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Marty Turco Could Sign Within A Week; Chicago His Destination?

Marty Turco of the Chicago Blackhawks?
Marty Turco of the Chicago Blackhawks?

Last night, Richard Durrett over at ESPN Dallas had a quick but very important note from Marty Turco's agent:

"We hope to have something resolved in 7 to 10 days," Overhardt said. "He's going to play with a contending team."

"He wants to play for a big-time contender in a great hockey city. It could be done by the end of the week, or it could be two weeks. Nothing is certain."

His agent certainly sounds confident Turco is going to be signing somewhere soon and he's very likely to come at a very, very good price for whichever team is able to sign him. Turco initially turned down a decent, $2 million a season (or thereabouts) offer from the Philadelphia Flyers just prior to free agency starting as he likely thought he was a) worth more than that and b) able to get more on the open market.

As it turned out, $2 million a season would have been the most lucrative contract signed by a free agent goaltender.

Since then, Turco has had to bide his time and wait for one of the few teams in need of a goaltender attempt to work out the salary cap issues. The Philadelphia Flyers are presumably still in need, but seriously lacking cap room and appear prepared to move forward with Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher in net once more.

The next team that could be a logical destination for Turco would be the Chicago Blackhawks. The whole "big-time contender in a great hockey city" really narrows down the options. His signing with Chicago is tied directly to the team's arbitration hearing with Antti Niemi, which is scheduled for tomorrow.

Niemi, a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender, is likely going to be hoping for more than Turco would ask for. If the arbitrator's decision is for a salary greater than what the Hawks feel they could sign Turco for, then we could likely see Chicago pass on that decision and sign Turco over Niemi.

It appears the Marty Turco is poised to sign with Chicago as soon as a decision by Chicago is made regarding Antti Niemi. If the Hawks decide the arbitrator's decision is fair, then it will be very interesting to see what will happen next for Turco. The way his agent is talking, it certainly seems that they are confident he'll be signing somewhere within the next week or so.

From ESPN Chicago, here's the rundown of what can happen with this arbitration hearing.

A decision by the arbitrator has to be made within 48 hours of the close of the hearing. The award will be for a one-year contract. The Hawks then have 48 hours to accept the arbitrator's decision or "walk away" from it, making Niemi an unrestricted free agent immediately.

If the Hawks accept the decision, Niemi is immediately under contract for the salary, but he will be eligible to be traded. Niemi also can be traded before the arbitration hearing on Thursday.

So, it appears that Turco will likely end up with a contending team with a very solid defense in front of him. Good for Marty, and I'll root him on just as hard as I ever have.

By the way, when was the last time that the two teams that just appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals spend the summer trying to solve a big goaltending issue over the summer?