September 02, 2010

( - The San Jose Sharks announced on Wednesday morning that they have signed free agent goaltender Antti Niemi to a one year contract. According to team policy, the dollar amount of the deal was not revealed.

Niemi, 27, won the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks last season, but salary cap problems forced the team to trade or not re-sign several players, including Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, Adam Burish, John Madden, Colin Fraser and Ben Eager.

Niemi won a $2.75 million salary for next season in arbitration, but the Blackhawks let him go in favor of signing ex-Dallas Stars veteran Marty Turco.

During the 2009-10 regular season, Niemi had a 26-7-4 record in 39 games, with a .912 save percentage. His 2.25 goals-against average ranked fourth in the NHL, and he was third in the league with seven shutouts. In 22 postseason games, he was 16-6 with a 2.63 GAA, .910 save percentage and two shutouts.

"Antti's play last season speaks for itself," Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in the team's press release. "Our goal this summer was to create the best goaltending unit we could and we feel we have successfully done that."

After falling to the Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final, the Sharks did not re-sign their longtime starting goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov, who accepted a four-year deal deal with SKA St. Petersburg of Russia's KHL.

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