As the final buzzer went off Tuesday night the Wolves were dealt their third loss in a row. A bitter pill to swallow as they were strongly dominated by the Cleveland Monsters in the final period. That final 20 minutes of action cost the Wolves two vital points. It was also Ville Husso’s second loss, fresh off an injury that caused him to miss 10 games with a lower body injury. After spending the season both in the AHL and ECHL, he’s been forced to battle for each and every start. But for Husso, the bumpy road should be seen as a gift of sorts.
Of course no player wants to be sent down and in Husso’s case, the Chicago Wolves were just too crowded in net. Those 13 games he spent with the Missouri Mavericks down in the ECHL were a bit of a wake up call. Things were far off from being in the SM-Liiga the year prior. That is no slight on the league, it’s just not the same level as the Finnish league in terms of overall talent. Husso put up a .910 save percentage in that span of games, still adjusting to life and hockey in this part of the world.
Fast forward back to the present and Husso has played 16 games in the American league, with a .912 save percentage and if you really want to break it down, 405 saves in total. The stats are far from earth shattering but the Blues didn't need him to be lights out from the get go. They didn't even need him to be in the “conversation” of starting a single game in the NHL. This has been a season all about taking in every experience, to find out what it takes to be successful at this level. Husso has proven to know what it takes to win in Finland. Players aren't given the Goaltender of the Year award at his age very often, he also won best GAA last year as well, with an incredible 1.91.
Maybe the expectation for Husso’s arrival was a tad too high. Some even joked that he could make a push for Jake Allen’s job. But if you’re making a statement like that, you probably aren't a huge Allen supporter to begin with. Whether Husso and the Chicago Wolves win the Calder Cup this year or not is somewhat irrelevant. The Helsinki native has gone from being in a country that essentially breeds goalies on farms, to rarely finding playing time on a new team, actually make that two teams. Sometimes things come easy but like most aspects in life, you learn more from the struggles. Husso has proven to be a “gamer” and that's just what the Blues are looking for.