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2019 CBJ Top 25 Under 25: #9 Veini Vehviläinen comes to North America on the heels of a stellar Liiga season

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The Blue Jackets have a very deep prospect pool at the goaltender position. Let’s take a look at one of the most intriguing ones today.

NHL: JUN 28 Columbus Blue Jackets Development Camp Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Cannon’s Top 25 Under 25 countdown for 2019 continues today. Checking in at #9 is Finnish netminder Veini Vehviläinen.

Voting

9th out of 34 eligible players
Writers’ Vote: 9th
Readers’ Vote: 9th
Highest Placement: 3rd (1 vote)
Most Common Placement: 7th (9 votes)

Biography

Birthdate: February 13, 1997
Birthplace: Jyväskylä, Finland
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 183 lbs
Position: Goaltender
Acquired: Drafter by Columbus in the 6th round (#173 overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

2018-19 Season

Veini Vehvilainen was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. After attending the prospect development camp in Columbus last summer, Vehvilainen returned to Oulun Kärpät of the Finnish Liiga, the top tier of Finnish hockey.

Vehvilainen went on to lead the Liiga in the following metrics: goals against average, save percentage, wins, and shutouts. Check these stats out:

GAA: 1.58
SV%: .933
Wins: 25
Shutouts: 6

Oulun Kärpät made the championship of the Liiga, where they fell to HPK. In the playoffs, Vehvilainen led all goaltenders with a 1.47 goals against average and 4 shutouts. He also posted a .939 save percentage.

At the 2019 IIHF World Championship, Vehvilainen played one game against the United States. He was part of the gold medal winning Finnish squad.

2019-20 Season

After the World Championships, Veini Vehviläinen signed a two year entry level deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. With Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins expected to man the net in Columbus, Veini Vehvilainen is expected to start the season in the AHL with the Cleveland Monsters.

According to the Cannon’s Monsters guru Elaine Shircliff:

Thiessen will be able to sniff out any flaws and help fix them. I doubt they would even think of sending [Veini Vehvilainen] to the ECHL unless he has an epic meltdown. Kivlenieks will be the one on the outside looking in this season. They SHOULD keep both him and [Veini Vehviläinen] in the AHL. BUT they will likely send [Matiss Kivlenieks] to the ECHL after a few weeks.

Tracking Veini Vehviläinen’s progress next season will be a priority for Jackets fans. The goaltending pipeline is deep with prospects, and Vehvilainen is one of the most promising prospects.