Niemi's status in question


Niemi's status in question

When Sharks camp began on Friday, Antti Niemi was listed as 'day to day' following the removal of a cyst. That was now six days ago, and since, the Finnish netminder has skated, but has not faced shots from his teammates yet.

The Mercury News recently asked Antti if he expected to be ready for the season opener, October 8th. His response, "I don't know about that. We'll see."

Niemi, like many of the Sharks, rarely gives full details of injuries or timelines for return. It's just an unwritten club policy, that further extends to many other teams and players around the NHL. Hockey is the only sport where ailments are acceptably described, only by the half of body they hinder. The point: don't read too much into a vague answer.

The biggest issue with Niemi's setback, is that backup Antero Niittymaki is not skating yet. He has recurring leg injuries from last season, which may require surgery, that could have him sidelined for 3-4 months. General Manager Doug Wilson told me that Antero is flying to Los Angeles to see a specialist. The team would prefer he gets this issue resolved, sooner than later.

"You don't want a player to have an interrupted season," Wilson said about Niittymaki. "We would rather address something right now."

This leaves Thomas Greiss, as the most healthy option, as of today. The German played 10 games in 09-10 for the Sharks, backing up Evgeni Nabokov, but last season was shipped overseas by San Jose.

"Thomas Greiss certainly deserves the opportunity. Last year he was never out of our plans, it's just the opportunity for his growth was to go over to Europe, and we're happy he's back."

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

The Sharks officially announced the signing of defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract on Tuesday, as well as Swedish forward Filip Sandberg to a two-year contract.

Simek’s deal was reported on Monday and confirmed by NBC Sports California. The contract is valued at $925,000 for the 2017-18 season, a source confirmed. The 24-year-old defenseman spent the past five seasons in the Czech league, posting 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating last season. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHL website.

In 211 career games in the Czech league, he posted 91 points (37g, 54a) and a plus-51 rating.

"Radim is a quick transition defenseman who drives the play offensively and plays with a physical edge," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We like his offensive instincts especially on special teams and think his game will translate well in North America."

Sandberg, 22, has 71 points (25g, 46a) in 204 career games in the Swedish league. Last season, he posted 25 points (8g, 17a) and a plus-17 rating in 52 games.

Sandberg is set to make $742,500 in 2017-18 and $792,500 in 2018-19, a source confirmed.

The five-foot-nine, 180-pound Stockholm native also competed in the World Jr. Championships in 2013 and 2014, helping Sweden win silver both years.

"Filip is a very creative player who sees the ice well and can create offense in limited space," Wilson said. "He plays a high-pressure, puck-pursuit game and his battle level is something we have been impressed with, especially against older players. We are excited for him to join our organization."

The contracts for Simek and Forsberg are two-way deals, allowing them to play for the AHL Barracuda next season.

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic


Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

The Sharks have signed Czech defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract.

The two-way deal, originally reported by Radio Praha in the Czech Republic, is expected to be announced by the Sharks later this week, according to a source. Simek just finished competing for his country in the 2017 IIHF World Championships, skating in all eight games for the Czech Republic while posting one goal, one assist, 11 shots and a minus-two rating.

Simek, 24, has spent the last five seasons in the Czech League. In 42 games for Liberec in 2016-17, he posted 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHF website.

The New York Rangers were also interested in Simek, according to the report.

Simek will likely begin next season with the AHL Barracuda.

The Sharks have signed a number of free agents out of Europe in recent seasons, including Joonas Donskoi in 2015 and Marcus Sorensen and Tim Heed last May.