Proud American Hockey League Affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks

Its your game
Buy Tickets

IceHogs News

Niemi and Hawks wait for arbitrator's decision

From (link)

Antti Niemi's future in Chicago remains in question as his arbitration hearing has already played out Thursday morning in Toronto, according to NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon.

The arbitrator that heard evidence from both sides now has 48 hours to render a decision on what Niemi's next contract should be and then the Blackhawks will have 48 hours to determine if they want to accept the terms or let Niemi walk into unrestricted free agency.

It all boils down to the $59.4 million salary cap for the 2010-11 season -- a number that has led the Blackhawks to strip away several players from their Cup-winning roster.

"Most arbitrations are a disagreement in a player's worth," Niemi's agent, Bill Zito, told "In this case, it's about managing the cap."

If the Hawks accept the terms of the arbitrator's decision and sign Niemi, they will need to go searching for more salary cap relief. Niemi's reward will likely exceed the $800,000 he reportedly made last season and the Blackhawks are already $403,256 over the salary cap, according to

Should the Hawks reject the arbitrator's decision and opt not to sign Niemi, the 26-year-old Finnish goalie would join a list of UFA goalies that already includes veterans Marty Turco and Jose Theodore. It's possible that those two have been in a holding pattern as NHL general managers looking for goalie help wait to find out if Niemi will become available.

Another option for the Blackhawks is to sign Niemi under the arbitrator's terms and then look to trade him. That would give them the choice of signing a goalie such as Turco or Theodore for less money than Niemi was awarded, or perhaps going with a tandem of
Cristobal Huet and Corey Crawford, a prospect who has played four AHL seasons and a handful of NHL games.

The arbitrator is one of eight members of the National Academy of Arbitrators that was jointly appointed by the NHL and the NHLPA.

Niemi helped the Hawks win their first Cup since 1961 by going 16-6 with a .910 save percentage, 2.63 goals-against average and two shutouts during the 2010 playoffs. He went 26-7-4 with a .912 save percentage, 2.25 GAA and seven shutouts in 39 regular-season appearances.

Prior to the 2009-10 season, Niemi had played in only three NHL games. He was signed by the Blackhawks as an unrestricted free agent on May 5, 2008, after playing three professional seasons in Finland. Niemi went 18-14-3 for Rockford of the American Hockey League in 2008-09.

Search Archive »

Browse by Month »

January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
December 0200