Antero Niitymaki is a Finnish goalie on the San Jose Sharks.
Niitymaki has been the Flyers’ backup goalie for most of his career. He was drafted in 1998, but remained on TPS of the Finnish SM-liiga until 2002. He played for the Philadelphia Phantoms until 2005, and was named the playoff MVP when they won the Calder Cup.
In February of 2004, Niitymaki won his first 3 NHL starts, while the Flyers’ goalies were all injured. Sean Burke was signed and Robert Esche returned from injury, and Niitymaki returned to the Phantoms. He started the 2005-06 season as the backup and has split time since then. His first season he won 23 games in 42 starts. The 2006-07 season was a debacle for Niitymaki, as he started 46 games but only won 9. The signing of Martin Biron relegated Niitymaki to the backup role, and he made only 23 starts in 2007-08. In 2008-09, Niitymaki split duties with Biron, playing in 32 games. He posted a 15-8 record with a 2.76 GAA and a .912 save percentage. In 2009, he became a free agent and was signed by Tampa Bay to compete for their starting job in 2009-10. He won the starting job, but was unable to stay healthy and won only 21 games in 46 starts. He was released at the end of the season, and signed with San Jose, where he will compete against hot rookie goaltender and fellow Finn, Antti Niemi.
In 2006, Niitymaki helped Finland win a silver medal at the Turin Winter Olympics. He was named MVP of the tournament. He has also played for Finland at the World Junior Championships and the World Championships.