Pittsburgh Penguins: What Antti Niemi Could Bring to Pittsburgh

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 08: Antti Niemi
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 08: Antti Niemi /

On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed goaltender Antti Niemi to a one-year contract.

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed Antti Niemi to a one-year, $700,000 after he was bought out by the Dallas Stars earlier this week.

Now I wrote about the possibility of signing Niemi earlier this week. Some thought this wouldn’t work out or wouldn’t happen. Well look what we have now.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins /

Pittsburgh Penguins

Either way, I think the Niemi signing is a solid decision for the Penguins. Why? Well there are pros and cons to it.

Cheap Backup With Experience

We just signed a great goalie in Niemi. He is experienced, which I think is what we keep forgetting. Niemi helped bring the Chicago Blackhawks their first Stanley Cup. He may not have been the best goalie, but behind an exceptional team he can be enough.

He didn’t have an exceptional team in front of him in San Jose and definitely not in Dallas. But he might get what he had in Chicago over here in Pittsburgh.

We are back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. Niemi’s experience can be more valuable than we think.

Starter Abilities

Let’s not forget that Niemi was a starter on every team he’s played for. In Chicago and San Jose, he was more than solid and was able to help both teams go deep in the playoffs and/or win the Stanley Cup.

Once he hit Dallas, he may have had a significant drop off in his performance, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a solid goaltender. At 33 years of age, his starter abilities can still transcend well as a backup. In fact, he might fit the Penguins needs perfectly for a backup goaltender.

In the end, I think this signing brings a seasoned veteran with a great amount of skill to back the young Matt Murray up. He doesn’t need the pressures of a starter like he used to, and this might help him perform better when he does start.