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Jim Nill quotes on Lindell signing, Niemi buyout

Here are a few quotes from Stars GM Jim Nill on some of today’s news, which included placing of Antti Niemi on waivers with the intention of buying out his contract and the signing of Esa Lindell, who was scheduled to a restricted free agent, to a two-year contract extension.

On Esa Lindell, who signed a two-year, $4.4 million contract extension:

“Esa is going to be a good player for a long time in this league. It rewards him for the good season he had last year. He came in and played heavy minutes, probably played more than we thought he was going to do. That’s Esa. People don’t realize how good he is until you have him and then you realize how good he is. He’s going to be a good, steady player for a long time.”

On signing him to a bridge contract

“It’s a fair deal for him and for us. It gives him a couple of years. Does his offensive game get even better or does he stay the same guy? It protects him if his offensive game really takes off and if doesn’t, it protects us as to what he is going to be down the road.”

On the buyout of Niemi, which cost $3 million over the next two years ($1.5 million cap hit in each of the next seasons):

“That was one of the options. There was no trade market for him. It’s a pretty saturated goaltending market right now. We knew that going in. This is going to give him an opportunity to play another year or not, and it frees up cap room for us.”

On Niemi:

“He’s a great pro. He works hard. He’s a really good person on and off the ice. I just wish him all the best.”

On moving forward with Ben Bishop and Kari Lehtonen as the goaltending tandem for next season:

“I think our goaltending tandem is as good as anybody in the league. First of all, Ben Bishop is one of the best goalies in the league. He’s changed that position [for us]. One signing kind of took care of that. Kari Lehtonen has been a very good goalie in the league a long time. To have him as your next guy there, that’s pretty good depth for us moving forward.”