Penn State Hockey’s Aarne Talvitie Showcases At Devils Development Camp
Incoming Penn State men’s hockey freshman Aarne Talvitie is the headliner of the team’s newest crop of players.
Talvitie was selected No. 160 overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2017 NHL Draft, the only NHL Draft pick of the six new faces arriving in Hockey Valley this season. He’s spending this week in New Jersey at the organization’s annual development camp.
Throughout the week, Talvitie will showcase his skills to New Jersey’s coaching staff, management, and fans.
On Wednesday, he took part in the team’s annual three-on-three tournament held as part of development camp. Thirty two of New Jersey’s prospects were divided into four teams and each team played three games in a round-robin format. The top two teams play advanced to the championship game.
After winning two of its three round-robin games, Talvitie and his team took home the championship with a resounding 8-2 victory in the championship game.
Here are four takeaways from the future Penn Stater’s performance during the tournament:
He’s A Shooter
Talvitie’s strongest skill was evident throughout the tournament: He can shoot the puck with the best of them.
In the championship game, Talvitie found himself in acres of space on the left wing and wired a shot into the top corner to extend his team’s lead. The goaltender had no chance on the play.
Forward Joey Anderson was on the opposing team in the championship game. Anderson, who won a national championship with Minnesota-Duluth in 2018, was impressed by Talvitie’s rapid release and power behind his shot.
“His snap shot is ridiculous,” Anderson said. “I don’t even know how you describe that. It’s so quick and it’s got pinpoint accuracy. That release and that shot, that’s top-level stuff. I know he’s going to score a lot of goals in college next year.”
Talvitie’s 34 goals in his final season of junior hockey in Finland made it pretty clear that Penn State is getting a pure goal-scorer, but he certainly passed the eye test on Wednesday morning.
Experience Is Key
Aarne Talvitie may be entering his first season of college hockey at Penn State, but he has plenty of experience in amateur hockey.
This year will mark the Finn’s second development camp with New Jersey — and it shows. Talvitie said that he feels more comfortable with his surroundings in Newark this year due to his familiarity with the organization.
He looked comfortable on Wednesday morning, making good decisions with the puck and finding open ice to make plays.
Outside of this week’s development camp, Talvitie has played 93 games of junior-A hockey in his native Finland and captained his country in the 2017 Under-18 World Junior Championships. He helped Finland win silver in the tournament with four goals and three assists in seven games.
He’s Strong On The Puck
Aarne Talvitie is not going to be an easy guy to move when he arrives in Hockey Valley.
Listed as 5’10” by Elite Prospects, Talvitie may not be the tallest guy on the ice, but he’s solid with the puck and did well to shield off defenders throughout the tournament. He makes up for what he may lack in height with plenty of natural strength, which should serve him well in the physical brand of hockey he’ll play in college.
Being strong on the puck isn’t valuable if he makes bad decisions with it, but Talvitie was also smart in possession throughout the tournament. In the first game, he held onto the puck for too long on a few occasions, but he adjusted on the fly and improved as the tournament went on.
The physical nature of college hockey makes strength in possession a must-have asset, but based on development camp, Talvitie should be just fine in this department.
Quality Competition Won’t Faze Him
New Jersey boasts one of the better prospect pools in hockey, as evidenced by the quality of his teammates and opponents throughout the tournament.
Aarne Talvitie’s team featured defenseman Ty Smith, the Devils’ first-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, and former Merrimack forward Brett Seney, the 2015 sixth-round pick and dark horse candidate to make the Devils’ opening night roster in October.
In the championship game of the tournament, Talvitie faced off against Team Stevens, which featured first-round pick Michael McLeod and former Minnesota-Duluth forward Joey Anderson, two players also expected to make strong pushes for the Devils’ opening night roster this season.
As the Big Ten continues to grow into one of the strongest conferences in college hockey, Penn State and its opponents will continue to get stronger. The fact that Talvitie fit in a very strong group of prospects is an encouraging sign for his future.
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It’s unlikely that the Illinois defense can handle the firepower of Trace McSorley, Miles Sanders, and a receivers group that seems to be improving each week.
Penn State’s gameday experience tops those at Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State? Sounds about right.
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