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Vehvilainen’s transition to North American hockey has been spectacular

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An damage to a goaltender has a ripple impact on a complete group. The one to Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo isn’t any completely different. When the group’s starter went down with a knee damage that may maintain him out Four-6 weeks in a Dec. 29 sport vs. Chicago, everybody within the organizational meals chain moved up a peg.  Korpisalo’s backup, Elvis Merzlikins, grew to become the starter. Matiss Kivlenieks was summoned from AHL Cleveland to be Merzlikins’ backup. And Veini Vehvilainen grew to become the No. 1 goalie in Cleveland, tasked with beginning nearly all of the video games. And to listen to the 22-year-old Finn speak about it, that is fantastic with him. “I wish to play, like, each sport,” he mentioned with a smile and amusing. “But it surely’s not sensible.” The best way he is been enjoying, although, the Monsters have been comfortable to have Vehvilainen — who was recalled to Columbus on Wednesday — seeing as a lot time in internet as attainable. After two straight seasons of dominating Finland’s Liiga, Vehvilainen has made a rapid transition to North American hockey, posting a 2.22 goals-against common that sits fifth within the AHL together with a .918 save proportion. “He is been fairly regular,” Monsters head coach Mike Eaves mentioned. “He is had his development curves as properly. Most of it has to do together with his capacity to play the puck, realizing when to cease a puck (behind the web) or keep within the internet, however he works laborious each day. “He is extra snug, extra assured, getting used to the North American sport as a result of the puck comes at you faster and it’s important to be prepared for that. He is gotten extra snug with that. He is making higher choices in enjoying the pucks and he is feeling it. It is good to see.” He is executed it with a method that is not at all times flashy however get outcomes. At 6-foot-Zero, Vehvilainen is just not the most important goaltender on the planet, so he has to make up for it by fast actions and glorious positioning. That is what he does, and consequently, it appears as if the puck simply finds him, whether or not it is coming by site visitors or if he is shifting facet to facet to seek for a rebound.  “He at all times has good rebound management, which is actually good for our protection,” Monsters ahead Trey Repair-Wolansky mentioned. “Simply making these saves once you want them, that may actually carry a group up. He does job of that.” The most important adjustment for Vehvilainen has been getting used to North American hockey, as it’s for about any goalie that comes over from Europe. The challenges construct on each other due to the smaller rink utilized in AHL and NHL hockey — the pictures come sooner, the angles are tighter, and the shooters have extra talent.  It makes for a transition interval, however Vehvilainen says it is one he is feeling extra snug with each day. “It is a lot better than in Traverse Metropolis,” Vehvilainen mentioned, referring to the annual September prospects event the place he made his debut with the group. “It felt very quick, and every part was new. I really feel a lot extra snug. It is making my sport a lot simpler.” Snagged with a sixth-round choose within the 2018 draft — one which could possibly be a bonanza for the Blue Jackets, because it contains World Juniors medal winners Liam Foudy and Kirill Marchenko at ahead, fellow World Juniors participant Tim Berni and Repair-Wolansky — Vehvilainen has executed nothing however impress lately.  He was named the highest goalie within the Liiga two years in a row, posting a 1.89 GAA and .925 save proportion two seasons in the past and a 1.58 GAA and .933 save proportion final yr whereas taking Kärpät to the Liiga title two years in the past and a Recreation 7 within the finals final yr. With the transition to North America, Vehvilainen mentioned he is needed to spend extra time on his knees masking the underside of the web blocking pucks given how rapidly they get to the entrance of the web, however all in all, he is getting used to every part that his transition entails. “It has been a giant problem getting used to issues on the ice and off the ice, however I’ve began getting used to it,” he mentioned. “I believe I’m very snug proper now. I believe we have now an excellent group and I benefit from the hockey.”

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