NHL News: Chicago Blackhawks Refuse Arbitration Ruling On Goaltender Antti Niemi

The move makes Antti Niemi an unrestricted free agent.

Niemi and the Hawks went to arbitration and Niemi was awarded a $2.75 million salary that the Hawks had 48 hours to accept, the deadline was Monday and the team decided not to bring the goalie back and instead signed veteran goalie Marty Turco.

“We made several contract offers, including a multiyear offer, and we were never able to work it out,” Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. “We decided to go in another direction.”

The other direction was signing three time All-Star Marty Turco to a one-year $1.3 million deal.

Niemi now becomes the hottest name on the Free-Agent market, a 26-year-old goalie coming off a Stanley Cup Championship. He could easily top the $2.75 million he was awarded in arbitration.

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