Antero Niittymaki might just finally get his wish.
After hoping to find a way to just play in a few games, the Sharks have put the Finnish netminder on waivers.
Niittymaki was squeezed out of the Sharks’ goalie rotation thanks to injury and with how well Thomas Greiss has played behind Antti Niemi and after rehabbing his hip injury he’s eager to play.
The problem for Niittymaki is that there’s nowhere to go in San Jose and given how little Greiss plays, there’s no chance for him with the Sharks. With those post-injury worries in mind, we’ll find out now if teams in need of a lift in goal bite on picking up Niittymaki.
The Tampa Bay Lighting have been struggling in goal all season but after winning four in a row, GM Steve Yzerman may not want to risk mixing things up. If Tampa Bay opted to grab Niittymaki it would be a familiar situation as he played for the Lightning two seasons ago.
Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson is trying to do things to change the team’s fortunes. He’s trying.
Howson pulled the trigger and grabbed former Wild first-round pick Colton Gillies off of waivers. Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, Gillies was on waivers from the Wild for a reason – he hasn’t been very good.
In 89 career games with the Wild, Gillies has just three goals and seven assists. He’s a career fourth line grinder type of forward and going to Columbus in that sort of role is curious as the Blue Jackets have plenty of guys who fill that need as it is.
Howson must be banking on Gillies’ familiarity with interim coach Todd Richards and having a change of scenery to maybe unlock his career. Gillies played in just seven games for Richards last season in Minnesota.
New York Rangers GM Glen Sather got his way earlier this season by bringing Sean Avery back up through waivers, but it only seemed like a matter of time before he’d be out of favor once again. That time appears to be now, as ESPN New York’s Katie Strang reports that the Rangers waived Avery – again.
Any of the NHL’s other 29 teams are free to snatch the infamous agitator at his “full” price of just under $2 million.* If past league behavior is any indication, it’s unlikely that teams will have much interest in him unless he goes on re-entry waivers (again). Even then, most – if not all – of the league’s other GMs are unlikely to want to deal with the Avery circus.
The well-publicized pest has three goals and zero assists in 15 games, with a relatively subdued 21 PIM. It’s fairly well known that he essentially lives in John Tortorella’s doghouse, though, which is illustrated quite clearly by the fact that he received less than 10 minutes of ice time in all but two of his appearances this season and has been a scratch for nine consecutive games. It’s reasonable to wonder if he could be more effective if given a more legitimate chance.
Avery probably loves playing in New York, but for the sake of his career, he should root for another team to pick him up on waivers or re-entry waivers (if they call him back up). He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in July and his value will be at an all-time low if he fails to prove that he can still be a viable asset at the NHL level.
* – His cap hit is $1,937,500, to be exact. Full is in quotations marks because the Dallas Stars are actually responsible for another $1,937,500 thanks to their mishap with Avery.