While the story obviously is in development, the NHL arbitrator recently awarded Antti Niemi and his agent Bill Zito the amount of $2,750,000.
A night after many Chicago Blackhawks contingent announced a one-year, $1.5 million contract for Marty Turco, pending the ruling of this decision, it is a look into what direction the Blackhawks may go.
Now that the ruling has been made, the Blackhawks have a few options.
The first, and most obvious, being sign the Stanely Cup netminder and figure out a way to make him fit. Many have mentioned names as Tomas Kopecky who could allow for more room, but nothing has really developed.
Then there is Patrick Sharp.
Stan Bowman, Blackhawks General Manager, has announced that he is going nowhere. With the Blackhawks being extremely thin at center, it really leaves little option.
The option of sign and trade or release could be likely.
Should the Blackhawks choose to accept the arbitrator it most likely be to obtain the rights to trade Niemi.
While this may work in the Hawks best interests, there are teams asking about acquiring Niemi.
Remaining that the Blackhawks are still very salary cap tight, the compensation would not be immense. The expectations at that may be a role player and a possible draft pick.
This leaves us with the doom of the situation.
Letting Niemi and Zito, perhaps the most hated man in Chicago, go on there way.
Fans and teammates have seemed to grown a bond with the goaltender. Not surprisingly, the fans were impatient a season ago when there success was being relied upon the likes of Cristobal Huet.
Would fans despise Niemi should this happen?
He did play a part in bringing them back to the level that they had been longing to be at for almost half of a century.
Undeniably fans would relish in the failure of any team Niemi would go to.
While any step made with the future of the goaltender position would almost seem as a sidestep.
The Blackhawks have been strategically rebuilt for success and regardless of any criticism, the organization has continued to show commitment to winning.