Sharks trade Antti Niemi to Stars for draft pick

Antti Niemi was traded to the Stars on Day 2 of the NHL Draft. (USATSI)
Antti Niemi was traded to the Stars on Day 2 of the NHL Draft. (USATSI)

The San Jose Sharks traded goaltender Antti Niemi to the Dallas Stars for the 193rd pick in the draft. The veteran goaltender is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, so there’s no guarantee he’ll end up with Dallas.

Niemi has been a starter over his career, but the Stars also have fellow Finn Kari Lehtonen as their No. 1. This may be a move to put a little pressure on Lehtonen, who did not have a great season. Niemi is also a nice safety net if Lehtonen’s struggles continue, but that’s only if he signs.

It only cost Dallas a seventh-round pick, so it’s not exactly a huge sacrifice for Niemi’s negotiating rights. If they can’t get a deal done, they lose a pick that has a very low likelihood to turn into an NHL player down the line.

Niemi has had two consecutive years below his career average save percentage after finishing as a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2012-13. In 61 games with San Jose last year, Niemi had a .914 save percentage, went 31-23-7 and had a 2.59 goals-against average as the Sharks failed to make the playoffs for the first time in a decade. He's still valuable for the right price on his next contract.

Unless the Sharks plan to roll with Alex Stalock, it would appear they’re going to have to go after a goalie either via trade or via free agency. At the very least they got something out of a player that they probably weren’t going to sign.

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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