Thiessen to backstop SM-Liiga’s HIFK

Once free agency opened on July 5, it was thought that former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goalie Brad Thiessen would be highly sought after.

Nearly ten days later — and still without a job in North America — Thiessen has signed to play in Finland.

Jason at Chirps From Center Ice was on top of this as soon as news came down:

After an illustrious four year career with the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins compiling a regular season record of 88-49-12-6, 2.47 GAA and a .906 SV% and a playoff record of 18-16, 2.31 GAA and a .924 SV% Thiessen is heading to HIFK in the Sm-liiga, which is the highest level of professional hockey in Finland. HIFK is a team located in Helsinki, which is the largest city and the capital of Finland.

While not surprising, the writing was on the wall from the start of the season for Thiessen with the arrival and play of Jeff Zatkoff.

Thiessen undoubtedly will go down as one of the best goaltenders to come through Wilkes-Barre and will be never forgotten for his historic Game 6 performance vs. the Providence Bruins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals this year.

Spending four years in one place is quite an extended stay for a goaltender who was in the habit of inking one-year deals. It had become evident that Thiessen’s spot wasn’t going to be with the big club — no matter his efforts in the ‘A’, Thiessen’s only seen action in five NHL games — but the signing and subsequent extension of Tomas Vokoun all but made his full-time jump to the NHL impossible.

The contract appears to be for one season, so Thiessen could realistically end back in North America come the 2014-15 season.