The 38-year-old Finnish blue liner hasn’t been in the NHL since 2006-07 when he was with Montreal and spent the past six seasons playing in Sweden and Switzerland.
Niinimaa played in 743 career NHL games and had 54 goals and 319 points as well as 733 penalty minutes. The bulk of his NHL career was spent with the Edmonton Oilers where he played just over five seasons. He was a second-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers back in 1993.
He may be most notable for being part of one of the worst trades made in recent history by the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs acquired Niinimaa and a fifth-round pick from the Stars in exchange for Mike Ribeiro and a sixth-round pick. Whoops.
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
Kane also tied Denis Savard (1985-86) for second-longest streak in Chicago history. Bobby Hull had a 21-game streak.