Injuries have kept him down, and now with Thomas Greiss playing excellent in net in relief of Antti Niemi, it would seem that Niittymaki's days in teal are numbered.
He has two choices: be dealt (to a team hopefully in need of a decent goaltender), or be the man in Worcester.
If you're asking GM Doug Wilson, I would think he would take the latter.
Alex Stalock and Harry Sateri are the go-to guys in net in Worcester, and it would not be right to hold those players back in order to ready Nitty for another run in the NHL.
Thus, there is only one answer, and it is the trade block.
Here are five teams that could use a player like Antero Niittymaki in net.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
It would not be a reach to say that theToronto Maple Leafsare headed to the playoffs this season.
Currently sitting in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, there is much room for the team to go up in conference.
The clear weakness of the Leafs is their goaltending, which ranks 27th in the NHL in goals-against. Jonas Gustavsson is the man in net for now, but only because James Reimer has battled through injuries this season.
In any case, there is room for Niittymaki on this team, and it would not hurt considering how desperate their talent in net is. Given a good goalie, this is a team with more than just playoffs aspirations.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets are another team with good talent offensively, but lacking in net.
Steve Mason is simply not cutting it and the Jackets could use a veteran between the pipes to help them reach the playoffs.
Columbus is ranked 28th in goals-against, giving up an average of 3.3 goals per game.
Anything would help this team, and Niittymaki could be that guy. The Blue Jackets also have some nice pieces to give back in return.
3. Ottawa Senators
Craig Anderson is capable of leading a team in the playoffs—it is just getting there that may be the problem.
The Senators are ranked last in goals-against, giving up nearly 3.5 goals per game, yet they are in the running for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Ottawa has to make a choice; they can either ride out Anderson and his mediocre play in net, or make a stand and trade for Niittymaki in an attempt turn this team around between the pipes.