On the heels of Christian Stoever committing last week (for 2019), the Warriors picked up a commitment from ’00-born Finnish goalie Jere Huhtamaa on Friday. The arrivals of the two goalies will be staggered, with Stoever coming in first, which allows the Warriors to bolster their goaltending position for several years down the road. With two goaltenders (Craig Pantano and Drew Vogler) graduating after this upcoming season, Stoever is projected to arrive in 2019 with Huhtamaa arriving a few years later.
“Jere Huhtamaa is a big goalie with strong net coverage and rebound control,” wrote Finnish Junior Hockey. “Has calm demeanor, stays patient instead of committing too soon. Quick glove. Former HIFK U18 standout played for Blues U20 & U18 last season, was part of FIN U18 gold-winning team.”
Huhtamaa has come up through the HIFK and Blues programs in Finland, and will play this season for Jokerit’s U20 team. Huhtamma is also a goaltender on Finland’s U18 National team, which won gold (beating the U.S.) in Russia this past spring at the U18 World Championships.
This past season, Huhtamma appeared in 32 games for the Blues Jr. A team, posting a .907 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average. In five international games with Finland’s U18 team, he posted a .918 save percentage.
Although he went unselected, Huhtamaa was ranked No. 12 among European goalies for the 2018 NHL Draft.
Both Stoever (6-foot-3) and Huhtamaa (6-foot-2) are taller goaltenders. Huhtamaa will become the second Finnish goalie to suit up for the Warriors, following Rasmus Tirronen (’14).