San Jose Signs Antero Niittymaki to a 2 year, $4M Contract

July 01, 2010

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Jeff Ponder

San Jose Signs Antero Niittymaki to a 2 year, $4M Contract

San Jose got their starting netminder... sorta.

Antero Niitymaki, the former Flyer and Lightning goalie, has reached an agreement with the West Coast team.  But what does this mean for the Sharks?

The Finnish goaltender had a so-so season in 2009-10, finishing with a .909 save percentage and a 2.87 GAA in 49 games for the Lightning.  This is about what he has posted for the past couple of seasons.  He never seems to be a game-stealer, nor does he really ever cause your team to lose.  This may not be what the Sharks need.

After trading former starter Evgeni Nabokov's rights to Philadelphia and watching captain and star defenseman Rob Blake retire a few days ago, San Jose GM Doug Wilson had to make a move to improve defensively.  I doubt this is what most people have in mind when thinking about an improvement over Nabokov.  Niittymaki will play well enough for the Sharks to get victories, but he is far from being a top-goalie in the league.  All that the Sharks did now is give backup netminder Thomas Greiss hope of being a NHL starter next season. 

This looks like a reenactment of the Sharks' tandem of Nabokov and Vesa Toskala from a few years back.  The only difference is that its a tandem of backups instead of a tandem of game-savers.

Keywords: antero niittymaki, doug wilson, evgeni nabokov, nhl, rob blake, san jose sharks, thomas greiss, vesa toskala

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