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Kasimir Kaskisuo at play: Four videos that show his movement in the crease

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How will his NCAA play translate to the AHL?

Clint Austin

Kasimir Kaskisuo hates the most highly viewed highlight video of his career. It came during an October 31, 2014 game against Miami against forward Cody Murphy. The reason why it's a highlight is obvious -- the save looks stunning, a nigh-impossible puck grab from behind his back while sliding across the crease -- but Kaskisuo's reason for hating it speaks to his philosophy as a goaltender.

"I don't like what I did but in the end I got lucky." Kaskisuo told the Northlands News Center. "I feel like that comes from the perfectionist [in me]. Saves like that, I know I outplayed myself and I had to reach. That's what I don't like."

Kaskisuo is a goaltender who likes making saves more than he likes fancy moves, and takes his leadership on the team seriously. "If I make a mistake," he said to NNC, "It hurts the whole team. It's my job to win the games for us, and we lose if I'm not playing my best."

But how does this philosophy, this emphasis on playing his best, translate to his movements on the ice? There are very few videos of Kaskisuo at work (so far), but from the few that I found, I can draw this conclusion: He plays the kind of spare, economical, focus-on-the-puck game that NHL goaltenders like Jonathan Bernier show when they're at their best.

Here's an example of Kaskisuo losing to a shootout move by UNO's Jake Randolph in a February 2015 game.

Kaskisuo comes out of his crease to challenge the skater, easing back when the skater is close. Randolph feints to his left as if moving to his backhand, and manages to draw Kaskisuo's attention away before shifting to his right hand and scoring. What move does Kaskisuo make in this challenge? He holds position until the shooter is within a meter and about to shoot, dropping to his right knee and quickly into splits to close the five-hole, but he does it with tenths of a second to go.

He reacts to the forehand move by throwing his torso sideways, his reach helping, but not quite enough to counter his body's torque as it moves him away from the net. What I took away from this is that despite being out-thought by the shooter, he has the poise to wait to react until after the shooter does. Unlike Han Solo, Kaskisuo doesn't react first.

Here's a happier example, although it's a little tough to see what's going on:

Although most of Kaskisuo's body is obscured in this Jokerit U20 game from 2012, you can see that even as a young goaltender, he waits until the very last second to react. He's got the mental toughness to outwait the shooter, not move his body before the shooter moves, and make the most economical glove save to stone the shooter cold.

Here is Kaskisuo in 2013 working on his economical motion and rebound control. His lower-body agility is excellent, and he uses his long legs to good effect for shooters attempting to go for a low angle. The first bunch of saves shows him working through a flurry of shots after he fails to deflect wide a wrister from a defenseman.

After sending it to the forward in front of him, Kaskisuo doesn't move far, and has total focus on the puck as the second shooter, and then the third, attempt to break through. His legwork is key here, but so is keeping position, moving only as far as he needs to. He moves immediately back into position after the puck is finally cleared.

In the second save, a one-on-none situation with a speedy forward outracing the D, Kaskisuo once again lets the bad guy shoot first and only reacts with the least amount of leg movement necessary to deflect the puck right. The last save shows a three-on-one-ish situation where he does more of the same -- outwaits the forward heading toward his crease and sends his left leg out to deflect the puck left. Notice his head position -- his focus on the puck is complete.

The save that Kaskisuo hates so much, above, shows more of the same. It shows his poise while being challenged by the oncoming forward, holding position until he can get a clear read on the forward's shooting motion. Then it shows great spacial awareness -- knowing that the shooter would shoot high over his sliding leg, he throws a hand back -- almost as if he can sense the area he still needs to protect. He knows where the puck will be without looking. It might be luck, as he says -- or it might be well-developed hockey sense.

In general, he looks mature, driven, focused, and responsible. It remains to be seen whether this level of play will hold true in the AHL/NHL.