Penn State Hockey’s Aarne Talvitie ‘Ahead Of Schedule’ In Recovery From Torn ACL
New Jersey Devils assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald said Penn State men’s hockey wing Aarne Talvitie is “ahead of schedule” in his recovery from a torn ACL, according to The Athletic‘s Corey Masisak.
Talvitie will attend the Devils’ development camp, which has taken place in mid-July in each year since New Jersey drafted the rising sophomore in 2017. However, he may not skate and take part in the practices and drills there.
“Our doctors have checked on the rehab and conferred with the Penn State doctors. He’s ahead of schedule,” Fitzgerald said. “He’ll come to development camp. I’m not sure he’ll be ready [to participate] — him and [fellow Devils prospect Fabian] Zetterlund — but shortly after that, they should be ready.”
Talvitie tore his ACL in the gold medal game of the 2019 U-20 World Junior Championship in Vancouver after an awkward collision with Team USA defenseman Mikey Anderson. He returned to the game after suffering the injury towards the end of the first period, but appeared to aggravate it in the third and didn’t return.
Initial reports out of Talvitie’s home country of Finland indicated the injury would take 6-9 months to fully heal, and the Devils’ development camp will take place approximately seven months after he underwent surgery.
The sharpshooting wing’s college hockey career got off to a promising start before his injury. Talvitie scored five goals and chipped in 11 assists in 17 games played as he, Nikita Pavlychev, and Sam Sternschein created a formidable trio. Talvitie’s goal-scoring ability, Pavlychev’s size, and Sternschein’s balanced skillset complemented each other really well to form a line that scored consistently and shut down other teams’ top players.
Talvitie was selected as Finland’s captain for the World Junior Championship, which is the most prestigious international amateur tournament in the world. He scored four goals and three assists in seven games as Finland won the gold medal against fellow Nittany Lion Evan Barratt and Team USA. Talvitie became the sixth college hockey player to captain his country to World Junior gold, and he and Barratt both won medals as Penn State’s first-ever representatives at the tournament.
The forward’s impressive freshman year left New Jersey’s assistant general manager impressed and may have even opened the door for his pro career to start sooner rather than later.
“He had a great freshman year. He was good at the World Juniors, captained the team that won the gold medal,” Fitzgerald told The Athletic. “That should say a lot about his character and what he can bring to a team. If [Penn State] had brought Aarne in last year [for the 2017-18 season], maybe he stays three years, but now, he may only stay two.
“The player has to tell you with his play that he’s ready, and the kid has to want to leave. Education is important to his family.”
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Penn State earned a ranking in the preseason AP Top 25 poll for the third consecutive season.
The past five No. 15s in the preseason AP Top 25 poll have been a mixed bag of seven-loss mediocrity and 9-4 records, but the 2017 Georgia Bulldogs proved that starting at No. 15 isn’t all bad.
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