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Scratch that: Niittymaki shuns Russia, flees to Tampa Bay

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In a development that is sure to anger Southeast Division fans, former Flyers goaltender Antero Niittymaki has apparently worked his way out of a deal with Atlant Moscow Oblast of the KHL and back into the National Hockey League with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tampa Bay offered Niittymaki a contract early Thursday, a day after he had apparently signed a deal with the Russian team. That contract must have not been finalized or, as is the situation with many KHL deals, it had an "out-clause" which allows the player to leave for a return to the NHL.

There has been no official announcement from the Lightning or the Russian franchise regarding any Niittymaki movement, but Tampa is expected to annouce the deal shortly.

UPDATE - It's official. Here's what Lightning GM Brian Lawton said about the signing:  “We fully recognized the need to add an experienced back-up goaltender this summer and today we feel we’ve accomplished that goal. Not only is Antero already an established number two in the NHL who can steal games, but we feel he is very capable of working with Mike Smith to give us a formidable 1-2 punch in goal.”