The San Jose Sharks traded Jacob Middleton to the Minnesota Wild this morning in exchange for goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and a 2022 fifth-round pick in the NHL Draft.
Kahkonen has shown a lot of promise in his first two NHL seasons, posting a 31-17-4 career record with a 2.89 goals-against average, to go along with a .907 save percentage in his 54 games played.
The 25-year-old netminder has recorded a 12-8-3 record this season in Minnesota, with a 2.87 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. The 2014 fourth-round pick will look to step in and immediately compete for the starting job in San Jose.
Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 215 pounds, Kaapo is the ideal size for an NHL goaltender. The left-catch goalie is extremely athletic and quick with his lateral movements, while sustaining a calm demeanor.
San Jose Sharks assistant general manager Joe Will said, “Kaapo is a quick, athletic goaltender who has shown the ability to win consistently at every level he has played.”
Prior to the start of his NHL career, Kahkonen was a member of the Iowa Wild, Minnesota’s AHL affiliate.
With Iowa, Kaapo posted a 42-20-11 record with a .916 save percentage to go with a 2.45 goals-against average. He also recorded 13 shutouts, a league best in those two years, and was awarded the 2020 Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, given to the AHL’s most outstanding goalie of the year. Kahkonen was also named to the 2020 AHL first-team while also earning a spot in the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic.
Prior to playing in North America, the Finnish goalie led his country to a gold medal at the 2016 World Juniors, where he went a perfect 4-0.
The Helsinki, Finland native is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season, making this trade for the Sharks very similar to the Adin Hill deal made this past offseason. The duo of Adin Hill and Kaapo Kahkonen gives the Sharks two young goalies with big upsides.
Jacob Middleton, a fan favorite in San Jose, skated in 59 games with the Sharks over the past four seasons, netting 3 goals and dishing out 9 assists.
The fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft that the Sharks also acquired in this trade was the same pick that they sent to Minnesota as part of the Devan Dubnyk deal in 2020.