The Pittsburgh Penguins put their back up goalie Antti Niemi on waivers after three straight poor performances that was just topped off by giving up 7 goals to Tampa on Saturday. It was not all Niemi in those games, but he has been very bad in every start and the Organization decided a move was in order.
By putting him on waivers, they have an opportunity to work with him when he gets to the minors because there is little chance he gets picked up after those performances. Niemi has shown very little with regards to positive improvement from game to game. He struggles with rebound control and pucks evade his glove hand with extreme regularity.
I can tell you that I have been screaming for this since his first start and the Pens fan base echo’d those screams. It did not take long for the organization to make that move.
Mike Sullivan said the Plan is to put “Niemi on Waivers, if he makes it through then he will head to the minors and work on his game.” He also said when they were signing Niemi, they knew they had two good young goalies (in the minors) that they can work with.” They have not made a decision on what move as of yet with regards to who will be backing up Murray.
Sullivan also noted that the back up goalie role is not a perfect situation in those back to backs. The idea is to try to put those players in the best situation as possible. They know what their role is going into the situation so it should be no surprise to them.
I believe This is a message sent to the entire team in a sense that they are not going to put up with consistent poor performances from anyone regardless of contract situations.