Sami Aittokallio
Image: NHL

Sami Aittokallio

Hometown:

Tampere Finland

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1992-08-06

Position:

G

Eligible for draft:

2010

Catches:

Left

Drafted:

2010

Height:

6-1

Acquired:

4th round (107th overall), 2010

Weight:

179 lbs.

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History

2008-09: Sami Aittokallio played for Ilves in the U-20 Junior “A” league.  In 12 games, Aittokallio posted a 2.24 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.

2009-10: Aittokallio played for Ilves in the U-20 Junior “A” league.  In 23 games, Aittokallio registered a 3.20 goals-against average and a .899 save percentage.  In 9 playoff games, he posted a 2.26 and a .925 save percentage.  Ankle injury kept him off the U-18 World Championships team.

2010-11: Aittokallio appeared in 18 SM-Liiga games for Ilves Tampere as an 18-year-old and was the backup to Flames’ prospect Joni Ortio for Finland’s entry at the 2011 U20 World Junior Championship. In 16 regular season games for Ilves, Aittokallio was 5-8 with 1 shutout and had a 2.73 GAA and .909 save percentage. In two playoff games he was 0-2, allowing 5 goals on 56 shots and finishing with a 2.57 GAA. He saw one period of action for fifth-place Finland at the junior tournament and stopped all seven shots he faced. He also skated in six games for Leki in Mestis (Finland’s second men’s league) and nine games with Ilves’ U20 team.

2011-12: Aittokallio appeared in 11 SM-Liiga games for Ilves and was a standout for Finland at the 2012 U20 World Junior Championship – seizing the starting role from Kings’ prospect Christopher Gibson.  Skating for last-place Ilves in SM-Liiga action, he was 1-6-3 with a 2.82 goals against and .910 save percentage. He did not play in the relegation series against Mestis champion Vaasa Sport. In seven games on loan to Leki in Mestis he was 1-6 with a 4.33 goals against and .871 save percentage. He played five games for Finland at the WJC and was 3-2 with 1 shutout. He stopped 38 shots in a win over the USA and made 55 saves in a shootout loss to Sweden in the semifinals. He finished the tournament with a 2.52 goals against and .936 save percentage. In six games with the Ilves U20 team he was 2-4 with a 3.11 goals against and .905 save percentage.

2012-13: Aittokallio made his NHL debut in April, getting the start against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, and backed up Calvin Pickard with Colorado’s AHL affiliate Lake Erie in his first season in North America. He stopped 23 of 25 shots against the Kings before leaving the game in the third period due to leg cramps (The Kings eventually won the game 3-2 in a shootout). Aittokallio was 14-12-1 with 1 shutout in 27 AHL games and had a 3.00 goals against and .899 save percentage. Lake Erie finished third in the North Division but missed the AHL playoffs.

 2013-14: Aittokallio made one start for the Avalanche in his second pro season — allowing 3 goals on 18 shots in two periods before being replaced by Semyon Varlamov to start the third period in a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay in January — and split the goaltending duties for Colorado AHL affiliate Lake Erie with Calvin Pickard. In 36 games with the Monsters he was 15-15-3 with four shutouts and had a 2.65 goals against and .909 save percentage. Lake Erie missed the playoffs: finishing fourth in the North Division.

2014-15: Aittokallio bounced between the AHL and ECHL in his third pro season in North America — backing up Calvin Pickard with the Lake Erie Monsters and appearing in four games with the Fort Wayne Komets. In 16 games for the Monsters he was 7-5-1 with a 3.19 goals against and .900 save percentage. Aittokallio was 3-1 with a 4.90 goals against and .823 save percentage with Fort Wayne. 

 

Talent Analysis

The Finnish netminder relies on his athleticism to make saves. He will need to be more reliant on his technique to be able to compete as an NHL goaltender.

Future

Aittokallio signed a deal with Karpat Oulu in Finland in July before signing a one-year contract with Colorado as a restricted free agent in August 2015. The 23-year-old is enjoying a bounce back year in his native country in 2015-16, sharing time with Sami Rajaniemi in net for Karpat after the retirement of Iiro Tarkki and backstopping the team to the Champions League final against Frolunda of the SHL. With Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard in the Avalanche system opportunities are limited for goaltending prospects. Aittokallio's success this season could lead to opportunities elsewhere in the future.

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