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Gauging Antti Niemi’s value

Jul 28, 2012, 10:30 PM EDT

Antti Niemi AP

Antti Niemi isn’t exactly a well-regarded netminder in many quarters, Stanley Cup ring or not.

Has he been up to snuff as the San Jose Sharks’ starter, though? Let’s take a look.

Individual stats

After wrestling away the starting job during that Cup-winning season with Chicago in 2009-10, Niemi’s carried the mail in San Jose (aside from a slight tussle in 2010-11 with Antero Niittymaki in 2010-11).

2010-11: 60 games played, 35-18-6 record, .920 save percentage, 2.38 GAA and six shutouts.
2011-12: 68 GP, 34-22-9, .915 save percentage, 2.42 GAA and six shutouts.

His playoff numbers are mostly comparable, aside from an ugly first campaign with San Jose in 2011.

Compared to others

How do those numbers stack up to the rest of the league’s franchise guys, though? Habs Eyes on the Prize provided an interesting look at what one should expect from goalies and ranked Niemi’s 2011-12 in 11th place. Seems about right for what San Jose would want … perhaps.

Area of concern

The Sharks sported the league’s second worst PK unit last season and much can be traced to Niemi’s worrisome .838 save percentage shorthanded (down from .875 in 2010-11). In his defense, backup Thomas Greiss was a tough worse, though.

***

Overall, Niemi’s produced solid-if-unspectacular work in San Jose. The Sharks needs more than “solid” to truly contend, however.

Related

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  1. cosmoandmelovepens - Jul 28, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    I’ve never had a problem with niemi. His numbers look pretty good…

  2. sjsharksfan11 - Jul 28, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    I miss Vesa Toskala

  3. ladystanley - Jul 29, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    And how much of the GAA can be attributed to the blue line in front of him and the bad PK “system” in use.

  4. sjsharks66 - Jul 29, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Nemo can not have a good SV% on the PK because basically, the sharks box technique sucks.

    I enjoy nemo in net and feel comfortable when he is. Maybe do what the pens did and get a solid backup to give him a few more games off during the season.

  5. fortwaynekomets - Jul 29, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    wish he was still a Blackhawk!

  6. finfan88shark - Jul 29, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    Never seen a worse fundamental goalie. His stats are in line with his stats on a great Chicago team

  7. blomfeld - Jul 29, 2012 at 2:26 AM

    “There’s nothing wrong with that man” …

    Anyone who grew up like me, loving to play goalie on the city street, would know “innately” that the Sharks’ problems aren’t at the back end … in fact, they have no problems on the ice, period. Rather, their problems lie squarely on the shoulders of these “idiots” known as McLellan and Wilson. I can “guarantee” you that if these clowns are “dealt with”, then the Sharks are a “hands down” favorite to meet us Kings in next year’s WCF ! … and as we all know already, whoever wins the West wins the cup ! :)

  8. stakex - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Not sure why the hate on Niemi. Not really a fan of his to be honest, but the guy has put up solid numbers over the last couple years. Sure hes no Quick or Lundquist… but his stats are on par with other starting goalies.

    Hell, his numbers are about the same as Marc-André Fleurys over the last couple seasons (Niemi actually has a better S%), and Fleury makes $1.2 million more a seasons. Yet I don’t see any articles about Fleury not being the number one goalie the Pens are paying him to be, which is strange since the Pens have higher expectations and Fleury is considered by many to be one of the better goalies in the NHL. If your going to pick on any under performing goalie, it would make sense Marc-André Fleury should be your target.

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