Antti Niemi has had one hell of a wild ride over the last couple of months.
After suiting up with the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Niemi officially played with his third team during the 2017-18 season. That places him among a group of just five total goaltenders in NHL history who have accomplished a similar feat.
— Joey Kenward (@kenwardskorner) November 19, 2017
He started the 2017-18 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, backing goaltender Matt Murray. After three starts, three losses, a save percentage of .797 and a GAA of 7.50, the Penguins moved on from Niemi and he ended up with the Florida Panthers.
Niemi’s time with the Panthers was just as ugly as his time with the Penguins, but notably shorter. He made just two appearances in Florida, posting a 5.08 GAA and a .872 save percentage. That wasn’t good enough for the Panthers, so they too decided to move on.
Injuries to Carey Price and Al Montoya forced the Canadiens to look externally for help in net, giving Niemi his third opportunity of the season. In his debut on Saturday night, he stopped three of the four shots he faced.
What’s next for Niemi? With several months remaining on the 2017-18 schedule and the Canadiens hoping to return their injured goaltenders, it’s possible Niemi’s journey around the NHL isn’t done quite yet. A fourth team may be a real possibility – if they’re willing to overlook his ugly stats.