New Jersey Devils Fans Should Be Patient With Aarne Talvitie

Aarne Talvitie #20 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Aarne Talvitie #20 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils have a lot of great prospects in their system right now. Despite some exceeding expectations, they have had unfortunate luck with other prospects not turning out how they wanted. After being drafted in the 6th round in the 2017 NHL Draft, Aarne Talvitie was proving himself to be a top prospect and a promising NHL player. He lit up the Junior A SM Liiga by scoring 58 points in 41 games.

In addition, Talvitie showed that he could handle higher levels of competition by scoring almost a point per game during his freshman year with Penn State and by leading Finland to the gold medal at the 2019 World Junior Championships. Early on, it looked like he was going to be a draft steal for the Devils.

Unfortunately, Talvitie’s 2018-19 hockey season was cut short due to an injury sustained during the gold medal game at the WJC. After months of recovery, he was able to return to play for the entire 2019-20 season with Penn State until it was halted due to Covid-19. During that season, his production dropped significantly to around 0.63 points per game compared to his 0.94 PPG during the 2018-2019 season.

As a fan, it is concerning that he dropped off after having a successful freshman year. However, it is hard to be as productive after sustaining a significant injury. Even months after this injury, it still takes a toll on the body and the athlete will not be at 100%. In addition, Talvitie had to handle an urgent personal issue half way through the season. Both of these factors most likely had a huge contribution to Talvitie’s setback.

Should fans start to give up on Talvitie after his underwhelming 2019-2020 season? Absolutely not. During his first eight games with Penn State this season, Talvitie has five points (3G 2A). Even though those numbers are not outstanding, it is still a great start for him after a rough year and a half. In addition, Penn State has been struggling so far. Thus, Talvitie’s production is rather impressive.

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Overall, nobody should give up on Aarne Talvitie. He has been taking strides in the right direction to show that he is still a top prospect for the Devils. Talvitie has a lot of great assets that should not make a person turn away from him. He has a great frame and he skates well with it. In addition, he  is an extremely hard worker, resilient, has a great shot, good vision, and a great leader. I still have a lot of hope in Talvitie . I believe he will be just fine and he will continue to grow while playing for Penn State. He will benefit significantly by working with Lindy Ruff, Mark Recchi and Mark Dennehy and ahs the potential to be a significant depth player for the Devils.

What do you think about Talvitie’s status up to this point? Do you think he is still a top prospect for the Devils? Please leave a comment below and let’s get a discussion going.