The Boston Bruins have been trying to find the next young stud to patrol their blue line for the foreseeable future, and they might have found it in their 2017 first round draft selection, Urho Vaakanainen. Boston has announced that they have signed the Finnish defenseman to a three-year entry-level contract worth up to $925,000 per season.
Vaakanainen is looking to play on the Providence Bruins next year along with Jakub Zboril and Jeremy Lauzon. All three will be present come training camp and will look to make their cases to be a part of the Bruins’ roster next season. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll at least get the chance to show the team that they can be valuable pieces down the road.
Vaakanainen spent the 2017-2018 season playing for SaiPa in the Finnish Liiga, the professional hockey league of Finland. After scoring only 4 goals and 11 points in 43 games, he is more of a stay-at-home defenseman. While his offensive numbers don’t pop out at you, his defensive game is excellent, which is evident with his team-leading plus 8 rating. He also played in the World Juniors tournament, where he proved once again that his stellar defense was what got him drafted in the first round. His skating ability is sound and his defensive instincts are amazing. His ceiling is so high that he could end up playing top-4 minutes for the Baby Bruins right out of the gate. He has all the makings of a shutdown defenseman, but unfortunately, his offensive game could hinder him from playing top-4 minutes for the Bruins in the future.
It was a big step to sign him so, the Bruins can get him in the system where offensive defenseman have made a name so far. Learning from Torey Krug, Charlie McAvoy and Bruce Cassidy will be a huge help to Vaakanainen as he needs to improve his offensive game to become an NHL caliber talent.
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Photo: Boston Globe