The Minnesota Wild have persuaded another European prospect to join their organization, signing Kaapo Kahkonen to a two-year entry-level contract. Kahkonen has played the last three seasons in Finland’s Liiga, the highest level of professional hockey in the country.
Kahkonen, 21, was selected by the Wild in the fourth round of the 2014 draft but has yet to play in North America. He might be best remembered as one of the goaltenders for Finland’s gold medal winning 2016 World Junior team, but many in the Finnish leagues know him for scoring a pair of empty net goals in the same year (though playing for different rosters).
This year, Kahkonen recorded a 20-23-12 record while putting up a .920 save percentage as the lone starter for Lukko Rauma. Suiting up for 56 games was easily the heaviest load of his career, but one he’ll have to get used to if he’s to join the North American ranks.
Where he fits into the Minnesota organization isn’t clear yet as the team already has some veteran AHL goaltenders in the system, but he’ll still add some more skill to a pipeline that will eventually need to replace Devan Dubnyk at the NHL level.