When the Sharks signed on Antti Niemi at the beginning of September, they signed him to a 1-year deal for a trial season and now that we are into March, it appears that Niemi has passed his audition. The Sharks have signed Niemi to a 4-year contract extension, reported to be be worth $15.2 million, which will work out to a $3.8 million cap hit through the 2015 season.
How good has Niemi been for the Sharks this season? In 42 appearances this season, the Finnish netminder has picked up a record of 23-15-3 with 5 shutouts and 1 assist, giving him 57 points in the pool this season, ranking him 30th in pool scoring overall, 13th among all goalies. That's a pretty good year, then you tack on the Stanley Cup ring he earned last Spring, his number almost looks too low. A good signing for the Sharks.
With Niemi's signing, I have the Sharks 2012 cap number sitting at about $50.9 million for 13 regular players, not including some of their bubble players that yet to earn a full-time job with the club at the moment. The Sharks will have a number of free agents to look at from their roster, but it doesn't look like they'll have a great deal of space to sign all of them. If the 2011 salary cap ceiling applied, they would only have $8.5 million for eight to ten players. Not exactly the best shape in the league, at this point in time.