Sharks sign Antero Niittymaki to a two year contract

The San Jose Sharks have signed Finnish goaltender Antero Niittymaki to a two year deal worth $2.0MM per year today according to Pierre Lebrun of ESPN.

The Sharks have also confirmed that he has been signed to a two year contract. Monetary details have not been disclosed by the team.

"He's the guy we wanted," Doug Wilson told Pierre Lebrun via text message.

Niittymaki is a thirty year old goaltender who posted a .909 SV% last season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Many will remember his brilliant run during the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy, where he put the Finnish National Team on his back and led them to a silver medal.

Inconsistency has been a hallmark of Niittymaki's career, displaying periods of utter brilliance followed by stretches where he has trouble stopping the puck. He's not the bonafide starter that Evgeni Nabokov was for San Jose, and will likely compete year round for the starting role with Thomas Greiss.

Here are his statistics over the last six seasons:

2003 Flyers 3 180 3 0 0 3 1 0 -3 .961 0
2005 Flyers 46 2690 23 15 6 133 2.97 0 -133 .895 2
2006 Flyers 52 2943 9 29 9 166 3.38 0 -166 .894 0
2007 Flyers 28 1424 12 9 2 69 2.91 0 -69 .907 1
2008 Flyers 32 1805 15 8 6 83 2.76 0 -83 .912 1
2009 Lightning 49 2657 21 18 5 127 2.87 0 -127 .909 1


In terms of reaction to the signing, Niittymaki is far from the least desirable goaltender on the market, but was not highlighted by Fear The Fin as a player who was in the upper echelon of unrestricted free agent netminders. The monetary compensation given to him does allow the Sharks to pursue a big ticket defenseman, which should now be a big priority for San Jose General Manager Doug Wilson.

A more detailed look at Niittymaki, as well as the Sharks moves on July 1st, will be posted later tonight.


Go Sharks.

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