ST. LOUIS - Back in May, the St. Louis Blues signed promising young goalie prospect Ville Husso to a three-year entry-level contract.
Husso, 21, has spent the last three seasons with HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish Elite League, where he’s post a 63-33-18 record, recording a 1.98 goals-against average and a .922 save-percentage.
He led his team to the finals last season, going 9-6 with a stellar 1.55 goals-against average, .935 save-percentage and four shutouts, including two in the final round.
Husso was widely considered the top-ranked European goaltender at the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia, where the Blues selected him 94th overall.
We caught up with Husso during Blues Prospect Camp on Monday to talk hockey, being in St. Louis and his dreams of playing in the NHL. Below is our full Q&A.
STLOUISBLUES.COM: You’re here at Prospect Camp with 29 other NHL hopefuls. How much do you look forward to this?
HUSSO: When I was born, maybe two years old, I remember that the NHL was where I wanted to be some day. I’m getting closer and closer all the time and this is closer, too. I have to work more and more to make (the NHL) get closer.
BLUES: Do you consider it important to come here to St. Louis to familiarize yourself with some of your peers and get to know the city that drafted you?
HUSSO: It’s really important to come here. You can meet new players here and probably your next season’s teammates. It’s really nice to be here and it helps a lot when you come back the next time.
BLUES: If you were dreaming of playing in the NHL when you were two years old, how special was it to hear your named called at the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia?
HUSSO: It was an amazing feeling when I heard my name. It’s unbelievable that it happened. I was so happy.
BLUES: For the fans in St. Louis that haven’t seen you play yet, how would you describe your style of play?
HUSSO: I’m a big-sized goalie, butterfly-style. I like to read off my defense guys, and I like to be a third defenseman in our zone.
BLUES: Is there a goalie in the NHL right now that you would compare yourself to?
HUSSO: I’d say Tuuka Rask. He plays the way he feels - sometimes he’s so angry. I’d like to play (with that emotion) and get to the same level.
BLUES: You’ve put up some pretty impressive numbers in the last three years in the Finnish Elite League. Do you feel like you’re ready to take the next step and come here to play in North America, perhaps with the Chicago Wolves?
HUSSO: Yeah. Last summer, I took big steps off ice. It helped me in the season, and my last season was a really, really big step on the ice. We won the regular season and we played in the finals, but we lost. It was a really big year for me, and I think I’m ready. I’m ready to move on.
BLUES: What do you need to do to get to the next level? What can you do to improve your game and get noticed here at prospect camp?
HUSSO: I could be faster and get more power. That’s my biggest thing.
BLUES: This is the second year that you’ve participated here at prospect camp. What have you learned so far?
HUSSO: Last year I remember (Colton) Parayko and (Robby) Fabbri. They were just prospects and they took really big steps last year. Both guys played with the Blues in the NHL, and it’s nice to see how they did. I’m going to try to do the same thing.
BLUES: Have you thought about what it will feel like to put the Blue Note on and play in your first game?
HUSSO: It’s going to be the biggest day ever when I play my first game in the NHL.