2020-21 Team: HIFK U20 / U20 SM-sarja
Date of Birth: February 26, 2003
Place of Birth: Espoo, Finland
Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt: 176 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 4th (amongst EU goaltenders)
- Peter Baracchini’s Final Rankings: 134th
As far as mid-tier goaltending prospects go, there’s a lot to like about Finnish prospect Aku Koskenvuo heading into the 2021 NHL Draft. At 6-foot-4, he has that large, NHL-caliber frame that general managers love, but despite his size, he moves in the net with a surprising amount of speed and athleticism.
Over the last few seasons, Koskenvuo has put together a solid statistical resume. In 2020-21, he played 13 games for HIFK U20, posting 2.92 goals-against average (GAA) and a .893 save percentage. While these numbers don’t jump off the paper, they are still solid considering his age and opponents. He also played in six games at the WJC-18, and while his statistics were rough (4.23 GAA, .874 SV%), he still played well in his starts.
What this leaves you with is a player with a great toolkit to build upon that will need a lot of time to develop the finer points of the game, like his positioning in the net. However, since he is committed to playing at Harvard starting in the 2022-23 season, Koskenvuo could be in the right position to get this time to learn and grow his game.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
With this in mind, he will likely play another season in Finland then get up to four more seasons to develop at Harvard. This would make him the perfect candidate for a team to select later in the draft who isn’t in need of a goaltender for the near future.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Aku Koskenvuo– NHL Draft Projection
As a big-bodied goaltender with a strong foundation to build upon, Koskenvuo is the sort of player who will hear his name called at the 2021 NHL Draft. His best case scenario involves a team falling in love with his toolkit, causing them to take a bit of a reach on him in Round 3.
If this doesn’t happen, he could slip to the late fifth or sixth round. It seems unlikely that he would fall past the early sixth-round, as his intangibles should be enough for a team to take a chance on him at that point in the draft.
The goalie for Finland’s U18 team. He stood on his head to keep them in games. In the Russia game alone they should’ve been down 9-0 if it weren’t for him.Austin Brass – diebytheblade.com
The 6-foot-4 Koskenvuo gives you a lot to be optimistic about. For a player of his stature, he moved well both laterally and out beyond the top of his crease.Shaun Richardson (From Aku Koskenvu Game Report, FCHockey, Jun 2, 2021
- Moves fast in the net
- Has great athleticism, allowing him to make unexpected saves
- Tracks the puck well
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
While Koskenvuo has NHL size, he needs to do better at how he is using it to fill in the net. He can often find himself out of position, causing gaps in his coverage which gives opponents ample room to score with a well-placed shot.
Ultimately, Koskenvuo’s weaknesses can be fixed if he is given time to develop his skillset. He has the intangibles of an NHL-starting goaltender, meaning that a team could be rewarded with a late-round pick who can take on starting time five years down the road.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 5/5
Every now and again, a goaltender is selected later in a draft who ultimately develops into a top-tier prospect and an NHL starter. While it is unfair to put those expectations on Koskenvuo, he strikes me as one of those players that we could look back on in three to five years and wonder how he fell to the later rounds of the draft. His ceiling is high, but his floor is low, meaning that he could just as easily never make it to even the AHL.