|Born||August 29, 1983 |
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)|
|San Jose Sharks|
Antti Niemi (born on August 29, 1983) is a Finnish professional ice hockey goaltender who is currently the starting goaltender for the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League (NHL).
During the 2009–10 NHL season as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, Antti became the first Finnish goaltender to win the Stanley Cup. During the 2012-13 NHL lockout, he signed a contract to play for Pelicans Lahti in the SM-liiga in Finland.
Early Playing Career
Antti played junior-level hockey for Kiekko-Vantaa from 1998 until 2005 where he also worked part-time as a Zamboni driver. He turned pro with the Pelicans of the Finnish SM-liiga in 2005, playing three seasons with the team.
In November of 2007, Antti debuted for the Finnish national team. He signed with the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League as an undrafted free agent in 2008.
Assigned to Chicago's minor league affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, Antti spent the majority of the 2008–09 season in the American Hockey League (AHL).
In February of 2009, Antti was called up to the Blackhawks as an injury replacement. On February 27, 2009, he played one period in a 5–4 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Several days later on March 1, 2009, Antti recorded his first NHL start and win, a 4–2 victory versus the Los Angeles Kings.
The following season, Antti made the Blackhawks lineup out of training camp. He started the second game of a back-to-back season opener against the Florida Panthers in Helsinki. He stopped all 23 shots he faced against the Panthers earning his first NHL shutout in his native Finland on October 3, 2009.
After a very respectable record of 26-7-4 during the regular season, Antti was made the Blackhawks starting goaltender for the playoffs near the end of the 2009–10 NHL regular season and prior to the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, replacing Cristobal Huet.
During Game 2, Antti recorded a shutout victory against the Nashville Predators at United Center, making him the first Blackhawks goaltender since Ed Belfour in 1996 to record a postseason shutout.
On April 22, 2010, Antti stopped 33 shots to record his second shutout of the postseason, making him the first Chicago goaltender since Tony Esposito in 1974 to record two shutouts in one playoff series.
On May 16, 2010, Antti made 44 saves in a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Chicago ended up sweeping the series against San Jose in four games.
In only his second Stanley Cup finals game, Antti made 32 saves, earning the Player of the Game honors from the National Hockey League.
On June 9, 2010, Antti/ led the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup championship with a 4-3 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Niemi was the third Finnish goalie to make it to the Stanley Cup finals and the first ever to win the Cup.
Antti filed for arbitration during the offseason and he was eventually awarded $2.75 million. Chicago officially walked away from the deal on August 2 because of salary cap restraints and signed veteran goaltender Marty Turco from the Dallas Stars for $1.3 million.
San Jose Sharks
On September 2, 2010, Antti officially signed a 1-year, $2 million contract with the San Jose Sharks. He made 30 saves in his first regular season victory with the Sharks, a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After a poor start to the season, he was platooned with fellow Finnish netminder Antero Niittymaki, but strong play in the month of February which saw him go 14-2-1 with a 1.91 GAA and .924 save percentage, cemented him as the Sharks' starting goaltender.
On March 1, 2011, Antti signed a four-year contract extension with San Jose worth $15.2 million. His nickname with the Sharks is "Nemo."
In October of 2012, Antti signed a one-month contract with the Pelicans Lahti during the 2012–13 NHL lockout.
In the 2012–13 NHL season, Antti led the Sharks in goals against average with 2.16, while leading the NHL in minutes played with 2,581, tied for the league lead with 24 wins in 43 starts, along with finishing third in the NHL with 1,127 saves.
On May 8, 2013, Antti was nominated for the Vezina Trophy, but he lost to Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Regular Season Statistics
|2010–11||San Jose Sharks||NHL||60||35||18||—||6||3524||140||6||2.38||.920|
|2011–12||San Jose Sharks||NHL||68||34||22||—||9||3936||159||6||2.42||.915|
|2012–13||San Jose Sharks||NHL||43||24||12||—||6||2581||93||4||2.16||.924|
|2010–11||San Jose Sharks||NHL||18||8||9||1,044||56||538||3.22||.896|
|2011–12||San Jose Sharks||NHL||5||1||4||318||13||151||2.45||.914|
|2012–13||San Jose Sharks||NHL||11||7||4||673||21||298||1.87||.930|
Awards & Achievements
- 2010 Stanley Cup (Chicago Blackhawks)
- 2013 THN Gilles Villemure Award (Best Shootout Goalie)
- Kiekko-Vantaa retired number.