Greiss not thinking about Niittymaki's return

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Greiss not thinking about Niittymaki's return

SAN JOSE Thomas Greiss preparation started all the way back in April.

It was then that the Sharks had a pretty good idea that the goaltender would be a big part of their organization for the 2011-12 season. Prospect Alex Stalock would be recovering from a serious severed nerve injury in his left leg into 2012, while Antero Niittymaki had been battling injury problems even before his hip surgery in September.

When Antti Niemi was unavailable for the first week of the regular season, Greiss took center stage. He won the home opener and started the first three games of the season, and since Niemi returned, has provided very steady goaltending as a backup and in relief.

His numbers are excellent a 2.15 goals against average and .919 save percentage are listed beside his 3-3-0 record, which in itself should be better. The Sharks have scored just six goals in his four starts since that 6-3 opening night win, including getting shutout twice.

The numbers are pretty good, but I would like to have won a couple more games, said a modest Greiss on Wednesday. Ive felt good in practice, had a couple good games, and a couple alright games.

Now that Niemi has returned and is healthy, Greiss has to adjust to being the backup again. He beat the New York Islanders on Oct. 29, came on in relief of Niemi on Nov. 3 against Pittsburgh to help the team come from behind and win, and took the 3-0 loss to Phoenix on Saturday.

McLellan specifically wanted him to get back in against the Coyotes, as the team had a four-day break that ends with Thursdays game against the Red Wings.

I think hes like any goaltender he plays better when he gets to play more, said McLellan. Off the bat, when he knew he was playing every night, he was very sharp. Now, hes got to adjust his game a little bit and remain sharp in practices so when he does get the call, whenever it might be, hes at the top of his game.

At some point this season, the Sharks front office will have a decision to make. Antero Nittymaki, although hes not skating with the team yet, has been seen on the ice in full gear and pads. Hes not moving around a whole lot, but its a reminder that the Sharks still have a pretty good veteran netminder on their roster.

Greiss, who comes off as a pretty laid-back guy by nature, insists hes not thinking about that yet.

Well just see what happens. I dont really worry about it right now, he said. Well see what happens then. Well take it day-by-day and see how it turns out.

McLellan will also wait and cross that bridge when it comes.

Niitty is down the road. We havent even started to talk about weeks or months or anything like that, he said. We just know that hes down the road. Have I given any thought to it? No, no thought at all.

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

Sharks ink pair of European prospects

The Sharks officially announced the signing of defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract on Tuesday, as well as Swedish forward Filip Sandberg to a two-year contract.

Simek’s deal was reported on Monday and confirmed by NBC Sports California. The contract is valued at $925,000 for the 2017-18 season, a source confirmed. The 24-year-old defenseman spent the past five seasons in the Czech league, posting 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating last season. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHL website.

In 211 career games in the Czech league, he posted 91 points (37g, 54a) and a plus-51 rating.

"Radim is a quick transition defenseman who drives the play offensively and plays with a physical edge," general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We like his offensive instincts especially on special teams and think his game will translate well in North America."

Sandberg, 22, has 71 points (25g, 46a) in 204 career games in the Swedish league. Last season, he posted 25 points (8g, 17a) and a plus-17 rating in 52 games.

Sandberg is set to make $742,500 in 2017-18 and $792,500 in 2018-19, a source confirmed.

The five-foot-nine, 180-pound Stockholm native also competed in the World Jr. Championships in 2013 and 2014, helping Sweden win silver both years.

"Filip is a very creative player who sees the ice well and can create offense in limited space," Wilson said. "He plays a high-pressure, puck-pursuit game and his battle level is something we have been impressed with, especially against older players. We are excited for him to join our organization."

The contracts for Simek and Forsberg are two-way deals, allowing them to play for the AHL Barracuda next season.

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

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AP

Sharks sign defenseman from Czech Republic

The Sharks have signed Czech defenseman Radim Simek to a one-year contract.

The two-way deal, originally reported by Radio Praha in the Czech Republic, is expected to be announced by the Sharks later this week, according to a source. Simek just finished competing for his country in the 2017 IIHF World Championships, skating in all eight games for the Czech Republic while posting one goal, one assist, 11 shots and a minus-two rating.

Simek, 24, has spent the last five seasons in the Czech League. In 42 games for Liberec in 2016-17, he posted 24 points (11g, 13a) and 30 penalty minutes with a plus-18 rating. A left-handed shot, he is listed at five-foot-11 and 196 pounds on the IIHF website.

The New York Rangers were also interested in Simek, according to the report.

Simek will likely begin next season with the AHL Barracuda.

The Sharks have signed a number of free agents out of Europe in recent seasons, including Joonas Donskoi in 2015 and Marcus Sorensen and Tim Heed last May.