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Jonathan Iilahti Talk

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First of all, OP, can you fix the spelling of his name in the topic title? It's Jonathan

Secondly, as it hasn't been posted yet, here's an article about him from CDC

Of all the players taking part in this week’s Canucks Prospects Camp at Rogers Arena, it’s a pretty safe bet only one of them will be playing in Vancouver next season.

Even though he likely won’t be lacing up his gear with the NHL club, he’ll be playing in a great city with a winning program that has made it a priority over the years to develop players for the pros.

Jonathan Iilahti is one of five goaltenders attending camp and has made the longest trek of all the puck-stoppers to get to the west coast. The 19 year-old native of Vaasa, Finland was Vancouver’s fourth pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, going in the 6th round (175th overall). He is back at Rogers Arena for his second development camp in as many years.

“Now you know what you have to expect,” says Iilahti, whose travel plans from Finland to Canada kept him awake for close to 30 hours. “Of course it’s fun to come over and try to do better than the last time.”

Iilathi is coming off a solid season playing in his country’s top junior league.

Appearing in 18 games with the Espo Blues, Iilahti posted a 2.76 goals against average while combining for a save percentage of 90.1%.

Even though he wasn’t selected to play at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo, Iilahti is hopeful a strong season ahead can help his cause to play for Finland at the tournament next winter held in both Edmonton and Calgary.

“He’s got really quick feet and quick reflexes in terms of being able to react to things,” said Canucks Director of Player Development Dave Gagner. “He game just needs to be tidied up a bit and our goaltending coach Rollie Melanson has been working with him on that, so he doesn’t over-slide and over-commit to things.”

Measuring in at 6’1”, 176lbs, Iilahti is preparing to leave Europe this year to play in the Western Hockey League for the Vancouver Giants.

In the eyes of the WHL club, Iilahti and the Canucks happened to find themselves in the right place at the right time. The Giants were in the market for a goaltender this off-season and saw the Canucks prospect as a perfect fit. The Giants used their lone pick in the 2011 CHL Import Draft to select Iilahti 39th overall.

“We want Jonathan to come over here and play,” says Gagner. “It’s a good thing the Giants drafted him as we think he needs to be pushed at a higher level and play more games this year.”

“It would be a great opportunity to play in the same city as the NHL team,” adds Iilathi. “It would be an once-in-a-lifetime thing and I hope I can come over and play next season.”

As with any junior player at any level, coaching plays a huge role in one’s development. The Canucks know full-well Iilahti is going to a team where coaching won’t be an issue.

Head Coach Don Hay has established himself as one of the top junior coaches in Canada, leading the Giants every year as one of the most successful teams in the nation. This year, Hay has a new partner to work alongside, as former Canucks assistant coach and goaltender Glen Hanlon will be on the Giants bench as an assistant coach. Both Hay and Hanlon have experience coaching at the NHL level, something the Canucks feel Iilahti can benefit from in the long run.

“The Giants are a great organization,” says Gagner. “They’ve had a lot of players who they’ve put into the NHL. With all the experience they have, we’re really happy Jonathan is going to get an opportunity to play with that organization.”

The Canucks hope Iilahti can be the latest player in their program who uses the Giants as a springboard to stepping into the pros.

It was only two years ago that defenceman Kevin Connauton was drafted by the Canucks and then placed in the Giants organization. In his one season with the Giants, Connauton quickly became one of the more dominate blue-liners in the WHL.

His rise to pro hockey has been quick, and the Canucks are hopeful the same can occur with their Finnish goaltending prospect.

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From theprovince:

Iilahti keen to play for Giants as Canucks decide next step

By Gordon McIntyre, The Province July 11, 2011 11:45 AM

Jonathan Iilahti: the 19-year-old Finn was chosen 175th by the Canucks in the 2010 draft, the 17th goalie drafted overall that year and the second from Finland.

Among the tourists checking out the Lower Mainland this summer is Jonathan Iilahti; unlike most of them, the 19-year-old Finn hopes to become a resident.

Iilahti is a goalie chosen 175th by the Canucks in the 2010 draft, the 17th goalie drafted overall that year and the second from Finland.

And last month, the Vancouver Giants used their only pick in the Canadian Hockey League's import draft to select Iilahti, with the 39th pick overall.

The only wrinkle is Iilahti's junior club in Finland, the Espoo Blues, have a contract with his name on it that says he owes them another year.

The Canucks and Giants, not to mention the 6-foot-1, 175-pound goalie, expect he can get out of his Finnish obligation.

“For us, it's essential [iilahti play for the Giants] because he's not really going to progress there to the level we'd feel comfortable with,” said Dave Gagner, the director of player development for the Canucks.

The Canucks have to decide whether to sign him because if they don't he'll go back into the NHL entry draft next year, and they want him close to goalie coach Rollie Melanson.

As well, playing for Don Hay and Giants assistant coach Glen Hanlon, a one-time Canucks goalie and, like Hay, a former NHL head coach, is a bonus, as is working with Giants goalie coach Paul Fricker.

“We've got to make a decision on him in the next year,” Gagner said. “He would be a big help to the Giants and we think it would be a great progression to his development.

“We'd like to see that happen. Hopefully they can work something out there, but we're confident it can be done.”

Iilahti, one of eight import goalies selected by the 62 teams that make up Canada's three major-junior leagues, would challenge returning goalie Brendan Jensen for the Giants starter's job – Jensen is 18.

"He'll have some adjustments to make," Hay said of Iilahti, "but we didn't draft him to be a No. 2 guy."

Iilahti was part of a goalie tandem himself last season.

“That's the reason I want to come over, to get more playing time,” Iilahti said. “It would be nice to play in North America … superior to develop rather than in Finland.

“Smaller rinks, faster game, better players – everything is better than back in Finland.”

Hockey's Future, an online forum that rates prospects, gives him a grade of 6.5 (out of 10), the mid-range grade they give to goalies they figure will be backups or career journeymen (think Manny Legace or Jeff Hacket).

He's part of a pool of prospective goalies that includes David Honzik, drafted this June, Joe Cannata, drafted in 2009, and Eddie Lack, a free-agent signing last summer who was named to the AHL all-rookie team.

“I watched him [in Finland] last winter, he’s very fast laterally,” Gagne said of Iilahti. “You can see he’s got a bright future because his athletic ability is high-end.

“Rollie’s been working with him and he’s really impressed. He just has to learn some control and being more composed in some situations, but that will come.”

The summer development camp wraps up today at Rogers Arena.

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Iilahti+keen+play+Giants+Canucks+decide+next+step/5082633/story.html#ixzz1RpJp8gAj

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Interesting Article, i didn't know there was still another season on his contract in Finland. hopefully they work it out, It's best for everyone involved if he comes over this season, well, except for his former team...

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First of all, OP, can you fix the spelling of his name in the topic title? It's Jonathan

Secondly, as it hasn't been posted yet, here's an article about him from CDC

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I took the time to make sure I spelled his last name correctly, and didn't notice the mis-step.

SO OMG WTF WHAT WAS I thinking!??!?!?!

.... it has been corrected. :emot-parrot:

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Heh. It's funny because I was gonna say you misspelled his last name wrong as I knew it was a weird spelling but was thinking it was Ilahti when I posted in this thread, and double checked to see what the correct spelling was. I know you don't usually post garbage (to my immediate recollection at least) so I wasn't trying to knock you, just requesting that you fix the title, which you did, so thanks.

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With Iilahti held up by paper work, @WHLGiants expect to start the season with a tandem of Brendan Jensen and Jackson Whistle in goal #WHL

@dcmahiban

So...

If I were to guess if he does end up joining the Giants, it won't be until after the World Juniors, mainly due to Espoo loaning him till around then.

Booooooo.

[url=http://twitter.com/#%21/search?q=%23WHL]

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Does anyone know if this is the last year he is committed to his Finish team so he wont have to deal with this again next year?

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So has anyone herd any news on if the issues he is having with his Finnish club have been cleared up?

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So Jonathan has played 12 games so far this season.

In the Finland-2 league he has put up a 1.41 GAA and a 94.8 SVP in 7 games.

In the junior SM-Liiga has he put up a 4.02 GAA and a 87.2 SVP in 5 games.

The worst part about him not being 'allowed' to come play for the Giants is that Espoo loaned him to Vaasan!

What the f*ck is that? Loan him to an opponent but not to the WHL?

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Guest Dasein

So Jonathan has played 12 games so far this season.

In the Finland-2 league he has put up a 1.41 GAA and a 94.8 SVP in 7 games.

In the junior SM-Liiga has he put up a 4.02 GAA and a 87.2 SVP in 5 games.

The worst part about him not being 'allowed' to come play for the Giants is that Espoo loaned him to Vaasan!

What the f*ck is that? Loan him to an opponent but not to the WHL?

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Europe doesn't want to lose players to North America... no wonder the paperwork is taking so long to get processed. Hope we get to see him over here sooner than later. Would be better for his development.

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It'd do him a world of good for his development if he came over and got lots of starts. Now it's looking like he'll have to settle for next year to join the Giants as an overager instead.

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Guest Dasein

Wow...Team Canada just trumped Finland's starting goaltender 8-1. Iilahti didn't even make it past the first round of cuts, so that should give you an idea of where he is...

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