Kaapo Kahkonen
Image: Espoo Blues

Kaapo Kahkonen

Hometown:

Helsinki Finland

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1996-08-16

Position:

G

Eligible for draft:

2014

Catches:

Left

Drafted:

2014

Height:

6-1

Acquired:

4th round (109th overall), 2014

Weight:

201 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • D

History

2010-11: Kaapo Kahkonen appeared in one game with GrIFK in Finland’s Division 1 U16 league and played for the EJK club in Helsinki.

2011-12: Kahkonen moved up to the Blues club in Finland’s top league — skating in one game with the club’s U18 team and spending most of the season with the U16 squad. He also appeared in ten games for Finland’s U16 team and competed in the 2012 Youth Olympic Games. Kahkonen allowed two goals and had a .950 save percentage in his only U18 game. He received the Jukka Tammi Award as the top goalie in Finland’s U16 league; posting a 2.78 goals against and .901 save percentage in 16 regular season games. In nine playoff games he had a 2.17 goals against and .936 save percentage as Espoo captured the Finnish U16 championship. He had a 2.47 goals against and .926 save percentage in international play for Finland and at the Youth Olympic Games posted a 1.90 goals against and .923 save percentage in four games.

2012-13: Kahkonen assumed the goaltending duties for Espoo Blues’ silver medal-winning U18 squad as a 16-year-old and represented Finland in a pair of tournaments. In 28 regular season games he posted a 2.43 goals against and .917 save percentage as Espoo finished second to HPK in the regular season. Espoo lost to HPK in the playoff finals and in 12 playoff games Kahkonen finished with a 2.68 goals against and .901 save percentage. He was with Finland’s bronze medal U18 team in the 2013 World Junior Championship but did not see any action as a backup to HPK’s Juuse Saros. Kahkonen had a 4.48 goals against and .858 save percentage in four games in net for Finland’s U17 squad at the 2013 World Hockey Challenge.

2013-14: Kahkonen played for Finland’s U18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in August and was named the top goalie at the pre-season U20 Super Challenge playing for the Espo Blues U20 team against other clubs from Sweden, Finland and Norway. Kahkonen played nearly every game for the Blues during the junior season and was in net for Finland at the 2014 U18 World Junior Championship in Lappeenranta. In 38 regular season games for the Finnish champions he had a 2.49 goals against and .912 save percentage. Kahkonen was 8-2 in 10 playoff games, missing the final game as the Espoo U20 team swept Karpat in the best-of-five finals. He recorded one shutout and had a 2.10 goals against and .915 save percentage. Kahkonen had a 3.45 goals against and .881 save percentage in three games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament and was 2-3 with a 3.37 goals against and .886 save percentage in five games at the U18 WJC. He was ranked fourth amongst international goalies in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Minnesota in the fourth round (109th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

2014-15: Kahkonen played for TuTo in Finland’s second league (Mestis) as an 18-year-old and was the third goalie for the Finland U20 team at the 2015 World Junior Championship. He played in 47 of 50 regular season games for TuTo and had a 2.11 goals against and .925 save percentage. TuTo finished third in the regular season, defeating LeKi in the quarterfinals before falling to KooKoo in the semifinals and falling 5-2 to Hokki in the bronze medal game. Kahkonen had a 1.95 goals against and .934 save percentage in 13 playoff games. He did not see any action for Finland at the WJC behind goalies Juuse Saros (NSH) and Ville Husso (STL).  

2015-16: Kahkonen played for the last-place Espoo Blues in his first Liiga season and played for the gold medal-winning Finland U20 team that hosted the 2016 World Junior Championship. Sharing the goaltending duties for the Blues with Swedish goalie Christian Engstrand, he was 6-15-5 with one shutout and had a 2.69 goals against and .908 save percentage. After starting the World Juniors as the backup to Veini Vehvilainen, Kahkonen made one start in the round robin round. He came on in relief of Vehvilainen in the quarterfinals against Canada and started the team’s final two games, including the gold medal game win against Russia. He finished the tournament 4-0-0 and had a 2.52 goals against and .909 save percentage.

Talent Analysis

Kahkonen has the prototypical size for an NHL goaltender and is strong in all areas of the game. While utilizing a butterfly style, he appears in control at all times and has quick feet that allow him to move laterally quickly. Playing in almost every game for his junior team, he has proven to be durable and is technically sound.

 

Future

Kahkonen played in Finland's Liiga as a 19-year-old in 2015-16 and played for Finland's gold medal champion U20 team at the 2016 World Junior Championship. Still maturing physically and learning the finer points of the position, Kahkonen is one of the latest prospects to come out of goaltender-rich Finland. He is a few years away from being NHL-ready but has the potential to be a starter at that level.

St. Louis prospect Husso the best of Finland’s NHL prospects in goal

by Tony Piscotta
on
Ville Husso - IFK Helsinki - Champions Hockey League

Photo: IFK Helsinki goaltender and St. Louis Blues prospect Ville Husso posted 25 wins for Liiga’s top team in the 2015-16 campaign (courtesy of HC Davos/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

Finland has garnered a well-deserved reputation for developing goaltenders in recent years. The top five goalies currently playing in Finland are not likely to match the career achievements of players like Pekka Rinne or Tuukka Rask but instead are long-range projects capable of one day being competent NHL starters or backups. Read more»

Minnesota Wild prospects in Europe and NCAA hockey could form the next core

by Peter Prohaska
on
Jordan Greenway - Minnesota Wild

Photo: Minnesota Wild prospect Jordan Greenway should improve on his 6.2% shooting percentage next season and take a leap forward as an offensive threat (courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)

The Wild’s NCAA prospects form the heart of the team’s developmental system, yet perhaps the team’s best assets are playing in professional leagues in Europe this season. College players have been central to Chuck Fletcher’s developmental approach – perhaps because he himself is a college man – with half of the Spring Top 20 coming out of NCAA programs.

Read more»

Alex Tuch and role players populate the Top 20 Minnesota Wild prospects

by Peter Prohaska
on
Alex Tuch - Minnesota Wild

Photo: The Minnesota Wild’s 2014 first-round pick and top prospect, Alex Tuch, sets his sights on a national title for Boston College (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Wild‘s struggles this season cost head coach Mike Yeo his job, but a bigger problem than his decision-making threatens the Wild’s future success. The prospect pool lacks star quality. Though there has been plenty of trade babble, young stars and old come at premium prices. Rather than having a budding home-grown star waiting in the wings, the Wild’s recent run of below-average drafting has meant little flexibility for Chuck Fletcher, as well as an AHL team mired at the bottom of the standings.

Read more»

Minnesota Wild prospects face limited opportunities for NHL experience

by Peter Prohaska
on
Gustav Olofsson - Minnesota Wild

Photo: If Minnesota Wild prospect Gustav Olofsson is ready for NHL minutes soon, he might make another young defenseman expendable (courtesy of Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Now past the midpoint of the 2015-16 season, a relatively healthy and whole Minnesota Wild team is cooling of late. Offense is down, shots for are down, shots against are up, and points have been lost in the NHL’s new 3-on-3 overtime format. The Wild has dropped four in a row while the rival Chicago Blackhawks are on a 12-game winning streak. Read more»

2016 WJC Review: Combination of 2016 talent and veteran savvy lead Finland to gold

by Tony Piscotta
on
Jesse Puljujarvi, Sebastian Aho, and Patrik Laine - Team Finland - 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship

Photo: Team Finland players Jesse Puljujarvi (L), Sebastian Aho (C), and Patrik Laine (R) celebrate their country’s gold medal win at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship (courtesy of HEIKKI SAUKKOMAA/AFP/Getty Images)

When Toronto Maple Leafs‘ prospect Kasperi Kapanen jokingly pantomimed throwing a fictitious monkey off his back after scoring his first goal of the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship for Finland — the seventh goal in what would be an 8-3 win over Slovakia in Group B play — it was a bit amusing. Read more»

Related Articles