Oh how ironic.
Antero Niittymaki signed preliminary contract with Atlant Moscow Oblast of the Kotinental Hockey League (KHL), the team that new Flyers netminder Ray Emery played on last season.
His story is one of a very talented goalie that ran into hip problems and inconsistency. This is a guy that had more than his fair share of opportunities to win the starting job with the orange and black.
It's a little surprising that no NHL team had enough interest for him to come be a backup. He did have hip surgery this offseason, which most likely made the biggest factor into him not finding a new home in North America.
I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in the NHL some day.
That's one of the two goalies that the Flyers opted to let go signed, albeit in Russia, but at least he has a new home.
Martin Biron, who started for the Flyers in the last two-plus seasons, has found himself taking a substantial amount less than what he asked for on a short-term contract tobe a backup.
UPDATE (3:07 PM, July 9th, 2009):
Antero Niittymaki has signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, or at least it appears. He did agree to a contract with the KHL, however it wasn't finalized or it had an out clause.
It's still fishy, Niittymaki hasn't been announced as yet. The hangup is getting out of the KHL contract, at least according to Jon Jordan.
But it looks like he is going to stay in the NHL to be a backup in Tampa.
UPDATE (7:26 PM, July 9th, 2009):
As of right now, its unknown if Niittymaki is going to Russia or Tampa Bay. It's complicated, he could be heading to Russia because he couldn't get out of his deal, could be going to Tampa, no one knows as of right now.