The Dallas Stars solidified their goaltending situation Saturday, swapping a seventh round pick for pending unrestricted free agent Antti Niemi.
Niemi is free to test the market on July 1, but it appears he’s close to a multi-year deal with Dallas.
Dallas already close to a a two- or three-year deal with Antti Niemi in the neighborhood of $4 million a year.
— Ken Campbell (@THNKenCampbell) June 27, 2015
Dallas — assuming the deal is finalized — now has it’s Finnish goalie tandem set for at least the next two seasons.
Khari Lehtonen has three years left on his contract. He and Niemi should both benefit physically — less wear and tear on 31-year-old bodies — by platooning rather than manning the net 60-plus games a season.
It’s a development that has clouded Jack Campbell’s future with Dallas.
While it was always unlikely, it’s now a certainty (barring something unforeseen) Campbell won’t have a chance to make the NHL roster out of training camp.
Campbell recently signed a one-year contract with Dallas and it’s a deal seemingly designed to give the goalie a tryout-style 2015-16 season.
The Texas Stars will likely sign another AHL-level goalie, but Campbell should be in a position to play at least 40 games and general manager Scott White has said “it’s going to be a big year,” for the former first-round pick.
And a “big year” could mean a couple things.
On one hand, Campbell could impress enough to somehow work himself into Dallas’ plans. Another injury or struggle-plagued season, however, would make it easy for Dallas to let Campbell walk in free agency next summer.
On the flip side, Niemi’s signing could be a positive development for Phillippe Desrosiers.
The 19-year-old has been given a two or three-year buffer before his name even jumps into the NHL conversation.
Desrosiers was named the CHL goalie of the year and played for the Memorial Cup with Rimouski Oceanic in the QMJHL this past season. He is expected to start the season in the ECHL with the Idaho Steelheads, where Dallas hopes to have him carry a heavy workload.