He hasn't played yet this season, but it looks as if the Sharks are going to start shopping him around as he is being sent on a "conditioning assignment."
According to ESPN Insider hockey rumors, Niittymaki has apparently grown frustrated with his role on the Sharks—which has been not playing, mind you—and his time with the organization looks to be done:
As San Jose rink-side reporter Brodie Brazil points out, Niittymaki no longer has a stall in the team's locker room. And ESPN's Craig Custance reports that the goalie will be playing Friday and Saturday in Worcester. That will give interested teams a chance to see that he's good to go if they want to make a play for him.
Is was reported in September that Niittymaki would have to undergo surgery to help him with lingering pain due to a lower-body injury. He hasn't seen NHL game-ice since then, but has done one stint already in Worcester.
Sending him down and shopping him around makes the msot sense, considering he has a stellar No. 1 goalie in Antti Niemi, and a solid backup in Thomas Greiss ahead of him.
If Niittymaki is healthy, this gives him the best chance to showcase himself—for all intents and purposes, that is exactly what the Sharks are trying to accomplish here.
If teams are interested in him, they are going to want to know he's healthy.
This is where he can prove he's a viable player.
It's not as if the Sharks need him right now, so at this point the best option for both parties is to shop him around and see what he can bring back.
It's a win-win situation.
The Sharks can get some value in return for him, and perhaps if he lands in a favorable situation, Niittymaki can find some playing time this season.