Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin announced this morning that the team has officially re-signed veteran goaltender Antti Niemi to a one year, one way contract for the 2018-19 season.
The 34 year old Niemi was picked up by the Habs off of waivers last year after short failed stints with both the Florida Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins. While Niemi was dreadful in five games split between the Panthers and Penguins, he actually found his footing and played remarkably well for the Canadiens down the stretch.
In 19 games with the Habs, the Finnish netminder went 7-5-4 and posted a 2.46 goals against average and .929 save percentage.
It’s expected that the veteran Niemi will platoon with rookie Charlie Lindgren in the backup position behind superstar starter Carey Price next season. Given Price's injury history that past two seasons though, don't be surprised if Niemi gets pushed into playing significant minutes in 2018-19.
Read below for the full press release, courtesy of the Canadiens’ official website:
MONTREAL - The Canadiens announced on Tuesday that they had agreed to terms with goaltender Antti Niemi on a one-year, one-way contract (2018-19). The agreement has an annual average value (AAV) of $950,000 U.S.
Niemi, 34, was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Last season, Niemi posted a 7-5-4 record, 2.46 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and one shutout in 19 games with the Canadiens. In 24 games with Montreal, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Florida Panthers in 2017-18, he compiled a 7-9-4 record, 3.12 goals-against average, and .911 save percentage.
In March, the Montreal chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association selected him as the Canadiens' 2017-18 nominee for the Masterton Trophy.
A native of Vantaa, Finland, Niemi has appeared in 447 NHL contests with the Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Penguins, Panthers, and Canadiens. He holds a 234-134-55 record, 2.52 goals-against average, and .913 save percentage to go along with 36 shutouts.
Niemi won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010.
Never drafted, Niemi signed as a free agent with Chicago ahead of the 2008-09 season. He joined the Canadiens when he was claimed off waivers from Florida on November 14.