NIITTYMÄKI LEAVES NHL, RETURNS TO FINLAND

Antero Niittymaki

Photo by Flames_@_Flyers.jpg: ben55fan derivative work: Lepax (Flames_@_Flyers.jpg) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As per the IIHF, veteran backup goalie Antero Niittymäki has left the NHL to return to his native Finland, to play for TPS Turku – the team with which he started his career.  He played 234 NHL games, recording 95 wins, 86 losses and 31 overtime losses and a .902 SV% to go with a 2.95 GAA.

Niittymäki was drafted in the 6th Round, 168th overall, of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers, although he didn’t make his way over to North America until the 2002 season.  He played his first NHL games in 2003-04, and made the NHL full time in 05-06.  He was the starting goalie for Finland in the 2006 Olympics, where they made the final and Niittymäki was named tournament MVP.

Injuries unfortunately have resulted in him missing several games per season since then, but he still managed to provide solid backup duties to the Flyers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and finally the San Jose Sharks.  He leaves the NHL having made his own mark on the game, by holding the NHL record for most consecutive victories against a single team (tied with Chris Osgood), for his lifetime streak of 17-0-0 against the Atlanta Thrashers.

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