Justus Annunen, a 6-foot-4, 217-pound goaltender, was chosen by the Colorado Avalanche in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft. It was the third consecutive year that the Avs selected a European goalie in the middle rounds after choosing Petr Kvaca in the fourth round in 2017 and Adam Werner in the fifth round in 2016.
The Kempele, Finland, native played for Oulun Kärpät's junior team during the 2017-18 campaign. He appeared in 26 games with the squad and recorded a 2.31 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. After the season, he won a gold medal with Team Finland at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship.
Annunen talked with ColoradoAvalanche.com about being drafted and getting ready for the upcoming campaign.
How was your experience at Avalanche development camp during the summer?
"It was a great experience. There were a lot of great guys, good young players. It was cool to get to know the guys and the organization."
What was it like working with Avalanche goalie coach Jussi Parkkila at development camp?
"You can't do much in a few days, but he gave me a few good tips and things like that. It's awesome to have a Finnish goalie coach. It helps when he speaks the same language as you."
What made you want to become a goalie?
"I tried it when I was a kid and I liked it. That's when I knew I wanted to become a goalie."
When did you start playing hockey?
"I started playing when I was about 6 years old."
What is your favorite hockey memory?
"When I helped Finland win the world U-18 championship this past spring."
How would you describe your playing style?
"I am a tall goalie, and I feel like I do some extra moves. I am big, and I think I use my size well."
Who was your favorite player growing up?
"Pekka Rinne. He is from the same town as I am. It's a small city, so it's great to have that kind of goalie to look up to."
What are your plans for the upcoming season?
"I think I'm going to play the second-highest league in Finland, but I think I'm going to have a few games with the pro team (Oulun Karpat)."