8.01.2010

Turco To Hawks? Dallas Should Take Niemi

Ok, so according to WGNTV and a crapload of tweets, Marty Turco has signed with Chicago for $1.75M for a year. This comes not long after Niemi gets his arbitration award, which was a perfectly reasonable $2.75M.

What the **** is Chicago thinking right now?

There is an INSANELY obvious money-saving solution waiting for them—dump Cristobal Huet and his over-paid back-up role in the AHL, take a tandem of Niemi and Corey Crawford all the way to another Stanley Cup title and somewhere along the way dump the Brian Campbell contract. They'd keep a future star goaltender (or a future Cam Ward, says the cynic in me), avoid most of their cap issues, and keep a solid core of the roster.

Instead, they make an offer to Marty Turco, who I highly respect, but I have to say he's got a lot less going for him. Niemi is younger, probably more talented, and has a Cup ring before he's anywhere close to hitting his prime as a netminder. Sure, Turco signed for less money, but with less payment comes a poorer product. Turco can definitely give them a solid regular season and get them into the playoffs–however, what happens once the playoffs role around? Turco will inevitably falter, and the Hawks will have to desperately hope that one of Crawford or Huet can replicate Niemi's playoff run. Which is HIGHLY unlikely.

Mr. Nieuwendyk. I know I criticized you earlier for letting go of Turk, but this is your big chance. Throw a TON of money at Niemi with, say, anywhere from 2 to 5 years on the contract, and take advantage of the Hawks mistake while letting them have, for a lack of a funnier term, our sloppy seconds worth of Turco. Seriously, even if it means dropping Raycroft or Lehtonen to the minors (which needs to happen anyways, really), this deal would SO be worth it. Niemi is going to be a star (or at least as good as Cam Ward, who seems to have relapses of stardom every now and then) and the Hawks are making the worst possible decision if they let him go in favor of Turco. Take advantage of it and I will take back any criticism I've ever given to you.


On another note, I have to point out that there is absolutely no way that the Hawks could keep any combination of Turco, Niemi, and Huet. Not only would none of those guys be happy in a back-up role, but you've also got a very impatient Corey Crawford in the AHL who needs a full-time role. If I were Chicago, I'd drop all Turco rumors (at this moment being dismissed by Hawks sources and TheFourthPeriod as inaccurate), shove Huet into the AHL and maybe even trade him, and then go with Niemi/Crawford as a beastly goalie tandem.


At this very moment though, lots of new reports saying Dan Roan of WGNTV was the only guy apparently aware of any deal going on between Turco and Chicago. Several tweets from legit sources were out there right after, but all cited WGNTV as where they heard it. So it's actually pretty likely that there's no Turco deal, and he's still a UFA. For the sake of theory, though, I'm publishing this post.

4 comments:

Alexandre Giesbrecht said...

The problem in Chicago is that, despite the Cup, the team is deeply in Red. It can hardly afford sending Huet to the minors (although I think it eventually will have to). And Niemi, cheap as he might be with a US$ 2,75M salary, got a little overrated because of the Cup. He was barely a factor, just played ok.

Hockeyfreek22 said...

Interesting that you think Niemi was overrated; I've heard from a lot of Hawks fans that Niemi to Turco is a huge downgrade. Still, you could be right, we'll see how each one does on a new team.

As far as Huet, he has to either go to the minors or Europe, otherwise the Hawks won't be able to afford another defenseman and won't be able to ice a full team. I'm just surprised they didn't move Huet to the minors earlier to attempt to keep some of the other players they had to let go, as Huet was more expensive than several of those other players.

Alexandre Giesbrecht said...

Well, Niemi at least won a Cup, which Turco couldn't even get a sniff at. But I still think Niemi had less to do it than any previous goaltender on Cup teams at least over the past decade (and yes, I'm including Osgood's 2008 campaign). Quick, name a decisive, game-altering save Niemi made during last septentrional Spring. That's my whole point.

He's not a liability, though, far from it.

As for Huet, what I hear is that the problem is not the Cap, rather than money, pure and simple. Sending him to the minors would artificially bolster their Cap by his not-modest salary, but the Hawks can barely afford the regular Cap for what I hear.

Hockeyfreek22 said...

True. Though considering the struggling goalie UFA market, I won't be surprised to see it take until some point in September for Niemi to be signed by another team, or for Chicago to find a team to trade him to if they decide to take that route.

The Hawks appear destined for the same road that the Stars have fallen down- The team enjoys success (mostly) and isn't an unattractive UFA destination, but due to a lack of money, the team can't sign even a semi-high profile free agent.