All of a sudden, the Edmonton Oilers have a few goaltending prospects. Tyler Bunz had a phenomenal year with Medicine Hat, Olivier Roy was one of two goalies to play for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships, and in the 2011 draft, the Oilers added Frans Tuohimaa and Samu Perhonen, both Finnish netminders who played in Finland's U20 league. Tuohimaa had a season to remember, but he's also a year and a half older than Perhonen, and has the distinction of having passed through an entry draft already. Perhonen, on the other hand, was the fourth goalie selected in 2011.
Previous Rank: N/A
I'll be up front with you here and say that I really don't know if Perhonen is any good, but there are some encouraging signs. He was good enough to be the starting goaltender on his junior team, and his .922 save percentage in 29 regular season games was good enough for fourth in that league (min. 20 GP), but it wasn't historically good for an 17 year-old or anything like that. He didn't have a consistent back-up, but there were two guys who played six games in relief with one doing significantly better (.946) and another doing significantly worse (.914). So it's a good season, but not spectacular.
The scouting reports are mixed too. Here's what Kirk Leudeke had to say about the neminder in March:
Central's top European netminder at midterm has... got perhaps the greatest upside of any goaltender in this class. One NHL scout very familiar with him oozed about his technical excellence, mental toughness and mature game despite being a few days short of 18.
After a poor U18 tournament (he got shelled pretty badly, and it sounds like a lot of the bad was him playing poorly), Perhonen's stock dropped a little bit, but I don't think that's worth getting worried about. We are, after all, talking about what amounts to a bad week. The guys at Red Line Report (h/t to Lowetide) don't agree:
He plays way too hyper a style for our liking with a lot of wasted movement. He overcommits on everything near his crease and often ends up beating himself. He also lacks any sense of anticipation for developing plays and comes up small on the big stage in important games. We suspect he'll be taken fairly high on his very projectable size/athleticism combination, but he'll require years of refining and technique work with a good goalie coach to realize his potential.
So... that's not so positive, but I do wonder how much of the assessment came from watching him in that one tournament where he played poorly, especially since his U20 team won the league championship for crying out loud. As far as the "projectable size" goes, Perhonen is listed by some folks at 6'3''and others at 6'5'', but either way, it's fair to say that the guy covers a lot of the net. He's years away from the NHL (if he ever makes it), but you never know with goalies. He could be good.