Blackhawks Top 100- #67 Antti Niemi

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Apr 22, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) reacts during game three of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We’re heading into the dog days of the offseason, counting the days until the Chicago Blackhawks 2014 Season kicks off. We’re going to do a Top 100 list of all time Chicago Blackhawks. It’s a fun way to pass the time and take a stroll down Memory Lane

Antti Niemi Blackhawks career-2008-2010

Games-47

Wins-27

Losses-8

OTL-5

Goals Against Average-2.32

Save Percentage-9.10

Shutouts-7

Playoffs

Wins-16

Losses-6

Goals Against Average-2.63

Save Percentage- 9.10

Shutouts-2

We all know why Niemi lands on the all-time list of Blackhawks, and it’s not because he ranks 16th all-time in regular season wins by a Chicago Blackhawks goalie.  Niemi wasn’t even suppose to be the goalie to lead the Blackhawks into the 2010 playoffs, it was to be Cristobal Huet but again we know how the Huet story ended which was at the end of the bench as a spectator.

Niemi took over the reigns from Huet midway through the season and never looked back. Niemi was exactly what the 2010 Blackhawks needed which wasn’t a superstar goalie but  just the guy that stopped everything he should stop, and with Quenneville’s defense Niemi was a solid backstop for Chicago.

The Blackhawks hadn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1961 with Glenn Hall in net and it was of all people Antti Niemi that helped lead the Hawks back to the Cup.

Niemi wasn’t a Blackhawk very long because the Hawks were well over the salary cap and the San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson put Stan Bowman to the test and basically made him choose between Niemi and Niklas Hjalmarsson.  In the end Bowman made the right choice but at the time it didn’t feel right saying goodbye to the goalie that ended the 49 year old dry spell.

What’s your favorite memory of Niemi? What do you think too low or too high for Niemi in our all-time list?

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