A technically-sound goaltender who has played well in big games. Slightly undersized in comparison to NHL goaltenders of today.
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July 2021 – Vehviläinen has signed with Brynäs of the SHL after his agent was unable to facilitate a trade that would lead to an NHL opportunity. The Leafs did not extend Vehviläinen a qualifying offer, lapsing his NHL rights. Nick Richard
March 2021 – Vehviläinen has been traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defender Mikko Lehtonen. This could give Vehviläinen an opportunity as Toronto doesn’t really seem sold on their pipeline in net at the moment. He likely won’t get NHL time but with the injury issues in the crease, there may be an opportunity to get on the bench as a backup as Joseph Woll has on a few occasions. At that point, you’re one bad game away from the starter from making his Leafs debut. It will be interesting to see where Toronto thinks Vehviläinen fits in as the season progresses. Tony Ferrari
September 2020 – The Finnish netminder has been loaned to JYP (Liiga). He lost his only pre-season matchup in a shootout, giving up two goals. Expect him to return to Cleveland when the season begins. Dave Hall
August 2020 – Although he was handed the reigns late in the season, it was not an overly successful final stretch to his AHL rookie campaign. He wrapped up his year with an eight-game winless streak, finishing with a 10-18-4 record with three shutouts. Owners should take his final stretch with a grain of salt, as the team in front of him was far from stellar. The 23-year-old continues to hold high value and could very well jump up as a solid backup option next season should any injuries occur at the top. Dave Hall
January 2020 – With his counterpart Matiss Kivlenieks heading to the NHL due to injuries, Vehviläinen takes on responsibilities as the Monster’s number-one net-minder. The Finnish standout has made a smooth transition to American soil in his first year, growing more confident with each match-up. Despite his average 7-8-1 record, the 22-year-old has posted two shutouts to go with a respectable 2.01 GAA and a 0.923 save percentage. While this role will not last forever, a successful showing could definitely fast-track his spot in the organizations’ depth charts. Regardless, the 6’1 backstop continues to show a high ceiling while developing into a very solid pro-goaltender. Dave Hall
November 2019 – It has been an impressive start for the rookie playing in his first AHL season. Through five games, the 6’1 net-minder sports a 2.02 goals against and a .932 save percentage to go with his 3-2-0 record. This includes a 29 save shutout, which he posted in just his fourth game. It is early, but the 22-year-old looks to have made a smooth transition to North America after showing very impressive numbers overseas. Vehvilainen is considered a backup for the Monsters this season behind Matiss Kivlenieks. However, if he continues this impressive play, you could see him challenge for that number one spot down the stretch. The organization could very well have a sixth-round steal on their hands. Dave Hall
June 2019 – Vehvilainen has won the Urpo Ylonen trophy for the second consecutive year. The award is given by the Finnish Liiga to the best goalie of the season. If it was not already evident that Vehvilainen has nothing more to prove in the the SM-Liiga, it should be by now. Having signed a two-year entry-level contract this month, expect him to compete for a backup role in Cleveland this season. Frank Pellegrini
June 2019 – Vehviläinen has signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Blue Jackets. It’s been reported that he’ll push for an NHL job in camp, but with five goaltenders signed, it’s likely the NHL or back to the Finnish Liiga for the 22-year-old in 2019-20. Cam Robinson
June 2019 – Vehviläinen was absolutely stellar in 2018-19. The 22-year-old netminder finished the regular season with a 1.58 GAA and a .933 save percentage in career-high 38 Liiga games. When playoff time came, he was even better. If the sixth-round draft pick signs an entry-level contract this summer, a backup role in Cleveland could be his to lose next fall. Frank Pellegrini
February 2019 – Vehviläinen went undrafted multiple times before being selected by Columbus in 2018. He currently plays for Karpat in Finland’s Liiga and has dominated there over the past two seasons. Last year, he won the Urpo Ylonen Award as the league’s top goalie. This campaign, he is sporting a stellar 1.41 GAA and a .941 save percentage.
The long-term future of Sergei Bobrovsky and the Columbus Blue Jackets does not look promising. If he is traded or does not re-sign, we could see Vehviläinen suit up for the Cleveland Monsters as early as next season. His best-case scenario is that he follows the career path of Pekka Rinne. The reigning Vezina trophy winner (Rinne) was also drafted late as an over-ager and dominated the Liiga for multiple seasons. The worst-case scenario for Vehviläinen is that he enjoys a successful career in the AHL with some sprinkled NHL call-ups. Frank Pellegrini