but I’m going to try and step back and look at this logically.

Part I.

Does Niemi make the Sharks better? Yes. Hell yes. He won a Stanley Cup last year and beat our buns – I want him on my team. He knows how to win, he’s an underdog who has excelled from being a non-prospect in Finland, to a non-factor afterthought signing in Chicago, to a guy deemed not worth keeping over 2nd line players like Patrick Sharp in Chicago – and you think this cat won’t be motivated? I like the player and I like having him in Teal.

Part II.

If this is real and Niemi signs, the Sharks will have 1.1M left of cap space and Doug Wilson has not been able to effectively replace Rob Blake. We need DW to upgrade over Blake and instead we’ll be looking at a combination of Huskins or Wallin or Demers in his top four defensive minutes – barring any last minute preseason trade. This makes me conflicted, surprised and confused – and it makes the Wallin deal look extra bad with a side of wrong at the moment. No chance he gets that cash if the Sharks hadn’t given it to him and I’d say a 50% he’s still sitting on the open market right now with his brethren Jay McKee, Garnet Exelby and Paul Mara. If the Sharks win the Stanley Cup with this current collection of D – it will be the biggest surprise of all.

Part III.

Here’s the toughest pill to swallow – but I’m giving it a go. We don’t like the current blueline – I think everyone would agree it’s not perfect – but the goal is to win games in March, April, May and June – not in October. Doug Wilson says this all the time and I’m gonna keep drinking the kool-aid. There’s spare parts on this team, he has draft picks he’s willing to part with and he’ll make a little more cap room by ditching Greiss to the minors – so we’re really looking at 1.67M of space to dance with. We know he’s willing to deal at the deadline and especially for D – so we might have to wait a few months – but DW has to add that #2 d-man and I still believe he will. If he doesn’t, was getting Niemi worth anything at all? You brought this guy here to win THIS YEAR because this is your window of opportunity and I think DW knows it.

Talk to you next week on the podcast – who knows what other shocking business we’ll have to cover. If anyone sees Thomas Greiss, give him a pat on the shoulder and a quarter.

16 Comments to “Sucks to Be You, Thomas Greiss”

  1. LikeABossk says:

    I feel really bad for Greiss. I wanted to see him or Stalock get a legit chance this year. Plus, having Greiss + Nitty saves you about 1.5 million in cap space to get that d-man.

  2. synfinatic says:

    I saw this on twitter today: “Niemi brings the Cup-winning goaltending just like how fellow Shark Kent Huskins brings Cup-winning defense.”

    Not saying Niemi is the next Huskins, but just pointing out that we’ve brought a lot of cup winners to San Jose and none of them have helped us even make the Finals. Wilson made his bed on the first day of free agency and I fail to see how this signing helps the Sharks. Chicago had a much*better defense then the Sharks did (and we’ve only gone backwards since then) and played a very different style then we did, so I don’t expect Niemi to have the same level of success.

    Hope I’m wrong.

  3. zPleasegizveusHuskins4BieksaPLEASE says:


  4. MJ says:

    I think DW is more than aware that he still has a move to make for some improvement on the blueline. I feel more confident about the goaltending situation now, but the $1M-$1.6M left in cap room makes me a little uneasy.

    At least one more big move left or a couple/few tiny ones to tweak the roster for the better. Maybe moving Griess to the trading block to sweeten the deal for a better blueliner? Does a need for goaltending give us a clue as to which teams might be involved?

    Does the Jamison move indicate the end is near for DW?

  5. Matt says:

    Terrible signing, but at least the Hjalmarsson offer sheet drama makes sense now. Now we have two streaky #1 goalies and a long line of super solid prospects that won’t see more than mop-up minutes all season, and one of the worst bluelines in the Western conference.

  6. Mike says:

    I don’t agree with this signing, not even close, but I’m trying to understand it. It seems like a hedge. The Sharks are still very much a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, and as EJ said last week, the Sharks at that time had a guy that’s never really gotten it done in Nitty and a guy that’s never really been there in Greiss. To me, it seems like this is the free agency version of the “draft the best available” strategy. A young Stanley Cup winning starting goalie for only one year $2M? You don’t see that very often. If it works out, you sign him for more years and trade some goalie prospects for other assets. Doesn’t work out, you still have tons of other guys to step in.

  7. Ian says:

    I am totally confused. I think we are better in net but no where near better as a whole. We had concerns with Rob Blake on our D line and he has yet to be replaced and now the human rebound machine isn’t going to have Keith and Seabrook clearing his rebounds. The guy was lights out against us in the conference finals that is fact but his play in the finals gives the Flyers the cup behind most other D core. I’m not going to pretend I was not on the Nabby must go bandwagon because I was. However I thought that money would bring in a D man and not a log jam in our goal tending system. As much as it pains me to say it with this defense core I’d much rather have Nabokov. I know there is plenty of time to get a D man but I have never scratched my head so much at the Sharks as I have this summer.

  8. Patrick says:

    Mike – I know you’re a numbers guy… what do the advanced metrics say about Rob Blake last year? I thought he was awful. He took tons of bad penalties in bad spots, and he was so slow that if he ventured anywhere beyond a few feet from the crease he would inevitably get beaten. Is the defense really that much worse off without him? I say no, especially given that it (hopefully) means Demers will be playing a lot more.

    I agree that this signing is a puzzler, but only because of the contract they already gave Nittymaki. And I still feel good about the team going into this season. If they package some assets for a defenseman now, that would be great. Otherwise, I have confidence that they’ll address the need at some point in the season. And if they don’t? They’re still clearly a top contender in the West, so it’s hard for me to do a lot of hand-wringing when they spend 3% of the salary cap on a young, Cup-winning goalie with something to prove.

  9. Ruben says:

    Rob Blake’s advanced metrics are quite good. Above average QUALCOMP, very good GAON/60. I think only Vlasic was more valuable on defense (Boyle actually had a so-so year paired with Murray).

    I put this on FTF, but Vlasic is heavily underutilized. He should be playing 22-25 minutes a night, possibly even with Boyle even strength, against the top competition every shift. I don’t care if they aren’t the most physical, I care that they are the best.

  10. Ruben says:

    I agree with everyone that the Hawks defense was quite good, but their best trait was limiting shots. Clearing rebounds is a very specific skill for a defenseman that usually is based on positioning, awareness and quick reflexes. In regards to that one particular skill (and that one skill only), I would bet that Murray and Wallin and Huskins probably aren’t too much worse than Kieth and Seabrook and Hjalmmarson.

    Now if that’s true, we have a goaltender whose best skill is being big in net, which is most effective against long shots and the subsequent deflections. The Shark’s system is based on collapsing and allowing outside shots and its weakness is usually getting beat on the rush and in transition. If Niemi can hold his own on those type of off-the-rush opportunities, I think he won’t regress despite having worse team D as his strengths synergize well with the Shark’s style.

    That, and the fact that I’m confident one of the two will be traded at the deadline with us getting back a Chris Phillips helps me relax about this deal. I, too, don’t like it and how Greiss has been tossed aside, but it certainly stabilizes our goaltending, if not improves it.

  11. Chris, from Boston says:

    I don’t think we should be at all surprised by this.

    I was just watching some old video of DW speaking about the Niittymaki signing, and he compared Niittymaki to Niemi no less then three times over the course of a two minuet interview. I’m sure that on DW’s ghost roster, the guy he was thinking of in net was Niemi, so of course he is going to sign him if possible.

    Now he just needs to find new homes for his stray goalies. I would not be at all surprised if Niittymaki and Greiss were off the roster in the near future.

  12. Tom says:

    Off topic here but…

    I voted for Petrecki for the top prospect honors… Because I think my measure is mostly based on what that player can or is expected to become. If Petrecki becomes what he can and is expected to, we might have a Chris Pronger like presence on the blue line. He has the talent, ability, and meanness to be that type of guy.

    With Stalock, while he is better now, I think he is predicted to be a very good goaltender but not a game changer like Petrecki could be.

    If Petrecki becomes what many think he can be, I think he could be a top D in the entire NHL…

    • Ruben says:

      That criteria (along with likeliness of reaching it) is how I rank prospects as well, and that is why I also have Petrecki at the top. Of all the defensive prospects we have had, I am most excited about him.

  13. Tom says:

    Normally I’d send this via email question for the podcast… But, with Kovy’s new deal in NJ it puts them 3G over the cap. NJ fans are already speculating how they should get back under.

    Is there an opportunity for DW to snag a D from NJ? Is there anyone there we’d want?

    I’m hearing B. Salvador is the guy who might be out. I’d love Volchenkov or Tallinder but cause they just signed in NJ I doubt they would part with him. I have to admit I know little about B. Salvador… At 2.9m should DW make an offer?

    • Tom says:

      That 3M over the cap of course. Not 3G.

      Stupid IPhone.

    • Doug says:

      Mike and I have talked about the possibility of getting Salvador from the Devils. If SJ wanted him, we would have to send back Huskins in return (for cap reasons) + a prospect/pick. I think NJ will find a better trade partner with more cap space that won’t make them take any filler in return.

      In terms of us wanting Salvador, that’s a good discussion for the podcast next week…

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