So it's as official as can be (without actually being official of course)
The Free Agency that caused us the most angst this summer has apparently come to an end with Antti Niemi signing with San Jose Sharks for a reported $2 Million. Now, I know we shouldn't care anymore; since Chicago walked away from the arbitration award Niemi's search for a club has just been part of the background noise of a summer overshadowed by Kovy's contract issues.
But hell, I've still got a soft spot for the boy and I can't help but feel that right now there's some people wishing they had a time machine.
There's plenty wrong with this move from all parties' point of view, which seems to be backed up by a collective "meh" from Sharks fans. The questions and observations that popped into my mind seem to be what's bothering other people out there:
- What exactly is his role going to be in California? No 1 ahead of Kittymaki? Slugging it out with him for the start? Backup? (in all fairness, probably not but stranger things have happened)
- While this gives the Sharks impressive Goalie strength in depth in the wake of the departed Nabokov, they really, really needed to spend their cap money on the D if they're going to seriously challenge this year. I don't care how good your goalie is, without a top-drawer blueline you're going nowhere (but we knew that already) The guys at Fear The Fin (who are decidedly lukewarm about this deal) reckon that the Niemi signing leaves them about $1.5 million in Cap space... with some serious holes to fill.
- A one-year contract? Is this maybe another stroke of umm.. "Genius" from Bill Zito? Betting the farm on San Jose going the distance this season and thereby justifying that stratospheric payday that he feels his client deserves?
- Maybe there's more to all this than meets the eye. Feel free to create your own wild conjecture and conspiracy theories about the behind-the-scenes shenanigans at San Jose with Greg Jamison stepping down, the Niklas Hjalmarsson offer sheet and this Niemi signing. You could probably even fit some space aliens in there.. hey, it IS September, what else we got to do?
Anyway, it's an offer no one seems excited about. Maybe he likes the weather. Until we hear from that chatterbox Finn or his people I guess that's it for now.
*Whoa whoa whoa whoa, whoa whoa whoa-whoa whoa...