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Hjamlarsson vs Niemi - 3 Years Later

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06-07-2013, 10:05 AM
  #1
Recoil
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Hjamlarsson vs Niemi - 3 Years Later

A Shark's fan friend of mine poised a question to me before the onset of the playoffs this year. "Looking back to the summer of 2010 where Bowman had to decide between Hjalmarsson or Niemi to San Jose, and he picked Hjalmarsson, are you happy with the decision?"

The question was poised when there was still some fan concern of "Crawford or Emery" in the playoffs, and some doubted how Crow would play. Meanwhile, Niemi had been playing really solid for San Jose leading up to the playoffs (and even played well in the playoffs).

I told him at the time that if he asked me that question last year I'd have probably said I wish I had Niemi. I think Crow showed a LOT in the Vancouver series, where we came back from being down 0-3 in 2011, but that I felt he regressed a good amount in 2012. Also in 2012, Hammer's D was pretty good, but I felt he regressed a bit too, and had zero offensive ability.

However, as it stood when he asked, and as I think it stands now, I think Bowman definitely made the right choice. Niemi is still a solid goalie. But Crawford has really stepped up his game this season, and especially in the playoffs. Statistically, he may even be on par with Niemi. Meanwhile Hammer has been playing OUTSTANDING defense this season, raised his game even more in the playoffs, and is playing with a ton of focus and heart. This year, while not a scoring machine or a Puck Moving Defensemen, he has looked to score on occasions and made the right decisions. The "waived off" goal was fantastic against Detroit, and his shot last night led to Kane's (Bickell's) tying goal. He will never be an elite skater or scorer, but his defense is among the best in the NHL.

So in the end, I think we kept the right player who has developed into one of the league's best blue-liners, and Crawford has developed into a solid goalie to rival Niemi. IMO we got the best of both worlds.

Thoughts?

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06-07-2013, 10:12 AM
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Gurth
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Hindsight's 20:20, but obviously the right choice was made.

Fwiw, at the time, I wanted hJalms.


Niemi was good in the Cup run and is a solid goalie, but I still don't buy that he's elite.

Crawford's just as good at this point and if we get a Cup this year, he will be on equal if not better footing than Niemi.

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06-07-2013, 10:15 AM
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#4 has been outstanding this term. Without question. I think the right choice was made by keeping #4.

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06-07-2013, 10:25 AM
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Was always the right call.

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06-07-2013, 10:27 AM
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Was always the right call.
This, although it looked a bit iffy last year

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06-07-2013, 10:31 AM
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hockeydoug
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Dmen that can play 20 minutes a night, skate, and make smart decisions with the puck and away from the puck are too rare to taken for granted. I never questioned the decision to take Hjalmarsson over Niemi. For the system and talent set on Chicago, I thought the decision was easier still. Nothing against Niemi, I just thought Hjalmarsson was far more valuable.

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06-07-2013, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by hockeydoug View Post
Dmen that can play 20 minutes a night, skate, and make smart decisions with the puck and away from the puck are too rare to taken for granted.

Plus he's fearless when it comes to contact and blocking shots.

Best 3rd defenseman in the NHL? Might just be.

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06-07-2013, 10:44 AM
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Sevanston
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I supported the decision then and I still support it now.

But it definitely looked iffy in the 2011 and 2012 seasons when Hammer was playing like a scared shell of himself.

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06-07-2013, 10:47 AM
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I was always a Hammer proponent. With the system the Hawks play depth on the blue line is paramount. They can get by with adequate goaltending (see 2010 and 2013).

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06-07-2013, 10:48 AM
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Hammer enjoyed sending the puck over the glass 2011. All the time it seemed. But he has been super paired with Oduya who, if you compare the salaries, is overpaid a bit.

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06-07-2013, 11:22 AM
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hockeydoug
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Very few veternan dmen log 20+ minutes a game and make less than 3.5. Both are on very effective contracts.

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06-07-2013, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevanston View Post
I supported the decision then and I still support it now.

But it definitely looked iffy in the 2011 and 2012 seasons when Hammer was playing like a scared shell of himself.
Exactly how I feel and have felt all along. It seemed to take a couple years for Hammer to get past that incident in Buffalo.

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06-07-2013, 11:39 AM
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Hjall vs Niemi

Hjall is the top defensive D man on the Hawks this playoffs but also has made some great passes to spring guys. He seems to pick his game up during the playoffs----gotta like guys that do that. My frustration with him has been on the physical of things. I think he can be more physical (a la Kronwall) and really earn his 3.5 million a year or whatever it is. Niemi is a decent goaltender, but I don't think he's any better than Crawford----especially this year. His raise was substantial and the Hawks had Craw and only could afford so much more at the time if memory serves. Ultimately, we kept the right guy.

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06-07-2013, 11:53 AM
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At the time I would have preferred Niemi, but I was happy we were able to keep Hammer. Always knew he'd be good.

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06-07-2013, 12:11 PM
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At the end of last year, I was pissed at the decision. I have taken a complete 180 on that stance now.

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06-07-2013, 12:54 PM
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The decision was already the right one. Chicago would have gone into the next season with Jassen Cullimore or Nick Boynton in their top-4. That would have been unacceptable. Even if Crawford didn't rebound, it would have been the right decision.

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06-07-2013, 12:54 PM
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Savardian Spinorama
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I was unhappy losing either, but with a puck possession game the goalie is less of a factor than a good D man. In the end, the right choice was made as I don't know who would be filling Hammer's minutes with the level of play that he brings. I have a feeling that Jelly be a pillar for us on D for years to come.

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06-07-2013, 01:26 PM
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I was good with Hammer and Neimi... the deal that bothered me was that this made the Hawks need to trade of Ladd and have those fill in 500K deals that limited the team for 2 years.

I felt the Hjalmarrson would be better long term, and I was high on Crawford being a good future fit.(Admittedly only because of his shutout vs Detroit)

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06-07-2013, 01:37 PM
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Despite many fans giving up on Crawford because he had a sophomore slump (oh the horror), some of us believed that he would be a very good goalie in this league and he has proven us right. Hjalmarsson, meanwhile, has become one of the best stay-at-home defensemen in the league this season.

Bowman made the right choice, and it has turned out great for the Hawks.

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06-07-2013, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevanston View Post
I supported the decision then and I still support it now.

But it definitely looked iffy in the 2011 and 2012 seasons when Hammer was playing like a scared shell of himself.
This.

At the time I was a much bigger believer in Hjallmarsson than Niemi, so I was happy. Then Niemi played great and Hammer laid out Pominville, never recovered, and he's been on the bad side of average until this year.

Now? Definitely happy again.

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06-07-2013, 04:58 PM
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Sir Psycho T
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I think people are lying about how sure they have been this whole time.

For that last 2 years most of the people on this board me included thought they may have made the wrong move. Crawford had some horrible games, moments, etc. Hammer really went into a shell and started playing poorly, so much so that this happened.
http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh...ht=hjalmarsson

Meanwhile Niemi continued to improve and has become a very good goalie.

Looking at in now it's clear it worked out for both teams. Crawford has discovered his game and is playing better then I expected. Hammer has regained that 2010 form that made him someone a team would offersheet and Niemi has become one of the better goalies in the NHL.

A rare trade off that both teams can look back and and say, worked out for the best.

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06-07-2013, 06:15 PM
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Crazy_Ike
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Regardless of how good Niemi was or might have been for us, the fact is without Hjalmarsson, who exactly would we have playing those minutes? Either we would have needed to move someone else to get another top four guy, or we'd have a scrub back there like Hendry or Walker still. Its unlikely Niemi would have done significantly better than Crawford (if at all), but Hjalmarsson has been lightyears better than the alternatives we have right now. So yeah, we made the right choice.

On the other hand, if they actually do reduce goalie pads, we might start missing Niemi more...

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06-07-2013, 06:23 PM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeydoug View Post
Dmen that can play 20 minutes a night, skate, and make smart decisions with the puck and away from the puck are too rare to taken for granted. I never questioned the decision to take Hjalmarsson over Niemi. For the system and talent set on Chicago, I thought the decision was easier still. Nothing against Niemi, I just thought Hjalmarsson was far more valuable.
My thoughts exactly.

Hjalmarsson has been dynamite this series, Crawford has been decent/OK/solid, and with that we are beating the team that knocked Niemi out of the playoffs. Fairly simple answer, they made the right choice, even though, as said previously, it looked pretty iffy in 2011.

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06-07-2013, 06:33 PM
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smart move then and looking even better now

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Old
06-07-2013, 08:23 PM
  #25
BBH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy_Ike View Post
On the other hand, if they actually do reduce goalie pads, we might start missing Niemi more...
As a goalie, I never got this. They want more offense, but low-scoring games are oftentimes more intense than high-scoring ones. Also, goalies will start performing worse, meaning that they won't get paid as much, meaning teams will get crazy deep with the extra cap room they will have, leading to the equivalent of Vesa Toskala league-wide.

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