The Blackhawks signed Kevin Lankinen as an undrafted free agent on May 21, 2018. Prior to being signed, he had a solid career with HIFK of Liiga, which is the top tier of hockey in Finland. During the 2016-17 season, Lankinen put himself on the map. He posted a 2.14 GAA and .920 Sv% during 42 regular season games, and in 13 playoff games, he had a 2.50 GAA and .906 Sv%.
Lankinen would improve upon those numbers in 2017-18, where he would post a 1.33 GAA and .946 Sv% in 15 regular season games. In addition, Lankinen would keep his momentum rolling by posting a 1.99 GAA and .936 Sv% in 13 playoff games.
This season, Kevin Lankinen split time with the Indy Fuel (ECHL) and Rockford IceHogs (AHL) where he would have mixed results. In just 6 games with the Fuel, Lankinen posted a 3.18 GAA and .893 Sv%. He would have better numbers with the IceHogs, as he finished the 2018-19 AHL season with a 2.50 GAA and .910 Sv%.
Kevin Lankinen has gotten the starting nod for Team Finland in the 2019 IIHF Men’s World Championship tournament. Through 6 games, his .916 SV% ranks 8th and his 1.83 GAA ranks 3rd. He also has one shutout in the tournament.
If you haven’t seen Kevin Lankinen play yet, there’s a lot to like about him. His lateral speed, vision, and reflexes are great. In this video, Lankinen shuts down a gimme back-door opportunity for Patrick Kane.
I was about 5 rows up from the glass in Section 114, down in the lower left corner of the frame, and this save was absolutely insane to see in person.
Lankinen is currently 24 years old and his development is right on track. He will likely start the season in Rockford. Right now, it looks like he will split time with Anton Forsberg, if the Blackhawks opt to keep Forsberg. Lankinen could see some time in the NHL sooner rather than later though.