Former Shark Antero Niittymaki signs in Finland
Former San Jose Sharks goalie Antero Niittymaki has signed a one-year deal to play with TPS Turku of the SM-liiga league in Finland, according to NHL.com.
Niittymaki has not played at the NHL level since the 2010-11 season when he battled with current Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi for ice time. Niittymaki ultimately lost that job to Niemi, despite his 12-7-3 record in 22 starts.
Since falling from grace with the Sharks, Niittymaki has battled injuries in the AHL, playing in just 13 games in the 2011-12 season due to chronic hip injuries. At just 32 years old, the Finnish goaltender considered retirement after having an artificial joint placed in his hip, but instead he elected to return to the team where his career began.
"It feels good to come back to TPS," Niittymaki said. "The club made it possible to put this in place over the summer, and we came to terms very quickly on the contract."
In three seasons with TPS Turku, Niittymaki posted a 49-19-5 record and claimed the 1999-00 Rookie of the Year award, according to Hockey-reference.com.
Niittymaki posted an NHL career record of 95-86-31, with a 2.95 goals against average and .902 save percentage in 234 games played with three different teams.