Blackhawks Sign Marty Turco, Antti Niemi Free Agent

The Chicago Blackhawks have signed veteran goalie Marty Turco to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million, and have decided to part ways with goalie Antti Niemi, who assisted them in winning the Stanley Cup this year.

“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.

“We’re very excited that we agreed to a one-year contract with three-time All-Star Marty Turco. Marty has an accomplished record in the league, and he’s going to complement our team. I know he’s hungry for a Stanley Cup, and we’re hungry to defend the Stanley Cup.”

Niemi’s agent Bill Zito says a multiyear contract was never offered, despite the claim Bowman made.

“We discussed some numbers, but did not really get off them in so far as structuring a specific multiyear offer,” Zito said. “It was more of a general conversation surrounding limitations placed on [Bowman] by the cap. But there is no drama there, what could we do? “We always knew this would be a risk, and anytime you file for arbitration, in this climate, we knew this could be a possibility — so we live with our decisions.”

Niemi is said to be very disappointed by the decision.

Marty Turco, on the other hand, is pleased and surprised by the opportunity.

“We were a little bit surprised [to get this opportunity],” Turco said. “I said earlier about the desire to play for [the Blackhawks] before the playoffs even began. When they won, I assumed the opportunity was erased.

“I’m more than excited to help Chicago do what they want to do, which is [defend] the Stanley Cup. It’s been almost a dream come true to play for an Original Six team, especially one with [the number of] Tony Esposito, who’s from my hometown [Saul Ste. Marie, Ontario], up in the rafters. It’s an amazing day for my family and me to become a Blackhawk.”

Antti Niemi is now a free agent.

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