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Hockeytown0001

Antti Niemi files for arbitration

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While other salary arbitration filings have gone down today, one of the more interesting filings today was done by Chicago's Stanley Cup winning goaltender Antti Niemi.

Niemi's Chicago-based agent Bill Zito, who confirmed the filing, and Hawks general manager Stan Bowman continue to discuss various opportunities for long-term and short-term deals.

A date for the arbitration hearing for a one-year deal is expected to be established in the next few weeks.

Arbitration is an interesting situation when it happens in hockey dealings. While it's a bit of a more sensible thing when it happens in Major League Baseball, the NHL process has a reputation for being cutthroat and nasty. For instance, there's a bit of a legendary story dating back to the late 90s when it comes to the past dealings of former Isles general manager Mike Milbury going through arbitration with one-time netminder Tommy Salo.

Islanders G.M. Mike Milbury, as only Mad Mike can do, spewed vitriol against his budding goalie. In Milbury's mind, Salo's mental approach was suspect, and he was in danger of losing his job to a rookie the next season. Milbury also said Salo was one of the worst-conditioned athletes on the team, and his performance was inconsistent.

Salo was reduced to tears. He won 23 games the next season, but the relationship was never the same, and he was dealt to the Oilers in March 1999.

That's not to say that other general managers are as rough and nasty as Milbury when it comes to arbitration, but the NHL process basically asks for the general manager to make arguments as to why he shouldn't pay the player what the player is asking for. It's a bad scene because you're just asking for problems in the future when it comes to contract negotiations. By the way, the rookie that Salo was in danger of eventually losing his job to? 1997 first-round pick Roberto Luongo, who Milbury later traded to the Florida Panthers to make room to draft Rick DiPietro first overall in the 2000 NHL draft.

Obviously, Chicago GM Stan Bowman figures to be a bit more savvy than Mad Mike was and expecting Niemi and Bowman to go to arbitration might be perilous either way. Chicago could argue that the free agent goalie market dictates that Niemi shouldn't get a huge contract because no elite goaltender has signed a contract and the ones that have signed for very reasonable deals (like Michael Leighton did).

Niemi can counter right back saying that he's the only goalie this off-season that won the Stanley Cup last year and that he's at least worth more and is more valuable than the other goalie on the roster in Cristobal Huet. Should it come to that, the Blackhawks had better hope that the judge doesn't know much about hockey or else you can back the Brinks truck up at Antti Niemi's house.

Chicago, in the meantime, should be trying to get Niemi locked away for a long-term deal of some variety. Should they only sign him to a one-year deal, Niemi is set to become an unrestricted free agent next year because he'll be 27 years-old then.

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Niemi can counter right back saying that he's the only goalie this off-season that won the Stanley Cup last year and that he's at least worth more and is more valuable than the other goalie on the roster in Cristobal Huet. Should it come to that, the Blackhawks had better hope that the judge doesn't know much about hockey or else you can back the Brinks truck up at Antti Niemi's house

lol......

looks like more cuts are coming if the Hawks want to keep Hjalmarsson and Niemi.

BTW reading that also reminded me how much of a incompetent moron Milbury is lol.

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Also of note - When a player with RFA status or team for that matter files for salary arbitration, I believe that other teams are not allowed to submit offer sheets for that player. While this has effectively blocked other teams from trying to screw Chicago, the arbitrator might do just as good a job or better. ;-)

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he is better than huet,if he convinces the arbitrator that it is easily gonna be higher than Chicago can afford, Hjalmarsson is also a solid dman that could get a decent raise.

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Chicago could argue that the free agent goalie market dictates that Niemi shouldn't get a huge contract because no elite goaltender has signed a contract and the ones that have signed for very reasonable deals (like Michael Leighton did).

Niemi will simply point to Huet's contract to make his case for a significant raise/contract.

"Look what Chicago is paying Crystal Ball Huet, I am worth at least 3 times that salary!"

Conclusion: Niemi better start clearing a path for the Brinks truck.

Edited by Heaten
miller76 likes this

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I cannot see how the Hawks can keep Niemi if he's awarded with anything more than $2.5 million per season?

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I guarantee they'll award him at least 2.5 million - say goodbye to at least another asset Chicago... and probably Hjalmarsson too... that Huet contract is REALLY screwing them by the day...

Edited by stevkrause

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How much can Niemi realistically command? I'd say no more than $2.5-3 million.

It'll depend on the arbitration commitee...Hard to say what they'll reward Niemi with?..Chances are it'll be a little on the high side.

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Will someone explain how the waiver rule applies to young players. I'm interested particularly in Skille's situation.

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The beauty of the Huet contract....it continues to find new ways to F*ck the Blackhawks. :D

This just about sums it up.:thumbup:

He goes to arbitration and all he says is: This is what they pay the backup goalie.

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Haha wheres that hawk fan now talking about how they don't need to lose anymore players hardly. Looks like we are going to get our wish of a completely ripped apart hawks team next year

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I feel bad for Stan Bowman, none of this was his doing and instead of being able to be a real GM and make moves to sign guys he wants/needs. He has to find away to get his team out from under ridiculous and stupid contracts, that some one else who couldn't even file paper work on time created.

I mean he knew what he was getting into when he signed on the dotted line,and it is hard to feel bad for a guy that just hoisted the cup, but his 4th best D-man and 3rd best Netminder eat up the most money at both of their positions.

They do still have a great top 2 d-men and top 4 forwards, but that hardly makes a team and he still needs to sign his Cup winning goalie!

Ouch!

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I wish I could be in the arbitration hearing with Niemi. Chicago trying to convince the arbitrator he sucks, and Niemi pointing at Huet and his contract! I love it.

I say no less than 3 million is awarded = Blackhawks f***ed!

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I feel bad for Stan Bowman, none of this was his doing and instead of being able to be a real GM and make moves to sign guys he wants/needs. He has to find away to get his team out from under ridiculous and stupid contracts, that some one else who couldn't even file paper work on time created.

I mean he knew what he was getting into when he signed on the dotted line,and it is hard to feel bad for a guy that just hoisted the cup, but his 4th best D-man and 3rd best Netminder eat up the most money at both of their positions.

They do still have a great top 2 d-men and top 4 forwards, but that hardly makes a team and he still needs to sign his Cup winning goalie!

Ouch!

Yeah and knowing how dumb hawks fans can be they'll probably all be calling for stan's head next season when the hawks are in the 6-8 spot for playoffs if they even make it. There isn't really anything Stan can do however besides what he is doing.

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I feel bad for Stan Bowman, none of this was his doing and instead of being able to be a real GM and make moves to sign guys he wants/needs. He has to find away to get his team out from under ridiculous and stupid contracts, that some one else who couldn't even file paper work on time created.

I can understand your reasoning, but I sure don't feel bad for him or the Hawks. As the Wings biggest rival, I don't care about anything bad that happens to them as a hockey team.

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The beauty of the Huet contract....it continues to find new ways to F*ck the Blackhawks. :D

Stan Bowman: We don't have to make anymore moves... :lol:

Original-Six likes this

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The beauty of the Huet contract....it continues to find new ways to F*ck the Blackhawks. :D

I doubt the arbitrators are stupid. They aren't going to base a contract off a player who is very obviously overpaid.

If it goes to arbitration, he'd likely get a fair market value plus a little premium as a Cup winner.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, they couldn't afford that either. :lol: Looking at the Halak deal, and Lehtonen and Rinne from earlier in the season (and probably at least one of Turco, Nabby, or Theodore will get a job) and I could easily see Niemi being awarded something in the $4M range.

If that happens, even dumping Huet in the minors doesn't likely give them enough to bring back Hjalmarsson (or any decent #4 d-man) and still fill in the rest of the roster. They need Niemi back at around $2.5 to avoid losing another big piece.

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I doubt the arbitrators are stupid. They aren't going to base a contract off a player who is very obviously overpaid.

If it goes to arbitration, he'd likely get a fair market value plus a little premium as a Cup winner.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, they couldn't afford that either. :lol: Looking at the Halak deal, and Lehtonen and Rinne from earlier in the season (and probably at least one of Turco, Nabby, or Theodore will get a job) and I could easily see Niemi being awarded something in the $4M range.

If that happens, even dumping Huet in the minors doesn't likely give them enough to bring back Hjalmarsson (or any decent #4 d-man) and still fill in the rest of the roster. They need Niemi back at around $2.5 to avoid losing another big piece.

No one's saying that, but its naive to think it truly wouldn't be thought of in a salary hearing.

Is Huet obviously overpaid: of course. Does that mean his salary is 100% irrelevant: absolutely not.

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NHL Salary Arbitration Explained

The evidence that can be used in arbitration cases:

# The player's "overall performance" including statistics in all previous seasons.

# Injuries, illnesses and the number of games played.

# The player's length of service with the team and in the NHL.

# The player's "overall contribution" to the team's success or failure.

# The player's "special qualities of leadership or public appeal."

# The performance and salary of any player alleged to be "comparable" to the player in the dispute.

Evidence that is not admissible:

# The salary and performance of a "comparable" player who signed a contract as an unrestricted free agent.

# Testimonials, video and media reports.

# The financial state of the team.

# The salary cap and the state of the team's payroll.

lol.....that sucks

Edited by Original-Six

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