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Former Penguins goaltending prospect Emil Larmi makes SHL history

The Finnish goalie left the Pittsburgh organization in 2021 after two seasons with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens
Emil Larmi warms up for the Penguins on January 4, 2020 in Montreal.
Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

Emil Larmi called the two years he spent with the Penguins organization between 2019 and 2021 “the toughest of his life.”

“Now it’s a good time to focus on something else than chasing the dream here,” Larmi wrote in a heartfelt statement on his Instagram on May 30, 2021, after signing with the Finnish league’s Lahti Pelicans for 2021-22. “It’s not a good bye, it’s see you later. Don’t know when, but some day.”

Penguins fans who wished him the best will be happy to know he is thriving overseas.

Larmi led all goaltenders in the 2023 Swedish Hockey League playoffs with a .938 SV% and 1.30 goals against average in 12 games for the Växjö Lakers.

In Game 5 of the final series against Skellefteå AIK, with the championship on the line, Larmi made 20 saves to blank Skellefteå and claim a 3-0 title win in Game 5. It was his fourth shoutout of the SHL postseason.

Following the victory, Larmi became the first goaltender in SHL history to be named playoff MVP, per DK Pittsburgh Sports’ Taylor Haase.

After the game, Larmi got to participate in what might be the best SHL playoff tradition: painting the MVP gold.

After announcing he is set to become a father last December, Larmi signed a two-year contract extension with Växjö in January, according to Elite Prospects.

Former Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford signed Larmi to a two-year entry-level deal in 2019 after the goaltender won a championship in the Finnish league. He ended up playing very limited time in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as a series of injuries, culminating in a broken finger on the last shot of the last practice of the 2020-21 season, led to a .869 SV% and 4.00 GAA in 15 games.

Pittsburgh fans may be disappointed that Larmi’s tenure in Wilkes-Barre didn’t make him the Penguins’ goaltender of the future, but the Växjö Lakers certainly aren’t.