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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- It will be Antti Niemi vs. the Blackhawks Wednesday at HP Pavilion. He got the nod from San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan, getting the start over No. 1 Antero Niittymaki.
Former Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi officially became the newest member of the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.
Niemi signed a one-year deal for $2 million, which is $750,000 less than his arbitration award that the Hawks walked away from.
Niemi will compete with fellow Finnish goalie Antero Niittymaki, who signed a two-year deal with the Sharks on July 1, for the top spot. It should be a familiar position for Niemi, who usurped Cristobal Huet for the Hawks' No. 1 job in net.
Here are some of the highlights from Niemi's conference call Thursday with Sharks GM Doug Wilson:
Here are some statistics comparing Marty Turco and Antti Niemi. The Hawks signed Turco to a one-year deal Monday, while deciding to walk away from Niemi and his arbitration award of $2.75 million.
The Blackhawks' decision is in. The Hawks will completely walk away from goalie Antti Niemi and his arbitration award of $2.75 million, making him an unrestricted free agent.
To replace him, the Hawks have signed veteran goalie Marty Turco to a one-year deal.
Antti Niemi's fate is now in the hands of Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and the rest of the team's brass.
An arbitrator awarded the Stanley Cup-winning goaltender a $2.75 million salary for next season on Saturday. The Hawks have 48 hours to decide whether to accept the award, walk away or trade Niemi.
It was believed that Niemi's camp was looking for an amount above $3 million. So keeping Niemi in the fold is now a real option for the Hawks, who most likely were after an award close to $2 million.
Stay tuned for more.
As the Blackhawks' annual three-day convention plays out, Antti Niemi's worth will be determined and announced.
The Hawks and Niemi's camp met Thursday morning in Toronto at his scheduled arbitration hearing. Both sides stated their cases and made their arguments.
"The arbitrator will make the ruling I believe some time Saturday," Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said Friday. "At that point, we have 48 hours in which to accept the award or walk away from the award, or trade the award. It will be one of those three scenarios, which will ultimately happen.
"It will depend on what the number is."
Niemi's camp is believed to be looking in the $3 million-plus range, while the Hawks most likely prefer to keep his salary around $2 million.
Niemi is certainly an interesting case. He went 16-6 in the postseason with two shutouts, a .910 save percentage and 2.63 goals-against average. He also stood out in the regular season, going 26-7-4 with seven shutouts, a .912 save percentage and 2.25 GAA.
But Niemi, who made $826,875 in 2009-10, only has played in 42 regular-season games in his career.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman pulled the trigger on another salary-cap motivated trade on Thursday. But this time it doesn't involve waving goodbye to a key player from the Hawks' Stanley Cup run.
The Hawks traded center Marty Reasoner to the Florida Panthers in exchange for center Jeff Taffe. Reasoner was acquired in the deal that sent Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager and Brent Sopel to the Atlanta Thrashers on June 24.
Hawks goalie Antti Niemi filed for arbitration Monday. Hearings will be held in Toronto from July 20 to Aug. 4. Here is the list of the 31 players who filed for arbitration: