Could Niemi end up in Columbus?
The Columbus Blue Jackets are ready to move on from Steve Mason. Could Antti Niemi be the answer?
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said:
“We need a different look in goal. We need better play from that position. I told Steve in our exit interviews (earlier this month) that we’re going to have a different look at that position next year, but that right now, nobody can predict what form that’s going to take.”
Niemi, a former Stanley Cup winner in 2010 with Chicago, posted a 34-22-9 record, 2.42 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 68 games with the Sharks this season. They are respectable numbers, but Niemi had a tendency to let some bad goals down the stretch and in the playoffs.
A shot he should have stopped early in the Game 2 by Vladimir Sobotka, that Marc-Edouard Vlasic subsequently put into his own net after it trickled through Niemi, may have been the turning point in the five-game first round series loss to St. Louis.