Chicago Blackhawks goaltending prospect Kevin Lankinen was one of the biggest surprises in the IIHF Men’s World Championship. The 24-year-old netminder posted a 7-1-0 record and was a big reason why Finland was able to come away with the gold. Lankinen stunned Team Russia in the semifinals with a 29-save shutout, making big save after big save in the process. Here’s a look at some of the saves Kevin Lankinen made against Russia.
The Finnish goaltender wasn’t done yet though, as he made 43 saves in the gold-medal game vs. Canada. Although Canada outshot the Finns 44-22, Lankinen kept his composure and played his position beautifully. He held Canada to just one goal, as he did in the tournament’s opening game. The Helsinki, Finland native had the best goals-against average of the tournament (1.50) while also having the second-best save percentage (.942). Only Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded a higher save percentage. Kevin Lankinen has not played a game at the NHL level in his career, but he sure looked like a crafty veteran for most of the tournament.
Kevin Lankinen’s Future
While Lankinen spent most of last year as a backup for the Rockford IceHogs, he is expected to be their starter for the upcoming season. He has one year left on his current contract, but he will likely get an extension after his performance at the World Championship. Nonetheless, this is a very crucial season coming up for Kevin Lankinen. Some believe that he could potentially become the Blackhawks goaltender of the future. Corey Crawford is on the last year of his current contract, and he’s going to turn 35 this season. Not to mention two concussions that have kept him out for an extended period of time. It might be a little early for Blackhawks fans to have such high hopes for Lankinen, but it sure was exciting to watch him play during the IIHF Men’s World Championship.
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