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Sharks give Niemi 4-year deal

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi (31) watches a shot in the net by Philadelphia Flyers left wing Simon Gagne during the third period of game 5 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final at the United Center in Chicago, June 6, 2010. The Blackhawks defeated the Flyers 7-4. (UPI Photo/Mark Cowan)
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi (31) watches a shot in the net by Philadelphia Flyers left wing Simon Gagne during the third period of game 5 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final at the United Center in Chicago, June 6, 2010. The Blackhawks defeated the Flyers 7-4. (UPI Photo/Mark Cowan) | License Photo

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 1 (UPI) -- The San Jose Sharks decided they like goalie Antti Niemi enough to give him a four-year contract extension.

Niemi, 27, has a 23-15-3 record with a 2.44 goals-against average and five shutouts in 42 games in this, his first, season with the Sharks. The Finn jumped ship in Chicago after helping the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup last spring.

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San Jose hasn't said how much they will pay Niemi, who had turned down the $2.75 million an arbitrator had awarded him to play for Chicago this season.

"We wanted Antti to remain a San Jose Shark and he wanted to be here," Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "Once he got through his expected integration period with our club, Antti's play has been outstanding and, just as important, he has consistently been a great teammate. And like many of his teammates over this past year, he worked with us on a contract that fits within our team structure and enables us to keep our group intact."

The Sharks are in third place in the NHL's Western Conference with 78 points.

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