Sharks sign Kaapo Kahkonen to 2-year contract

Your favorite Finnish <strike>appliance</strike>, <em>uhm</em>, goalie is back for two years!

The San Jose Sharks announced Monday afternoon that restricted free agent goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen has been re-signed. Per Bay Area News Group’s Curtis Pashelka, the contract carries a $2.75 million average annual value, with an actual salary of $2.6 million in the upcoming 2022-23 season and $2.9 million in 2023-24, which makes him the Sharks’ highest paid goaltender going into the season. Kahkonen was one of 24 restricted free agents to file for arbitration before Sunday’s deadline.

“Kaapo has shown potential to be a number one goaltender in the NHL, and impressed us when he joined our team in the last part of the season,” said Sharks general manager Mike Grier, in a release. “We are excited to have him with us.”

In March, the team acquired 25-year-old Kahkonen from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for defender Jacob Middleton. In 11 games with the Sharks, Kahkonen posted a 2-6-1 record, .916 save percentage (SV%) and 2.86 goals against average (GAA). In 65 career NHL games, Kahkonen has posted a 33-23-5 record, .908 SV% and 2.88 GAA.

He also spent two seasons with the Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild, playing in 73 games and posting a 42-20-11 record, .916 SV%, 2.45 GAA and 13 shutouts. In 2018-19, he led the AHL in shutouts with six and was named to the AHL All-Star Game. The following season, Kahkonen won the Baz Bastien Memorial Award, given to the AHL’s best goaltender.

The 6-foot-2 netminder was drafted by the Wild in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Before his North American career, Kahkonen played for Lukko Rauma of Liiga in his native Finland. During the 2017-18 season, he led Liiga goaltenders in games played (56), total time on ice (3,275 minutes) and shutouts (six). Internationally, he has represented Team Finland in the 2016 World Junior Championship, winning all four games he played to help Finland capture the gold medal.