The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they have re-signed 6'0", 195-pound goaltender Antero Niittymaki (AN-tehr-oh NEE-too-mah-kee) to a new one-year contract, according to club General Manager Bob Clarke. Per club policy, financial terms were not disclosed.
"Antero Niittymaki has proven that he is a terrific, young goaltender," said Clarke in making the announcement. "Last year at the Olympics, he confirmed to everybody the high level of goaltending that he can play and we believe that he is going to play like that this upcoming season."
Niittymaki, 26, posted a 23-15-6 record, 2.97 goals-against average (GAA) and .895 save percentage in 46 regular season games for the Flyers last season. He was tied for third among rookie NHL goaltenders in wins with 23. His 23 wins were the most by a Flyers rookie goaltender since Ron Hextall won 37 games during the 1986-87 season. Niittymaki also won a Silver Medal as a member of the Finnish National Team at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. He posted a 5-1-0 record, 1.34 GAA, .951 save percentage and three shutouts in six games for Finland and was named to the Media All-Star Team, Best Goalie and Olympic Tournament MVP.
In two seasons with the Flyers (2003-04 and 2005-06), Niittymaki has compiled a 26-15-6 record and 2.84 GAA in 49 regular season games. In three seasons with the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms (2002-03 through 2004-05), Niittymaki registered a 71-55-12 record, 2.19 GAA and 13 shutouts in 147 regular season games. He led the Phantoms to the 2005 Calder Cup Championship as he posted a 15-5 record, 1.75 GAA and three shutouts in 21 games and won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as Playoff MVP. He joined the Phantoms after playing three seasons with TPS Turku in the Finnish Elite League (1999-2000 through 2001-02) and was a member of the Finnish National Team at the 1999 World Junior Championships.
A native of Turku, Finland, Niittymaki was originally drafted by the Flyers in the sixth round (168th overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.