Signing Marty Turco is sheer brilliance.
The Blackhawks signed a goalie who might be better than the man he's replacing; a player who's desperate to hoist the Cup; and they did it for less than half of Niemi's price (and only a one-year commitment).
Antii Niemi has an indelible spot in Chicago sports lore for being the backstop to lead the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup in 49 years. But even if the team agreed to the $2.75 million arbitration award -- which they could have theoretically fit under the cap -- an array of moves still would have to be made going forward that would make the 2011 Cup defense far harder.
Remember, teams have to ice 18 skaters and two goalies every night. If you exclude Huet and add Turco, the Blackhawks only have 11 forwards, five defensemen and one goalie on their NHL depth chart. They still have to bring in a minimum of three more players on the cap.
The Blackhawks never wanted to part with Niemi. So the boys on Madison turned a tough choice into a shrewd decision.