Hawks GM Stan Bowman traded recently added veteran center Marty Reasoner to the Florida Panthers this afternoon in exchange for center Jeff Taffe.
Today's news frees up more space on the payroll for Bowman to now offer free agent goalie Antti Niemi.
Reasoner was set to earn $1.15 million this upcoming season, while Taffe will only take in $550,000. This reportedly puts the Hawks at $138,000 under the NHL salary cap. This is good news for all Hawk fans. At this point, retaining as much of the core of the Cup-winning team is the only priority.
Rest assured that Bowman will indeed use take the money freed up by this move and throw it directly towards Niemi. With the GMs word that winger Patrick Sharp will be sticking around, Niemi remains the prime target for the Hawks to retain.
While the team may be able to win a Stanley Cup with a number of the league's available goalies, the Hawks are surely comfortable playing in front of Niemi. Furthermore, it seems only reasonable to assume that the chemistry between Niemi and his teammates will only grow, and that Niemi himself may easily improve and to become an even better goalie.
Only time will tell, but, for the time being, I'm happier with my Hawk roster if Niemi is planted between the pipes- that Foley call is just too good to let go.