The Montreal Canadiens have re-signed free agent goaltender Antti Niemi to a one-year contract worth $950,000. Niemi will go into training camp with the inside track to be the Habs backup goaltender, but will likely face a battle with Charlie Lindgren.
— Louis Jean (@LouisJean_TVA) May 22, 2018
Goaltender Antti Niemi Re-Signs With the Montreal Canadiens
Over his 10-year NHL career, Niemi has played for the San Jose Sharks, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, and Montreal Canadiens. He is 234-134-55 with a 2.52 goals against average and .913 save percentage in 447 career games. He has played in 67 career playoff games (65 starts) with a 36-29 record, 2.77 goals against average, and .905 save percentage. Niemi entered the league after signing with the Chicago Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent in May 2008. He won the 2010 Stanley Cup with Chicago.
Last Season he went 7-9-4 with a 3.12 goals against average and .911 save percentage. He also had one shutout. Niemi struggled to start the year and was waived by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Things were just as bad with the Panthers and he was waived again. At this point, he went to Montreal, where he was reunited with goalie coach Stephane Waite, who worked with Niemi in Chicago. Niemi found his game and finished the season strong. He put up a 7-5-4 record with a 2.46 goals against average and .929 save percentage with the Habs.
What This Means for the Future
Niemi brings veteran experience to the Habs and will most likely become the team’s backup goalie this coming season. The 34-year-old Finnish goalie is a former starter and if he continues the level of play he showed with Montreal, he can be a capable fill-in if Carey Price is hurt, as well as play an above average number of starts for a backup, giving the opportunity to lighten Price’s workload next year.
Main Photo: MONTREAL, QC – FEBRUARY 22: Goaltender Antti Niemi #37 of the Montreal Canadiens falls to the ice to make a glove save in the first period against the New York Rangers during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on February 22, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers 3-1. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)