Not even an hour after Carey Price spoke to the media and said his injury was not serious, the Canadiens added a veteran back up goalie to their roster.
MON claims Niemi— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 14, 2017
Antti Niemi will likely be around to serve as Charlie Lindgren’s back up until Price is activated from the injured reserve in the future.
In three games with Pittsburgh this year, Niemi posted a 7.49 GAA and a .797 save percentage. After being waived by the Penguins, he played two more games with the Florida Panthers where he had a 5.11 GAA and .872 SV%. His overall numbers are 0-4 with a .822 save percentage and 6.74 GAA in five appearances.
With Al Montoya also on the shelf indefinitely, this move gives Montreal a veteran back up, and allows Zach Fucale to return to the AHL where he can take some pressure off of rookie goalie Michael McNiven.
The Rocket are back in action tomorrow night, which increases the urgency for a second goalie in the AHL. They previously had signed emergency backups to try out contracts.
Niemi appears to be a stop-gap measure who is highly unlikely to see extended play. If anything happens to Carey Price after his return, expect Charlie Lindgren to immediately supplant the Finn as the starter for the Canadiens.
Marc Bergevin spoke to the media and gave his reasoning behind the move to add Niemi to the roster.
Marc Bergevin says with two young goalies now and Al Montoya being out indefinitely he wanted a veteran goalie as insurance, hence Niemi.— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) November 14, 2017
"He doesn't have NHL experience and spent most the year last year in the ECHL."--Bergevin on Fucale as backup....— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) November 14, 2017
Bergevin also played it close to the vest, as usual, when he was asked about keeping Charlie Lindgren in the NHL when both Price and Al Montoya are healthy.
On possibly keeping Lindgren when Montoya and Price get healthy: "We'll evaluate then if we have room on the 23-man roster"— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) November 14, 2017