Dallas Stars Daily Links: Antti Niemi, a Technically Possible Stars Backup

Antti Niemi will be a free agent, and there's at least one person who thinks he should be a Dallas Stars next season. Also, Ovechkin continues playing hockey, and the Golden Seals continue to be talked about

Friday Links here, everybody! Let me first greet you with the greatest TV opening theme ever:


Okay, now to the hockey business. First, you know that Jhonas Enroth might not come back to Dallas, right? Well, he might, but since the Stars haven't locked him up yet with July 1st not slowly approaching, it's natural to turn one's gaze elsewhere in search of that next precious baseball cap-wearing backup who will actually be able to push Kari Lehtonen. And we are not talking about when he's just foolin' around in a shopping cart, either.

Exhibit A: Speculation

Antti Niemi — Goaltender

In five years with the Sharks, Niemi has posted a respectable .917 save percentage with a 2.40 goals against average. He’s the most experienced NHL goaltender available in this year’s class, and that alone should cause teams to overlook is issues with rebound control and consistency. He’s going to command over $4 million per year on the market, and a team with desperate needs in net will give him that.

Old Team: San Jose Sharks
New Team: Dallas Stars

[Hockey Writers]

Now, that's a little presumptuous, wouldn't you say? Should the above take place, the Stars would essentially be paying $10 million to two 30+ goalies next year. Sure, Niemi's been pretty steady over his career, but a goalie that can command ~$4 million per year usually won't be satisfied with backing up Mr. 65 GP on a short-term contract. This is a cup-winning goalie who has played for the Hawks and the (dominant until this year) Sharks. Can you really convince him to draw in as a #2 even if you are willing to throw $10 mil into the crease?

That said...lookie here:

Surely this is the polar opposite of the Stars' recent history with backups. No longer would they be trying a reclamation project, a young "maybe," or even a "twilight of his career" netminder who used to be elite. They would be getting a goalie who, in a lot of ways, can do everything Kari Lehtonen has done so far, plus win in the playoffs if things start to go south.

The sobering thing, though, is that the Stars just might not be able to get a goalie like this. Niemi will command a decent bit of term and money and demand significant ice time. The Stars might be able to swing the former, but they almost certainly can't give him the latter right out of the gate. But as I say that, I suddenly realize that investing games and funds in someone like Niemi would be as exact a definition for "pushing Kari" as you can get. It sure sends a message, right? So, if you think that's what gets Kari to the next level in the end, maybe you give Niemi a call after all. Two goalies on the north side of 30 both signed to multi-year contracts? Hey, what could go wrong!

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Fun Tale Spin fact: it was based on the Miyazaki manga Hikōtei Jidai, which in turn was adapted into the fabulous Miyazaki film Porco Rosso, which itself seems to take many cues from the Tale Spin series. They do not make them like they used to. ("On the Dis-ney aft-er-noon!")

World Championship summary: Seguin and Spezza keep scoring because Canada is insanely stacked, and Jaromir Jagr is still, still really good. Also, Klingberg potted another goal (see below). [Stars]

No, really, Seguin scored a lotta goals. He does this, you may recall. [DMN]

Jason Spezza is leading the entire IIHF tournament in points. Seguin is tied for the league in goals. [NHL]

However, Alex Ovechkin will be joining Russia soon, so who knows where the eventual golden puck trophy or whatever it's called will end up. [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

Tough news for Ottawa yesterday as owner Eugene Melnyk is in urgent need of a liver transplant. The team is making a public appeal for any possible donors to step forward. You could be one of them. [Senators]

Don't gamble on the Conference Finals, dummy. They're too close to call. On an unrelated note, I will go make my predictions right now. [TSN]

Corey Perry missed practice, but he won't be benched for it. I guess he's hurt or something, I dunno. [NHL]

I love the California Golden Seals franchise's history, so this upcoming documentary is just tantalizing. [Puck Daddy]

Even the Discovery Channel is getting in on the Twitter trolling game the Stars learned years ago. Nice burn on the Penguins here. [ESPN]

Here's more info on General Fanager, the latest (and possibly best, thus far) CapGeek replacement. [Puck Daddy]

Finally, John Klingberg may be out of the tournament after Sweden's loss yesterday, but he will take home some nice memories. Here's his goal from the losing effort yesterday: