Penn State men’s hockey commit Aarne Talvitie, a sixth-round selection of the New Jersey Devils, excelled for his native Finland at the World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Mich.
While Talvitie, a center who can also play left wing, may not address a pressing need for New Jersey’s organization, his strong offseason has turned heads in the hockey world.
It started at the Devils’ development camp, where his strong performance caught the attention of assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald, but Talvitie still flew largely under the radar while most focused on No. 1 overall pick Nico Hischier. Talvitie’s tremendous year continued at the showcase, which was held July 29 through Aug. 5.
While his numbers weren’t spectacular (two goals in five games), Talvitie’s all-around performance was noticed by those in attendance, including Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News. The Finn’s 200-foot game, active stick, and speed all impressed Kennedy, who also reported Talvitie’s decision to play in Finland next year instead of Sioux Falls (USHL).
— Devils Insiders (@DevilsInsiders) August 5, 2017
Talvitie won’t join the Nittany Lions until the 2018-19 season, but his addition couldn’t come at a better time for Guy Gadowsky’s squad.
By then, forwards Andrew Sturtz and Chase Berger will be seniors, and there is always the possibility that one of the other NHL draftees on the roster will sign a pro contract with their respective franchise. If the current roster changes enough, the Finn could be a key part of the team as a freshman.
Fellow Penn State commit Evan Barratt, who suited up for the USA White squad, also participated in the World Junior Summer Showcase.