This upcoming season the Chicago Blackhawks, the NHL defending champions, are the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you like to bet on hockey, NHL futures odds for the team are 11/2. However, their future doesn’t look as bright as it once did. Several of the team’s best players have been let go, including Hust who was given his walking papers last week. Anttti Niemi, the Blackhawk’s starter at goalie was released due to salary cap issues.
The Antti release was all about money. The goalie was awarded a whopping $2.75 judgment against the team by an arbitrator over the weekend. The Blackhawks subsequently had three choices, trade Antti, allow him to become a restricted free agent or accept the judgment. They chose to let him go. Cristobal Huet will also likely be gone by next year. His salary is just too big. The team is reportedly going to go with Marty Turco, formerly of the Dallas Stars. He signed a one year for $1.3 million.
Turco, however, is getting older. He turns 35 this year. Last season was a pretty average one for him. He had a record of 22-20-11. He had 4 shutouts and a .912 save percentage. Courted by Philadelphia earlier this year, he turned down a $2 million contract offer from that team.
Niemi, in contrast, had an excellent season last year, going 26-7-4. He had a 2.25 goals-against-average, 7 shutouts and a 9.12 save percentage. At the beginning of the season, he backed-up Huet but was placed in the starting role prior to the team’s push for the Stanley Cup, where he went 16-6 with a .912 save percentage and 2.63 GAA during the playoff stretch.
The General Manager (GM) for the Chicago Blackhawks, Stan Bowman, claims that the team is done getting rid of players in order to get under the salary cap. He has stated that the only moves the team is looking to make from here-on-out involve adding a defenseman.
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