Minnesota Wild Prospect Kaapo Kahkonen Wins AHL Goalie of the Year

Minnesota Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen (31) stops a shot on goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The AHL has officially announced that Iowa Wild Goalie Kaapo Kähkönen has won the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s most outstanding goalie for the 2019-2020 season.

Kaapo Kähkönen, the 23 year old prospect from Finland, was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the 2014 NHL Draft 109th overall. Although Kähkönen was drafted in 2014, he didn’t come to the U.S. to play for the Iowa Wild, (Minnesota’s AHL affiliate) until the 2018-2019 season. Kaapo posted a .908 save percentage, with a 2.78 goals against average and a record of 17-14-8 in his rookie season with the Iowa Wild… but was clearly just getting started.

Kähkönen played the majority of the 2019-2020 season with in Iowa, except for five games in late November, when he was called up to Minnesota while Devan Dubnyk was away from the team. Kähkönen played pretty well during his 5 game stint with Minnesota, recording a .913 save percentage and a 3-1-0 record. Kähkönen secured his first NHL win against the New Jersey Devils in a 3-2 victory. 

Kaapo Kähkönen’s most impressive play was this last season with the Iowa Wild, though, securing a .927 save percentage, a 25-6-3 record, and 7 shutouts. Kaapo piled up the accolades in only his second season in the U.S.. Kähkönen led the league in wins (25), was selected to the AHL all star game, the AHL all-1st team, and now tops off the year with this “Goalie of the Year” award. 

While Kähkönen might still have a while before he inevitably takes the reins from current Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, it is exciting to see promise and improvement at the goaltender position, moving forward.

Cam Thompson | Minnesota Sports Fan

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