Carolina Hurricanes: The Forgotten High-Caliber Goalie Prospect

Alex Nedeljkovic, Charlotte Checkers (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Alex Nedeljkovic, Charlotte Checkers (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes have one Goalie Prospect that has been overlooked

With a lot of people knowing about the boys in Charlotte and the Russian overseas, there’s still one Carolina Hurricanes Prospect that flies well under the radar.

Eetu Makiniemi isn’t a household name. A certain percentage of people will say “Who is that? Why should I care about him, he’s not someone who’ll ever make a major impact on the Hurricanes.” Now, that may not be true in the long term.

Makiniemi is a 4th round pick from the 2017 NHL entry draft. Taken at 107th overall by the Carolina Hurricanes, Makiniemi has started to establish himself as quite the player in his native Finland.

Posting a .936 save percentage and a 1.53 goals-against average in Liiga with Ilves, a 3.01 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage with KOOVEE in Mestis, he’s becoming quite the hot commodity.

At just 21 years of age, Makiniemi still has a lot of time to develop, because goalies don’t develop nearly as quickly as skaters do. At just 21, he’s backstopping men’s teams in one of the best leagues in Europe. That should already speak to his quality, and to his potential in terms of becoming an NHL starter.

Makiniemi is often forgotten about when thinking about the quality of goaltending prospects the Canes boast. With Pytor Kochetkov and Alex Nedeljkovic in the system. However, it’s always worth remembering how good a prospect Makiniemi is. This is not to say it’s certain he’ll be the Hurricanes goalie of the future, but he’s worth considering when talking about the future of the team.

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At 6’3, 176 lbs, Makiniemi isn’t the largest of goaltenders. This isn’t to say that he’s too small to be in the NHL. No one will ever be able to say that with former Cane Nathan Gerbe still around. It does mean that Makiniemi isn’t some happy-go-lucky goalie who just happens to have a lot of pucks hit him. He’s able to locate the puck through screens and make big saves.

I’m not saying that Makiniemi is going to come in and re-invent the world of goaltenders. He’s not going to come in and produce Vezina level numbers right away. However, should he be put into the Canes team behind the current blueline, I cannot help but think his numbers will be drastically improved in comparison to the current goaltending tandem.

With that said, what’s the time frame like for Eetu Makiniemi? How long should we wait before we can expect to see him in the AHL or even in the NHL? To be honest, I don’t know. He needs to find the role of a starter in Europe first. After that, assuming he puts up good numbers, it’s up to him. He’s certainly worth remembering when talking about the best of the Canes prospects.

Question for Cardiac Cane readers: What do you think the ceiling of Eetu Makiniemi is?

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