Upon his arrival to Penn State, Aarne Talvitie was one of the most highly touted recruits Guy Gadowsky had landed.
The Espoo, Finland, native had put up solid numbers for every team he’d been a part of and was already a sixth-round draft pick of the New Jersey Devils before he even enrolled in his first class.
Now, the 22-year-old leaves Happy Valley with a legacy of success and talent, as he opted to forgo his senior season and sign a two-year entry-level contract with the Devils.
During his time as a Nittany Lion, Talvitie flashed the skills that got him drafted time and time again, while also showing leadership qualities that can translate to any level.
Almost immediately upon arriving on campus, Talvitie made his presence felt and showed off his ability to shoot the puck.
Talvitie’s patented wrist shot would be something Penn State fans became very familiar with during his Nittany Lion tenure.
Even though he may have only scored 18 goals over his 68 games as a Nittany Lion, it was never his primary role to score — because he shared a line with talented scorers during his career such as guys like Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Kevin Wall.
When he needed to step up, however, Talvitie was able to convert from many different places on the ice. Whether it be the slot or a tough-angled shot from near the boards, Talvitie had one of the best wristers in Penn State’s history.
Despite the goal number not being eye-poppingly high, Talvitie did shoot .120 for his career in the blue and white, evidence that the forward prioritized high-quality shots and converted when he took them.
On top of being a more-than-capable shooter, Talvitie is smart with the puck and knows when and where to pass.
He is also a smooth skater and does not try to force passes, and the passes that he does make are on time and on the tape.
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His passing took a bit of a hit statistically in his final season at Penn State, tallying only six assists in 21 games. But his potential still showed through in spots throughout the year and in his first two seasons, Talvitie’s passing stats reflected his ability, recording 24 assists in 47 games.
One spot in which Talvitie really flashed a promising sign for the future was during his junior campaign when he led a two-on-one breakaway with Evan Bell where Bell fed Talvitie, and he slid it right back to Bell across the crease for a wide-open, tap-in goal.
The pass was a pro-level, intelligent pass, but the break opened up because of Talvitie’s skating prowess and ability to find open ice and beat defenders.
The most important skill Talvitie possesses, though, has little to do with his on-ice play and more with the presence he brings off the ice.
Over the past three years, the leadership of the Finnish forward has quite possibly been his most noteworthy attribute.
Talvitie was an alternate captain for Gadowsky’s squad as a junior, an honor that was voted on by his teammates.
However, his leadership extends beyond the locker room at Pegula Ice Arena, as he had the title of captain for his home country of Finland during the gold medal run he made in the World Juniors Championship.
No matter where Talvitie has gone, he has proven himself to be one of the people his teammates can look to.
What kind of an impact Talvitie will have at the NHL level is nearly impossible to predict, but the tools are there for the former Penn Stater to flourish wherever his hockey career may take him.
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