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 Nashville Predators figured to make changes once long-time coach Barry Trotz was replaced and Peter Laviolette was hired. If the addition of veterans like James Neal, Mike Ribeiro, Olli Jokinen and Derek Roy has changed things in the current lineup, the impact that some of the prospects in the pipeline will have could make things really interesting.
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 Nashville Predators held the fourth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, and found themselves the consensus “luckiest team in the draft.” Considered by many to be the best prospect available in the draft, Seth Jones fell from a potential first overall pick right into the hands of David Poile at fourth overall. The Preds entered the day with 10 draft picks and picked 10 players, but only after trading the 112th overall pick to St. Louis for 203rd overall and a pick in next year’s fourth round.