'Hawks decision on Niemi coming Saturday

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:53 PM ET

Chicago general manager Stan Bowman expects to hear Saturday whether he'll have goaltender Antii Niemi back this season.

Niemi, a restricted free agent, had his arbitration hearing on Thursday. A decision on what salary the arbitrator will award in a one-year contract will come Saturday and salary cap-strapped Chicago will have 48 hours to accept or walk away from the ruling.

Bowman was unable to agree to terms on a contract with the 26-year-old Finnish netminder, who backstopped the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup title in 49 years last spring.

“To be simple, it will depend on what the number is,” Bowman told NHL.com. “I'm not going to get into the dollar amount. Our cap situation is tight. Depending on where it is, it will drive the boat.”

"Of course it would be a loss, but the nature of sports is that change does happen. My job is to try and find a way to make things work if that's a necessity. You kind of have to embrace change and realize it's an opportunity for somebody else."


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