After helping lead the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup title in 49 years, Niemi and Chicago went to salary arbitration. The Blackhawks submitted an offer of $1.5 million, but the arbitrator awarded Niemi $2.75 million.
That was too much for the salary cap-strained Blackhawks, who cut ties with Niemi and signed former Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco.
The Sharks have been one of Chicago's postseason rivals in recent years. Niemi had a strong series in the Western Conference finals in helping the Blackhawks sweep the Sharks.
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.