Finland has consistently produced NHL-caliber goalies in recent years. While some were never drafted and signed after establishing themselves in the domestic Liiiga — such as Chicago’s Antti Raanta or Antti Niemi of San Jose — there have also been some high profile draft picks like Tuukka Rask and Pekka Rinne who are enjoying great NHL careers. Read more»
The 2014-15 season in Finland‘s Liiga will be an interesting one if only for the absence of long-time Helsinki club Jokerit, which bolted the league to compete in the KHL. Vaasa Sport, which finished second in Mestis last year but won back-to-back championships in 2010-11 and 2011-12, moves up to fill Jokerit’s spot in the 14-team league. Read more»
At the 2012 World Junior Championship, much of the focus was on high profile forwards Mikael Granlund and Teemu Pulkkinen – veterans of previous tournaments who were making one last attempt to win a gold medal. While Finland came up short of that goal, losing to eventual champion Sweden in a shootout in the semifinals, the team's fourth place finish would have to be considered a success.
It's not easy to repeat as league champions, but the Edmonton Oil Kings appear poised to potentially buck that trend as they return a large portion of their WHL Championship team from last season. They might get a slight push from the Calgary Hitmen and Saskatoon Blades, but those are really the only two teams who can come even remotely close to matching the overall talent the Oil Kings possess.