Turco may be better option for Blackhawks, regardless of Niemi ruling

As we all wait nervously for the announcement of Antti Niemi's arbitration ruling this afternoon, rumors of a deal for another goaltender surfaced yesterday afternoon.

The Score in Canada, along with other hockey sources, said that the Blackhawks have a one year, $1.5 million contract agreed to with former Stars goalie Marty Turco, should the Hawks be forced to walk away from Antti Niemi.

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Niemi's camp is said to be asking for $4 million, while the Hawks camp
is said to be asking $2 million.  Both sides know their respective
numbers are unrealistic.  The ruling will likely be in the middle, so
let's call it $3 million.  That is far too high of a number for the
Hawks to take on.  Should the Hawks "win" the ruling with a number like,
say, $2.5 million, I think Niemi stays, but is that the right move?

While it's clear that Niemi has MUCH more upside than Turco, and is probably a better goalie at this point, he's not Patrick Roy.  In my opinion, signing Turco to the rumored $1.5 million, and adding a defenseman in the mold of Jay McKee or Mike Mottau will put the Hawks in a better position to compete. 

The Hawks #5 and #6 defensive spots are up in the air.  Some combination of Jordan Hendry, John Scott, Ivan Vishnevskiy, and Shawn Lalonde will make up those spots at this point.  To me, that's not good enough for a cup contender.  The addition of a steady stay at home defenseman to fill in Brent Sopel's #5 role is important, but can't happen if Niemi stays. 

Losing Niemi would be another tough loss for Hawk fans, who have already seen Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien, Adam Burish, Ben Eager, Andrew Ladd, Brent Sopel, Colin Fraser and John Madden leave this summer, but Stan Bowman has been cold and businesslike this entire offseason.  I'm sure he will do the same here. 

To me, the right move is signing Turco and a defenseman.  Let's see if Stan Bowman agrees.

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  • I like this logic Jay, but I still disagree. This team seems to have a window of opportunity here to win multiple championships. For now, let's call it 5 years. I would love to have Niemi on board the whole way as he has already proven he can win and make BIG saves in BIG moments.

    I like Turco, but if you sign him for one year, then what? I'd rather not have a yearly goaltending rotation.

    Then again, the whole "goalies don't matter" thing worked for Detroit, so we'll see.

  • In reply to Jtalarico328:

    The problem is Niemi would only be a 1-year goalie should he return.

    About the only way Niemi stays for multiple seasons is if the Hawks let Seabrook leave as a RFA after the season and hope Niemi would take a cap-friendly deal. The other hail-mary move would be to trade Campbell, but they'd surely have to take some salary back in the process.

    On the surface though, I agree, I'd like to keep Niemi for a while.

  • A one year contract for Turco means Crawford will have one more year to get ready. I will stay say that at this time there are no teams out there that can beat these Hawks 4 times in a 7 game series, nobody can skate with this team.

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