Thursday, September 2, 2010

Well, this is a turnup isn't it?

Earlier today, the San Jose Sharks signed goaltender Anti Niemi to a one year contract. With Thomas Greiss and Antero Niittymaki already under contract, the Niemi signing adds much needed depth.

It's been nearly two hours now since the Sharks released the news of the signing. I have taken the time to think about it and read some comments from other Sharks fans. There are some people who think that this is a bad signing. That Niemi was a product of the Blackhawks defensive system. I tend to disagree.

I do agree that a good defense will make a marginal goaltender good and a good goaltender great. That's what makes the Niemi signing a good thing. Neimi is a very good goaltender in his own right. Without this signing, the Sharks were going to be faced with the choice between Niittymaki and Greiss, two goaltenders who had one good season as an NHL starter and very little NHL experience period respectively. Niemi, the #1 goaltender going into traing camp, brings solid play and a ton of playoff experience.

True, Niemi was a huge breakout rookie last season and could be poised for a huge dropoff. Still, the Sharks needed to do something unless they truly were rebuilding. Honestly, I think the Sharks could do with a little rebuilding. That's what makes the Niemi signing a little disturbing.

The signing of Niemi causes a bit of a domino effect that could be more damaging long term than it helps short term. Unless someone has a killer camp, Greiss will end up back in Worcester. That leaves one spot for three goaltenders who need playing time. If Tyson Sexsmith, Alex Staylock, or Harri Sateri are going to be the future in net, they all need significant playing time in the AHL. Something they are not going to get backing up Greiss.

There has to be another move yet. Greiss or Niittymaki may be heading out of San Jose. If not, I think that, while the Niemi signing will help the Sharks this year, may be the final nail in the coffin of Doug Wilson's GM career.

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