Goaltender Kari Piiroinen of HIFK in Finland, taken by the Windsor Spitfires in the 2018 Import Draft. Photo courtesy of http://leijonat.fi/

Spitfires Take Finnish Goalie In Import Draft

The Windsor Spitfires went for depth in goal at the 2018 CHL Import Draft.

The Spitfires selected Finnish goalie Kari Piiroinen with the 30th overall pick in this year’s draft.

Piiroinen most recently played between the pipes for HIFK, a club in Helsinki, Finland. He turns 17 on Sunday, and stands 6’0″ and weighs 160lbs.

Last season with HIFK’s under-18 club Piiroinen posted a 2.73 goals against average over 27 regular season games, along with a 91.2% save percentage. In five playoffs games, he had a 1.00 GAA and a 95.7% save percentage.

Windsor general manager and part-owner Warren Rychel says they were drawn to Piiroinen’s athleticism.

“Kari is the best 2001-born goalie in Finland,” Rychel says. “He has excellent size and is extremely athletic. He gives us depth behind Mikey [DiPietro] and will be a Spitfire for years to come.”

Piiroinen represented Finland at the 2017 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, held in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C. He played in four games, compiling a 3.35 GAA and a 90.2% save percentage.

The Spitfires’ pickup of Piiroinen will make him eligible for next year’s NHL Entry Draft.

The CHL Import Draft goes for two rounds, but Piiroinen is Windsor’s only pick.