LOS ANGELES -– The Sharks have four pending unrestricted free agents, none of whom has spent more time in teal than goaltender Antti Niemi.
The 31-year-old served as the backup for the team’s final game of the season in Los Angeles on Saturday. In 61 games, Niemi was 31-23-7 with a 2.59 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.
Niemi, the subject of several trade rumors around the deadline in early March, didn’t have much to say about his future with the Sharks.
When asked if he has any expectation about what will happen next, Niemi said: “Not really right now.”
Would he like to be back?
“Yeah, probably. Yeah.”
He didn’t express any disappointment at not playing in the final game. Niemi was in net for the penultimate game on Thursday in Edmonton, a 3-1 Sharks win.
“I played the previous game, so I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Niemi said.
In 338 career games with San Jose and Chicago, Niemi is 190-100-40 with a 2.39 GAA and .916 SP. He was signed by the Sharks as a free agent on Sep. 2, 2010.
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The Sharks' other pending unrestricted free agents are Matt Irwin, Scott Hannan and John Scott.
Irwin’s case is an interesting one, as the defenseman drastically turned around his game in the second half of the season. Todd McLellan complimented the 27-year-old on Saturday morning.
“He spent a lot of time working in his skating in the first half, and I think it paid off in the second half,” said the coach.
Irwin has now completed the second year of a two-year, $2 million contract signed on April 3, 2013. The undrafted British Columbia native was originally signed as a free agent on March 23, 2010.