Sharks win all three games this week in extra time, and the trade deadline came and went. The Dudes break down the games and the trades, and digest the new Antti Niemi contract extension.
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I hear you dudes on the “buying high” issue. BUT if the Sharks GO ALL THE WAY, then they got him on the upward trend, not at the high point.
Yeah, I think the length bothers me more. It’s pretty clear that he had some development left in him despite being, what, 27? He is no longer a liability glove high without losing his abilities in the bottom half of the net. The salary puts him right around 15 or 16 in the league if I remember correctly, and he is certainly outplaying even the new contract at this point.
Still, you would have to think that if the Shark’s goalie prospects are so great, at least ONE could have developed into an NHL starter in the next 4 years, right?
My 2 cents… On Neemo’s contract…
The fact that DW negotiated a mid-season contract and at the maximum length he has said publicly he will only sign a player to, says to me that DW is high on some “Antii Niemi”, rather than some Charlie Sheen… DW really likes this guy and clearly wasn’t willing to let him go to the open market. That speaks volumes to me at least in how I approach it.
I tend to agree with Doug though, the jury is out. It could be a bust or a steal, it depends on many factors. I tend to think it will be just an average deal. Probably won’t fall either way.
Yuu are probably right, Tom. Shark’s fans have been fortunate to have not had to deal with any “crushing” contracts. The big three come very close to earning their contracts, as does Dan Boyle. We have never had a Chris Drury or Cristobal Huet type contract. The worst we have had is probably Kyle McLaren’s or Wallin’s contract. Niemi is really one that could come back to bite the team.
Then again, DW has pulled some magic with his contracts when they turned bad before. Michalek, Cheechoo, Bernier, Ehrhoff… all shipped off when they cost got to great over production.
I tend to agree with you Tom. It’s not god awful, but it’s not great either. I feel like Niemi is playing well enough for a re-signing, but not for 4 years.
He’s got good numbers, but still lets in the worst type of goals. I still consider Niemi only good down low. He struggles with high shots on either side, still gives up HUGE rebounds. He’s very slow, but fortunately, a big target. As a goalie, I really don’t enjoy watching him play.
I better get used to him, because as the Dudes said, he’s basically going to be un-tradable. I’ll just have to root for Stalock to recover and earn the starts.
I’d say he’ll only be untradeable if he doesn’t live up to his billing as a starting goaltender. We just saw Dustin Penner get traded last week, and his contract was unmoveable only a year or two ago, mostly because he was just not producing.
If you look at the rest of the league, about half of them will be paying their starting goaltender less than Niemi next year. However, I would only put two or three of them – STL, WAS, and DAL (and DAL is debatable) on ‘good’ goaltender footing. Many (TBY, OTT, PHX) have no goalie signed next year. Others have goalies that frankly suck. And the remainder are teams with unproven goalies on entry level or RFA contracts.
If you take into account the UFA goalie market, I’d say it’s about league average money, for today, a top-10 goalie. Even if he’s only a league-average starter the money won’t be outrageous, and one of those teams I mentioned that have nothing (like TBY) would probably be interested.
Well not un-tradable, but unlikely to trade..
If he plays lights out for the rest of this season and next, why would we get rid of him? Good contract for 4 years for good performance.
My worry is that he won’t be that great. Especially in the playoffs.. He got lit up pretty good in the finals. Teams will figure him out pretty quick.
I’m having a hard time warming up to him. Seemed like the Sharks did too, at least for his first 20 or so starts.
Even if Niemi did get lit up in the finals last year, he’s improved leaps and bounds under this goaltending coaching staff. Credit to Schwab and Thomas.
As for warming up or lack thereof, he’s won 17 of his last 20 starts. I’m not sure what else he could do to win you over.
As for my opinion on the contract, I think 3.5 for 3 years woulda been a decent balance to lock him down before hitting the FA market.
I agree with Ruben and downRupLYB, the term is longer than I’d like to see given the talent in the system. 3 years would make me more comfortable.
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