Thomas Greiss, New York Islanders
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Thomas Greiss (born January 29, 1986) is a German professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League (NHL). Selected 94th overall in the third round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks, he has also played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Phoenix Coyotes in his NHL career.
Greiss was selected 94th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks. In 2006, he earned a roster spot on the German team for the 2006 Winter Olympics; at just 20 years of age he was the youngest goaltender in the tournament. During the tournament, Greiss notably turned-in an impressive 35-save performance against Canada.
Greiss played for San Jose during the Shark's pre-season games ahead of the 2007–08 season, though he was eventually assigned to the team's then-American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Worcester Sharks. On January 8, 2008, he was recalled to replace German compatriot Dimitri Pätzold as the backup goaltender to Evgeni Nabokov. Greiss started his first career NHL game on January 13, 2008, an eventual 4–3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks For the 2009–10 season, he served as the back-up goaltender to starter Nabokov, also again being named to the German squad for participation in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Greiss with the Sharks in 2009
On October 12, 2010, just prior to the commencement of the 2010–11 season, Greiss was put on waivers by San Jose, eventually clearing and reporting to Worcester of the AHL. Greiss' demotion was in large part due to the off-season signings of Finnish goaltenders Antero Niittymäki and Antti Niemi. Nine days later, after failing to see any gameplay as Worcester's third-string goaltender, he was reassigned to Brynäs IF in the Swedish Elitserien to provide him regular playing time. In April 2011, Greiss was recalled from Brynäs to San Jose for the team's run in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. He later re-signed with the Sharks on July 7.
For the Sharks' 2011–12 season opener, Greiss was the team's starter in a 6–3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes in San Jose. He went on to start the next two games — losses to the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues — before Antti Niemi returned from off-season surgery. Later in the season, Greiss recorded his first career NHL shutout on January 26, 2013, recording 24 saves in a 4–0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Greiss became a free agent in July 2013 and subsequently signed a one-year contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. In his only season with Phoenix, he played in 25 games, posting a 2.25 goals against average (GAA) and .920 save percentage. At the end of the 2013–14 season, he was not re-signed by the Coyotes, whereupon he signed a one-year, $1 million contract as an unrestricted free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 1, 2014. After the 2014-15 season in which he appeared in 20 games for the Penguins, Greiss once again switched teams as a free agent, signing with the New York Islanders on a two-year, $3 million contract. In March 2016, Jaroslav Halák, the Islanders' starting goaltender, suffered a lower-body injury sidelining him six weeks, leaving Greiss as the team's new starting goaltender.
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