According to iltasanomat.fi, former NHL netminder Antero Niittymaki has signed a deal with SM-Liga team TPS.
Remember this guy? On the first day of free agency in summer 2010, Niittymäki replaced long time San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov because of salary cap considerations. Niittymäki played strongly at the beginning of the season, earning the Sharks Player of the Month award in October. However, he sustained another lower body injury, resulting in him missing 17 games, during which Antti Niemi solidified his standing as the starting goaltender. In his second year in San Jose, an injury forced him to mis the first months. Upon his return, Thomas Greiss, who had been backing Niemi retained his role as the Sharks backup goaltender, and Niittymaki was waived. He did not play a single NHL game last season.
Niitty has previously played for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning and most recently Sharks, as well as in the SM-liiga and the American Hockey League. At the 2006 Winter Olympics, while playing for Team Finland, he was voted the MVP of the entire tournament.
Niittymaki displays a calm demeanor at all times and plays with a lot of poise in the crease. He can make spectacular saves at key moments of a hockey game. However, he must rely on positioning and reflexes, because he doesn’t cover a lot of the net with his frame alone, and is prone to inconsistency.
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