Avalanche sign Justus Annunen to entry-level contract

General view inside the Pepsi Center before the game between the New York Rangers against the Colorado Avalanche. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Courtesy of Avalanche Communications

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has signed goaltender Justus Annunen to a three-year, entry-level contract through the 2022-23 season.

Annunen, 20, posted a 15-5-3 record in 23 games for Karpat in Finland’s top professional league (Liiga) this season, ranking first among all goaltenders in both save percentage (.929) and goals-against average (1.77). The 6-foot-4, 210-pound netminder was second in the league with six shutouts and established a new league record for the longest shutout streak during a single season (302 minutes, five seconds) from Sept. 21 – Oct. 23.

In 2018-19, Annunen had a 13-8 record with a 2.77 goals-against average and .891 save percentage competing for Hermes in Finland’s second-highest hockey league, Mestis. He joined Karpat Jr. for the postseason and posted a 1.50 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in six appearances to help the team capture the Jr. A SM-liiga championship.

Selected by Colorado in the third round (64th overall) of the 2018 NHL Draft, Annunen played 26 regular-season games for Karpat Jr. in 2017-18, registering a 2.31 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. He added a 1.83 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in 12 postseason contests. The Kempele, Finland, native was the recipient of the Jorma Valtonen Award as the junior league’s best goaltender and was named to the First All-Star Team.

Internationally, Annunen represented his country at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he finished the tournament with a .916 save percentage and a 2.65 goals-against average in six contests. His 362:01 minutes in net was the second-most among all goaltenders in the tournament. Annunen helped Finland capture the gold medal at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship, registering a 6-0 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in six games. He also competed at the 2017 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, recording a 3.05 goals-against average and .904 save percentage in three contests.

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