Dallas Stars’ Commitment to Antti Niemi Seems an Unnecessary Risk

June 29th, 2015 by Dave Lozo Leave a reply »

The logic is sound. The motivation is obvious. Heck, the contract isn't even a bad one.

The Dallas Stars will spend $13.5 million over the next three seasons for the services of Antti Niemi, a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender with above-average numbers during his career. One season ago, Kari Lehtonen posted a disappointing .903 save percentage in 65 games, some of which he played while injured out of necessity, as the team lacked a capable backup.

Stars general manager Jim Nill addressed the issue Monday by signing Niemi, yet it comes at a steep cost to the overall team.

The Stars have allocated $10.4 million of their salary cap to goaltenders over each of the next three years, the biggest number in the league.

Nill's thinking is this: He has bargain contracts throughout his lineup, which affords him the cap room to patch a hole he tried to patch in the past with unproven (Anders Lindback) or older (Tim Thomas) goaltenders who failed to do the job.

Niemi is 31 years old, and his save percentages have ranged between .912 and .924 over his past six seasons.

Lehtonen is also 31 years old ...

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