The Hawks have signed Antti Niemi and Jake Dowell, in addition to Dave Bolland.
A couple of things on the Niemi signing. There were rumors earlier this year that Niemi would return to Finland to play next season if he was not to be with the Blackhawks. If that, in some form, is true, it at the very least indicates that either Khabibulin or Huet is gone. And of the two, it's about a 95% chance it's Khabibulin.
Also, some, myself included, wondered if the timing and dollars of the Bolland signing weren't a
pre-emptive move against an offer sheet. I think the fact that Niemi is also being signed just ahead of (or at) the RFA qualifying offer deadline would lend credence to this. Of the Hawk RFAs, he would probably have been the most coveted by other teams.
And, if that was the Hawks' intention, then it's safe to say that there were/are separate plans for Bolland and Niemi vs. the other RFAs (Barker, Versteeg, Eager, Brouwer). Ostensibly, all of those four were made qualifying offers by 5PM yesterday. It doesn't mean any or all of the aforementioned will not be Hawks next year. It could mean that's a possibility.
Comcast Chicago (Josh Mora) reported last night that the Hawks are close to a deal with Khabibulin.
This makes no sense and he's been wrong before about similar reports.
But . . . there is a school of thought that Khabibulin would take a lowball deal to stay in Chicago. Still, have they actually found a taker for Huet's deal? Is Niemi ready to spend another year in Rockford?