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Islanders Henrik Tikkanen moves up to Liiga with loan

STAVANGER, NORWAY - OCTOBER 11: Alexander Ruuttu of KalPa Kuopio in action during the Champions Hockey League match between Stavanger Oilers and KalPa Kuopio at the DNB Arena on October 11, 2017 in Stavanger, Norway. (Photo by Andrew Halseid-Budd/Getty Images)
STAVANGER, NORWAY - OCTOBER 11: Alexander Ruuttu of KalPa Kuopio in action during the Champions Hockey League match between Stavanger Oilers and KalPa Kuopio at the DNB Arena on October 11, 2017 in Stavanger, Norway. (Photo by Andrew Halseid-Budd/Getty Images) /
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With their seventh-round pick at the 2020 draft, the New York Islanders selected 6’8″ Finnish goalie Henrik Tikkanen. The pick was a surprise to everyone including the player himself.

When I spoke to Tikkanen last, he didn’t think the Islanders would draft him even though they scouted him and had a discussion with him leading up to the draft. But with the 214th pick, they picked the tall first-year pro goalie.

Now, with his first pro-season delayed by the pandemic, he’s moving up from the Finnish B-league to their A-league with a loan.

New York Islanders draftee gets to continue playing rather than sit

On Tuesday, IPK indicated via email that they had sent their goalie to KalPa on loan for the season. They also sent me a nice highlight reel package that was posted on our Facebook page. If anyone hasn’t seen him play you’ll get a nice appreciation for his ability to read a play as well as effectively seal off the entire bottom portion of the net. His goaltending style might remind you of a certain Robin Lehner as well (who he molds his game on).

I don’t know where the guitar came from in this video and frankly nor do the guys at IPK.

Tikkanen made the jump to the pro-level this season after a few years playing in HIFK’s U20 program. In his final year, he played in 39 games and averaged an 0.895SV%.

His first year with IPK has been quite short, he’s only played nine games, but the Mestis league has been on hold for some time due to the pandemic. The league had already suspended for the month of December when it announced that it would not return for the month of January.

Thankfully, for the Islanders, their draft pick will not have to sit and wait for the Metis to return thanks to this loan.

He joins KalPa, who are sixth in the SM-Liiga with a 12-4-9-1 record, to be their backup netminder. The Swords – as they’re called – are a pretty good defensive team, only allowing 62 goals against just two more goals than the second-ranked TPS.

Speaking to EyesOnThePrize in May of 2019, KalPa head coach Tommi Miettinen said the following about young players that tells you how he feels about young kids and their role on the team:

"Also, for the young guys, it is important for both me and the organization that they are better all the time. Those goals go hand in hand; if the young guys become better all the time, the results will come too."

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If you were keeping track of IPK of the Mestis league because the Isles drafted their goalie, switch your attention to KalPa now. (They played today and Tikkanen was on the bench as the backup.)

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