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Q&A with NHL prospect Kasimir Kaskisuo

January 30, 2014

By Anatoliy Metter, The Hockey Writers

While goalies such as Thatcher Demko, Blake Weyrick, and Alex Nedeljkovic may be headlining the top-rated goalies for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any potential diamonds in the rough to be found. Over the last couple of years, goalies such as Anthony Stolarz and Evan Cowley might not have been the most well-known names in their respective drafts, but they were both selected straight out of the NAHL, and this year likely won’t be any different.
 
Individuals such as Chase Perry and Kasimir Kaskisuo are two of the three North American Hockey League goalies that will hope to be drafted this year, and while both goalies made the CSS midterm rankings, the latter netminder has been making waves this season. As a member of the Minnesota Wilderness, Kaskisuo has played to the tune of a 1.41 GAA and .947 Save Percentage during the current hockey season, and has impressed many in his first hockey campaign in North America.
 
Despite the fact that Kaskisuo is currently nursing an injury, the goalie’s body of work this season has been nothing short of astounding – especially considering the fact that he has made a seemingly flawless transition to North American hockey. Recently, The Hockey Writers had a chance to sit down and have a conversation with Kaskisuo, and the goalie gave some insight into his play, transition to North American hockey, and hopes for the upcoming draft.
 
The Hockey Writers: Going from the Jr. B SM-sarja to the Jr. A SM-liiga must have required lots of hard work on your part. What was it like to steadily progress through the Finnish hockey system?
 
Kasimir Kaskisuo: For me, I lost my whole Junior-C season due to injury, so I started the normal SM league level playing junior straightaway. The season went well and I was playing with players that were my age and one year older. I had a pretty good season and I was pretty happy that I made the under-20 team after that year even though I would’ve been playing on the under-18 team, so I think that helped me a lot in terms of playing with older guys for a full season.
 
THW: What has the transition been like going from playing in Finnish leagues to playing in North American leagues such as the NAHL?
 
KK: I don’t think there’s too big of a difference. Like everyone else would say, rink size is probably a bit smaller, which affects little things like getting the puck to the net and it [the game] being a little bit simpler for a goalie. I would say there’s more traffic in front of the net and players just driving the net harder.
 
THW: What has been the biggest learning experience thus far as a member of the Minnesota Wilderness?
 
KK: I would say just getting a fresh start playing in North America on a new team after playing for the same organization for nine years in Finland. Getting a fresh start and getting to play a lot of games – that’s getting my confidence up and that’s what is showing up right now.
 
THW: You’ve already committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for the 2014-2015 NCAA season. Were there any other schools that were interested in you or that you were considering, and what influenced you to choose that school and hockey program?
 
KK: There was a lot of attention and I visited a couple of other schools too. It’s a great hockey program (University of Minnesota-Duluth), and it had everything that I was looking for in a school. After that it was all about putting everything on paper. It was a tough decision, but it made a lot of sense.
 
 
 
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