With their first selection of the sixth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the New Jersey Devils drafted forward Aarne Talvitie of the Espoo Blues’ U-20 team at 160th overall. Talvitie is Finnish and continues a largely European-born draft class for the Devils this year. Let’s learn more about him.
According to Elite Prospects, Aarne Talvitie was born on February 22, 1999. He is listed at 5’11” and 198 pounds. He’s a left-hand shooting forward who has been part of the Espoo Blues organization. He has yet to appear for the senior team; he remained with Blues’s U-20 team throughout the season except when he was available to play for the U-18 Blues in their playoffs. Talvitie has also been a part of the Finnish national teams in youth tournaments; he did play on the Finnish team that took silver at this year’s World U-18 Championships. From a production standpoint, Talvitie wasn’t too shabby. He impressively put up four goals and three assists at the World U-18s. He posted thirteen goals and twenty four assists with the Blues U-20 team in this season.
Most interestingly, Talvitie will be coming to America. He has committed to play for Penn State in 2018-19. According to this post by Colin Piatt at Black Shoe Diaries, Talvitie could make the jump to North American hockey next season and play for Sioux Falls in the USHL, who drafted Talvitie in 2017. We shall see.
In terms of what he can do, Steve Kournianos did have Talvitie in his mock draft at The Draft Analyst. Here’s a quick summation of the player by Kournianos:
A feisty, hard-working forward who skates well and boasts a very good shot, especially off the pass. The versatile Talvitie is a jack-of-all trades who can be utilized on the power play or penalty kill. His shot/release combo is his bread and butter, but he’s a smart player in the defensive zone, using quick feet and formidable upper-body strength to lean on puck possessors and finish them with clean checks. Talvitie also can pass the puck and make tape-to-tape connections off the rush. His strong performance (7 points in 7 games) as Finland’s second line center at the U18 worlds should boost his draft stock, but he already distinguished himself at previous international events and in the regular season for Blues Jrs.
This is all very good. And Talvitie was a top player for the Blues junior team and the Finnish team. So why did Kournianos mock him for the seventh round and why did he end up going in the sixth?
If I can take a guess, perhaps its upside. Sure, he did well at his level of play and looked strong. But if it’s not going to translate to the next level, then there’s not really a need to be all that interested in the player.
If that guess is true, then I’m still not bothered. I like this pick. Not only because this is the sixth round, but the Devils have plenty of time on their side. Talvitie will play another season somewhere to develop and then go to Penn State. The Devils can definitely keep close tabs on him there. By the time he’s done, the Devils will know whether he’s a player worth signing and by that point, they’ll know where he figures in. I’m fine with that for a late round selection. Even better that it’s someone who did quite well at his level of play and internationally when he was drafted.
One additional point: the Devils have never had a successful draft pick come out of Finland. They haven’t drafted a Finnish player since 2007 (Vili Sopanen). If Talvitie does develop, then Ray Shero and Paul Castron can say they did something the previous regime just never did.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think about the pick? Do you like Aarne Talvitie? What do you hope for him? Please leave your answers in the comments and please vote in our poll. Thank you for reading.
The New Jersey Devils drafted Aarne Talvitie at 160th Overall (6th Rd.). What do you think of the pick?
This poll is closed
I love it!
I like the pick.
I don’t know/I’m in the middle.
I don’t like the pick.
I hate it!