San Jose Sharks
goaltender Antero Niittymaki
reportedly will miss about 12 weeks after undergoing a surgical procedure in Southern California to take care of lingering pain related to a lower-body injury last season.
The San Jose Mercury-News reported Thursday that Niittymaki had the surgery.
Niittymaki had a 12-7-3 record and a 2.72 goals-against average in 24 games for the Sharks last season. He went down with the lower-body injury in early February and played only twice in the last 10 weeks of the regular season.
The operation leaves No. 3 goaltender Thomas Greiss
to handle most of the action during San Jose's three consecutive preseason games beginning Friday.
"We need to make sure he's comfortable, make sure he feels good. He'll play a lot in the exhibition season and he'll play full games. At least that's what the plan is," coach Todd McLellan
told the Mercury-News.
McLellan said Greiss will get most -- but not all -- of the starts this weekend.
"I don't think he'll play three games in a row, but he'll be tired when the weekend is over," McLellan said.
Starter Antti Niemi
is still recovering from a cyst removal just before the start of training camp -- though he wouldn't commit to being good-to-go for the start of the regular season on Oct. 8, team officials have said he should be ready.