Canadiens claim Antti Niemi off waivers from Panthers

Oct 30, 2017; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers goalie Antti Niemi (31) makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens have added a new goalie, claiming 34-year-old Antti Niemi off waivers from the Florida Panthers.

Niemi began the 2017-18 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, appearing in three games. He allowed 16 goals, however, and the defending Stanley Cup Champions lost all three before placing him on waivers at the end of October. The Panthers claimed him, and Niemi made two appearances over the last three weeks. He allowed five goals and suffered one loss with Florida.

Despite the poor season to date, Niemi has had some very good seasons in the NHL. In his first full year back in 2009-10, he was the primary goalie of the Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks. Niemi signed a deal that offseason with the San Jose Sharks, where he played the next five seasons as the starting goalie. During his time in San Jose, Niemi averaged 2.40 goals against and a .917 save percentage. He made two All-Star teams with the Sharks, as well.

The Panthers have struggled between the pipes his year with the combination of Niemi, James Reimer and Roberto Luongo allowing 3.59 goals against in 16 games. Of the three, Luongo has been the most reliable with a .917 save percentage and 3.15 goals against in seven games played. Florida is just 5-9-2 on the season with 12 points.

The Canadiens are 8-9-1 with 17 points so far in 2017-18, and primary goalie Carey Price has landed on injured reserve with a lower body injury. A 24-year-old net-minder in Charlie Lindgren has performed admirably in four games, allowing 1.24 goals against and going 3-1 in those games.

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