Former Wild Prospect Niko Hovinen Signed By Philadelphia

Big body, big shot-blocker. That made more sense in my head.

Remember Niko Hovinen? The 6'7" Finnish goaltender who the Wild drafted in the fifth round of the James Sheppard 2006 Draft? Well it looks like he has re-appeared in North America after Minnesota Wild relinquished his rights as the Philadelphia Flyers announced today that they had signed Hovinen to an entry-level deal similar to Dennis Endras. Right now it appears as if Hovinen will spend next season in Europe and then come over to North America in 2012 but that's not set in stone. It would make sense given that he is still a wildcard and the Flyers are in a position where they can wait much like Minnesota with Endras.

On the Minnesota end it was a little disappointing to let Hovinen go. It's not as if he was lighting up SM-Liiga after being drafted; if anything Hovinen was a backup and looking to be a bust. However, there aren't too many goalies with the tools and 6'7" body which Hovinen possesses and that speaks well despite the plethora of Wild prospects. This past season has served as a wakeup call, as he responded well with a .921 save percentage and 17-25-5 in 49 appearances (his team finished last) alongside being the third-string goaltender for Finland's World Championship-winning team. I can't be too disappointed given Minnesota has goaltending depth but the hope as a Wild fan is that this doesn't turn out to be another Pekka Rinne or even for Philadelphia another Sergei Bobrovsky. It's not like we've been burned before.

1 comment:

  1. I honestly have to say that I completely disagreed with Fletcher's decision not to sign this guy. Now we have the Kuemper mess on our hands and when we drafted him, we had this huge and acrobatic Finnish goal tender in the system.

    I didn't get it.