A Closer Look at Samu Perhonen

The first thing we learn about Samu Perhonen is that he was not a famous prospect one year ago. NHL Director of European scouting Goran Stubb: “He came, more or less, from nowhere. The first time I actually saw him play was this fall and he was not even a candidate to play for Finland’s U-18 team, but his team won the Finnish junior championship and he was the man behind it with some excellent games.”

More from Stubb and Perhonen here.

Redline Report: Did not develop as we anticipated this season and overall has been a disappointment. At one point was considered one of the top two goalies in this draft, but we’re really questionning his mental toughness – always seems to break down at key points of games. Gives up soft goals and doesn’t come up with any big stops when the team really needs them. Has great physical attributes: tall, lean, and flexible with good reflexes. But very poor techniques. Plays way too deep in net and never challanges shooters. Overcommits on everything. Slow recovering from first saves. Goes down too early and stays down too long. Doesn’t get great push off either skate. Poor puckhandler. Lacks anticipation and doesn’t appear well balanced in stance. That’s a lot of problems to overcome with size and athleticism.

ISS: An unbelievably talented goaltender who is still extremely raw. He is several years away from meeting his true potential but his combination of size, athleticism and strong technical style make him a can’t miss goaltending prospect. His performances this year were very up and down and the consistency issues will cast a lot of doubt on his value. Perhonen, is the Finnish word for butterfly, and Perhonen’s style fits his name.

Perhonen is a Finn, which means he’ll be an instant hit with Oiler fans across the universe. Lisa McRitchie had a story on him awhile back and if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly this is a goalie with some dynamite potential who may take some time to develop.


  • regular season: 29gp, 2.71 .922
  • playoffs: 12gp, 2.44 .920

His regular season performance was stellar, but much of the negative information seems to have come right after the world U18′s. Perhonen started for Finland at the world U-18 championships but struggled and seemed to lose focus at times – finishing with a pedestrian 3.52 goals against average and .875 save percentage in four games in Germany.

He was the third string goaltender for the Finns at the WJ’s a year ago, but according to various sources he might be the starter this Christmastime. He came over for the development camp at Sherwood Park, but became ill and didn’t get to show off his considerable skills.

Based on all the information I’ve read about him, Perhonen appears to be a goalie that scouts would have taken in a heartbeat based on physical tools. Some questions arose about his ability to perform under pressure after his U18 performance. There’s a question in regard to his ability to be a big game goaltender.

Since I don’t believe in that kind of thing, Perhonen would appear to be a top flight prospect whose draft number was hurt because of his performance in the tournament of small sample sizes. Beauty.

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