By: Eric Michael (University of Miami)
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Antti Niemi, you just won the Stanley Cup! What are you going to do now? Look for another job. The Chicago Blackhawks replaced the goaltender with veteran Marty Turco after Niemi was awarded $2.75 million in arbitration.
The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers back in June to win the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks were a young team consisting of rising stars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Dustin Byfuglien. Antti Niemi was named the starting goaltender just before the playoffs began, and he played well posting a 2.25 goals against average, and a .912 save percentage.
Due to some salary cap issues, the Blackhawks were forced to get rid of some players in order to get under the cap. One of the first cap casualties was Byfuglien, who was shipped to Atlanta along with Andrew Ladd for prospects and draft picks. Another was up and coming winger Kris Versteeg who was a former Calder trophy winner as Rookie of the Year.
The latest casualty was Niemi. Niemi went to salary arbitration with the club and was awarded $2.75 million. That was too expensive for the Hawks and they elected to sign former Stars netminder Marty Turco to a one-year, $1.3 million dollar deal.
The lesson here is a quality goaltender isn’t as valuable in the new NHL as it once was. Just ask Antti Niemi. All he did was win his team a Stanley Cup, and it cost him his job.