Kahkonen voted AHL’s top goaltender for 2019-20

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Kaapo Kahkonen of the Iowa Wild is the winner of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender for the 2019-20 season.

The award is voted on by coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 31 cities.

Named a 2019-20 First Team AHL All-Star last week, Kahkonen made 34 appearances for the Wild this season, helping the club to the best regular-season record in franchise history. Kahkonen led the AHL in victories (25-6-3) and shutouts (seven) and ranked fourth in goals-against average (2.07) and save percentage (.927) while placing among the top 10 in minutes played and shots faced. The CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month for February, Kahkonen finished the year with a 10-1-1 record (1.16, .961) and five shutouts in his last 12 starts.

A 23-year-old native of Helsinki, Finland, Kahkonen also made his National Hockey League debut this season, going 3-1-1 with a 2.96 GAA and a .913 save percentage in five appearances with the Minnesota Wild. Kahkonen, Minnesota’s fourth-round selection in the 2014 NHL Draft, shows a record of 42-20-11 with a 2.45 GAA, a .916 save percentage and 13 shutouts in his two seasons with Iowa, and is the first goaltender since Martin Biron (1997-99) to lead the AHL in shutouts in back-to-back seasons.

The Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, which was first presented in 1984, honors former Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Baz Bastien, who played four seasons in goal with the AHL’s Pittsburgh Hornets (1945-49) before suffering a career-ending eye injury. Bastien would go on to serve as head coach and general manager of the Hornets, leading them to the 1967 Calder Cup championship. Previous winners of the award include Jon Casey (1985), Sam St. Laurent (1986), Mark Laforest (1987, 1991), Felix Potvin (1992), Corey Hirsch (1993), Manny Legace (1996), Martin Biron (1999), Dwayne Roloson (2001), Jason LaBarbera (2004, 2007), Ryan Miller (2005), Michael Leighton (2008), Cory Schneider (2009), Jonathan Bernier (2010), Jake Allen (2014), Matt Murray (2015), Peter Budaj (2016), Troy Grosenick (2017), Garret Sparks (2018) and Alex Nedeljkovic (2019).

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of all players competing in the NHL are AHL graduates, and through the years the American Hockey League has been home to more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.