Antero Niittymaki Stays in NHL, Signs with Tampa Bay

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IJuly 10, 2009

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 21:  Antero Niittymaki #30 of the Philadelphia Flyersin action against the New Jersey Devils during their game on December 21, 2008 at The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed former Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki according to a team's press release issued today just a day after it was reported by several media outlets that he was headed to Russia.

Niittymaki will be the backup goalie for the Bolts, backing up Mike Smith. The 29-year-old goalie went from one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference to one of the worst teams in the East.

But this is a huge opportunity for him.

I could very well see him beating out Smith for the starting job at some point, especially since he dominates the Southeast Division in which the Lightning play.

In the past two seasons, Niitty is 17-1-1 against Southeast opponents and, in his career against the Atlanta Thrashers, he is a whopping 13-0.