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Vehvilainen named top goalie in Finland for second year in row

Netminder recently signed contract with Blue Jackets

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider /

In case there was any doubt who the best goaltender is in the Finnish Liiga, Blue Jackets draft pick Veini Vehvilainen has removed it.

For the second straight season, Vehvilainen has captured the Urpo Ylönen trophy, which is presented to the best goalie in the league each year.

Vehvilainen, who signed a two-year entry-level deal with the Blue Jackets this past week, was 25-8-5 with a 1.58 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and six shutouts in 38 games with Karpat, leading the league in wins, GAA, SV% and shutouts. The netminder also registered a postseason league-best 1.47 GAA and four shutouts with a 11-6 record and .939 SV% to help Karpat advance to Game 7 of the championship final.

A sixth-round draft pick of the Blue Jackets in last summer's entry draft, Vehvilainen also won the Urpo Ylönen trophy a year ago when he had a 1.89 GAA and .925 save percentage.

The 22-year-old native of Jyvaskyla, Finland, has gone 64-30-21 with a 1.83 GAA, .926 SV% and 13 shutouts in 119 career Liiga games with Karpat, Sport and JYP since 2015.

Tweet from @smliiga: Urpo Yl��nen -palkinto ��� #Liiga-kauden 2018���19 paras maalivahti:Veini Vehvil��inen, #K��rp��t! 👏🏆

Vehvilainen also has international experience, including earning a gold medal with Finland in this spring's World Championships. Vehvilainen also competed at the 2016 (gold) and 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships and 2015 IIHF World Under-18 Championships (silver).

The Blue Jackets have goaltender Elvis Merzlikins under contract for next year, while Joonas Korpisalo is a restricted free agent the team is expected to re-sign after he spent the previous four seasons with the team. Vehvilainen could push for time, though, play with AHL Cleveland or be loaned back to Finland depending on how the goaltending situation shakes out. 

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