May 7, 2012

Bruins reportedly interested in Finnish goalie Vehanen

By Jesse Connolly

Petri Vehanen recently left the KHL to return to his native Finland, joining Rauman Lukko. But if reports from a Finnish website are correct, his stay back home may not be a lengthy one.

Petri Vehanen stopped all 26 shots he faced in a 1-0 win over Slovakia at the World Championship on Sunday.

The article indicates that two teams are interested in the 34-year-old netminder's services. One of them is the Boston Bruins.

The B's goaltending situation has been debated heavily of late. Tuukka Rask -- also notably from Finland -- is set to become a restricted free agent on July 1. Two-time Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas' no-movement clause expires on the same day, enabling Boston to trade the veteran before the final season of his four-year, $20 million dollar contract. 

Vehanen spent the last three seasons with Kazan Ak-Bars in the KHL. He won the Gagarin Cup twice as champion of the KHL. In 2011-12, he had a 16-17-5 record with a 2.35 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.

The website indicated that Vehanen has an out-clause and can pursue a deal with an NHL club prior to the start of the season.

At present, he is representing Finland at the World Championship. He posted a 1-0 shutout in his first appearance, blanking Slovakia 1-0 on Sunday.

Making things more interesting in Boston's potential pursuit of Vehanen is the current contract status of Anton Khudobin, who is entering the second season of his two-year deal with the B's. He'll be on a one-way deal in 2012-13, meaning the Bruins will not only have to pay him $800,000 regardless of whether he's in Providence or with the big club, but will also face the risk of losing him on waivers if he's called up at some point during the season -- a required part of the process for players not on two-way deals.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.