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»
No country has had as much success developing goaltenders in recent years as Finland.
But with 14 Finland-trained goalies playing in North America and another nine playing in Europe in either the KHL or in Sweden's SHL, the number of drafted prospects playing in Finland's Liiga has dwindled to just five.
The Edmonton Oilers had four prospects playing in Europe for the 2012-13 season, the most notable being defensive prospect Oscar Klefbom who, despite being injured for the majority of the 2012-13 season, is one of the Oilers’ most anticipated defensive prospects. The Oilers also have defenseman Erik Gustafsson and a pair of goaltending prospects with Samu Perhonen and Frans Tuohimaa who are both showing signs of potential, although neither are quite blue chip prospects as of yet.
Outside of 2011 first round pick Oscar Klefbom, the picture in Europe and in the NCAA for the Oilers is one of depth prospects and long shots. This is in part due to a preference for CHL players in the Stu McGregor draft era, and in part due to some of the higher quality Europeans and college picks (like Tyler Pitlick, Martin Marincin, and Martin Gernat) making the move to the CHL after they were drafted. Beyond Klefbom, for whom the organization has high hopes, any of these players who become even a quality depth NHL player would be considered a bonus for the team.
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