BLACKHAWKS WALK AWAY FROM NIEMI; SIGN TURCO TO ONE-YEAR DEAL

The Chicago Blackhawks have walked away from the $2.75 million contract that was awarded to Antti Niemi in arbitration, which makes the Stanley Cup-winning goalie an unrestricted free agent.

Instead, the Blackhawks have signed veteran netminder Marty Turco to a one-year, $1.3 million contract.


The team confirmed the goalie shuffle in a conference call on Monday.

Niemi beat out Cristobal Huet for the number one job in Chicago and ended up leading the team to its first championship since 1961. The 26-year old Finnish netminder went 26-7-4 with seven shutouts in 39 regular season games, and then 16-6 in the playoffs with a 2.63 GAA and a .910 save percentage.

Niemi is the latest member of the Stanley Cup winners to be let go in the off-season by a Chicago club that is under a salary cap crunch. Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, Kris Versteeg, and now Niemi will all be with new teams this season.

Niemi is also the first goalie to win a Stanley Cup and then depart for a new team since Nikolai Khabibulin left Tampa Bay for Chicago after the Lightning won the title in 2004.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=329318