Urho Vaakanainen

Urho Vaakanainen (born 1 January 1999) is a Finnish professional ice hockey defenceman currently playing for the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League (AHL) as a prospect to the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected 18th overall by the Bruins in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Urho Vaakanainen
Born (1999-01-01) 1 January 1999 (age 22)
Joensuu, Finland
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)
Position Defence
Shoots Left
NHL team (P)
Cur. team
Former teams
Boston Bruins
Providence Bruins (AHL)
Espoo Blues
JYP Jyväskylä
SaiPa
NHL Draft 18th overall, 2017
Boston Bruins
Playing career 2015–present

Playing careerEdit

Vaakanainen played as a youth in his native Finland with the Espoo Blues. He made his professional debut with the Espoo Blues in the Liiga during the 2015–16 season, contributing with 6 points in 25 games. On 28 April 2016, Vaakanainen signed a one-year deal with hometown club, JYP Jyväskylä.[1]

Vaakanainen earned a regular role within the JYP Jyväskylä blueline in the 2016–17 season, appearing in a career high 41 games, in matching his offensive output with 6 points. He registered 3 assists in 14 post-season games before losing in 7 games in the semi-finals to KalPa.[2] On 5 May 2017, Vaakanainen left JYP Jyväskylä after just one season and signed a one-year contract with his third Liiga club, SaiPa.[3] Vaakanainen's progress was recognised as he was drafted in the first-round, 18th overall, in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.[4]

On 13 June 2018, Vaakanainen signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Bruins.[5] On 20 October, Vaakanainen was called up for the first time from the AHL's Providence Bruins farm team[6] and he made his NHL debut that night in a 2–1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.[7]

International playEdit

Medal record
Representing   Finland
Ice hockey
World Junior Championships
  2019 Canada
IIHF U18 Championships
  2016 United States
  2017 Slovakia

Vaakanainen represented the Finnish under-18 national team in the 2016 IIHF World U18 Championships with whom he won gold medals and then finished in second place in 2017 IIHF World U18 Championships. He then played for the Finnish under-20 national team in 2017 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships and 2018 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships where they finished ninth and sixth respectively. Vaakanainen would finally win gold in the 2019 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, his third time in the tournament as Team Finland was victorious against Team USA in the gold medal round.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

Vaakanainen was born in Joensuu. His father Harri Vaakanainen played ice hockey in the Finnish 2. Divisioona, which is the fourth highest level in Finland.[9]

Career statisticsEdit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2014–15 Espoo Blues Jr. A 30 4 8 12 34 9 2 0 2 0
2015–16 Espoo Blues Jr. A 18 2 11 13 8 2 0 0 0 2
2015–16 Espoo Blues Liiga 25 1 5 6 8
2016–17 JYP Jyväskylä Jr. A 1 0 0 0 0
2016–17 JYP Jyväskylä Liiga 41 2 4 6 12 14 0 3 3 2
2016–17 JYP-Akatemia Mestis 3 0 1 1 29
2017–18 SaiPa Liiga 43 4 7 11 24 9 0 1 1 0
2018–19 Providence Bruins AHL 30 4 10 14 10 4 0 0 0 2
2018–19 Boston Bruins NHL 2 0 0 0 0
2019–20 Providence Bruins AHL 54 5 9 14 18
2019–20 Boston Bruins NHL 5 0 0 0 0
2020–21 SaiPa Liiga 2 1 0 1 2
2020–21 Boston Bruins NHL 9 0 2 2 2
2020–21 Providence Bruins AHL 11 1 2 3 6
Liiga totals 111 8 16 24 46 23 0 4 4 2
NHL totals 16 0 2 2 2

InternationalEdit

Year Team Event Result GP G A Pts PIM
2014 Finland U17 4th 6 0 1 1 2
2015 Finland U17 5th 5 0 0 0 6
2016 Finland WJC18   7 1 2 3 6
2016 Finland IH18 6th 4 0 1 1 2
2017 Finland WJC18   5 3 3 6 2
2017 Finland WJC 9th 6 1 0 1 4
2018 Finland WJC 6th 5 0 1 1 2
2019 Finland WJC   7 0 4 4 6
Junior totals 45 5 12 17 30

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "JYP recruit hometown prospect Vaakanainen" (in Finnish). JYP Jyväskylä. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Tilastot – #13 Vaakanainen, Urho". Liiga. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Urho Vaakanainen to SaiPa" (in Finnish). SaiPa. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Bruins select Urho Vaakanainen with 18th overall pick". NESN. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Bruins Sign Urho Vaakanainen To 3-Year Entry-Level Contract". NHL.com. 13 June 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Bruins Recall Urho Vaakanainen on an Emergency Basis". nhl.com/bruins. Boston Bruins. 20 October 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2018. Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced today, October 20, that the team has recalled Urho Vaakanainen from the Providence Bruins (AHL) on an emergency basis.
  7. ^ Russo, Eric (21 November 2018). "Vaakanainen Debuts in Bruins OT Loss to Vancouver". NHL.com. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  8. ^ Bruins, Boston (5 January 2019). "Congrats to #NHLBruins prospect @UVaakanainen on capturing the gold medal with Finland at the 2019 #WorldJuniors!pic.twitter.com/SzUb2zsZlP". @NHLBruins. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Harri Vaakanainen player profile". eliteprospects.com. 3 April 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2017.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Trent Frederic
Boston Bruins first round draft pick
2017
Succeeded by
John Beecher