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2010 NHL free agency: Sharks sign goalie Antti Niemi

Sep 2, 2010, 10:54 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for Anttiniemiabouttofreeze.jpgWhat was but a report yesterday has come full circle today as the San Jose Sharks have officially signed former Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi to a one-year contract. Sharks GM Doug Wilson had this to say about Antti Niemi:

“Antti’s play last season speaks for itself,” said Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson. “Our goal this summer was to create the best goaltending unit we could and we feel we have successfully done that.”

The worth of the deal is apparently for $2 million. What happens now is that San Jose’s crease gets a bit more cramped next season but far more balanced. While it appeared that San Jose was going to run with Antero Niittymaki and Thomas Greiss in goal, adding Niemi helps make things much easier to balance as you’d have to suspect that Niittymaki and Niemi will provide the 1A/1B kind of goalie tandem while Thomas Greiss could, potentially, be headed to Worcester in the AHL or out of town to another team that needs an experienced backup.

What the Sharks are doing here with Niemi and Niittymaki is making sure that they won’t have a goalie that will run out of gas in the playoffs, an issue you could argue occurred with Evgeni Nabokov in past seasons. Nabokov was the only goalie they’d run with for a complete season and playoffs and by the time April rolled around, at some point, Nabokov would seemingly hit the wall and with it went the Sharks’ hopes to win the Stanley Cup.

The upside to this set up in San Jose now allows us to unveil the Finnish nightmare hybrid name to use when referring to the Sharks goaltending: Antniitty Niemimaki.

Embrace it, try to wrap your vocal cords around it and let the Finnish goodness wash over you.

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