Below, Hannu Toivonen's career stats are embedded. Look closely. Seriously, you'll notice something interesting;
HE WAS PRETTY GOOD WHEN HE WAS YOUNGER.
For a couple of months (maybe longer, I don't remember to be honest, I was like 12), Toivonen appeared to be the Bruins long-term answer to the ever so frightening question of "what the hell happened to Andrew Raycroft during the lockout, and who is this impostor wearing his jersey?"
At just 21 years old, Toivonen leapfrogged the team-dumpster-fire, Raycroft, and did his best to keep a team guilty of employing Brad Isbister and Wayne Primeau in the playoff hunt.
The video is from the 2006-2007 season, but I'm trying to make him seem decent so I'm going to leave it there and if you have any complaints just write them down, toss them in a garbage can and acknowledge that I don't care.
An ankle injury derailed his promising rookie campaign (9-5-4, .914), opening the door for Thomas, a middle-class Republican and well traveled goalie from Flint, Michigan. The Thomas guy ended up turning out to be okay in this pale mans humble opinion.
Toivonen never seemed to recover post-ankle-destruction, as he took on shuttle service between Providence and Boston during the 2006-2007 season, posting less-than-stellar numbers in both cities. Following his disappointing sophomore campaign, Chiarelli shipped the native of Kalvola, Finland to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for SCOC's Lord and Savior, Carl Soderberg.
Toivonen would go on to play in just 23 games for the Blues, his last in the NHL. Since then our once promising Fin has made stops in the American Hockey League with the Iowa Wild, Milwaukee Admirals, Peoria Rivermen and Rockford IceHogs, ECHL stints with the Orlando Solar Bears and Toledo Walleye, a year in Sweden with second-tier club Malmo and in his native Finland with IIlves, SaiPa and Sport - his current employer.
At the end of the day, Toivonen's stay in Boston was just a small blip on their ever-rotating goaltending radar. Like his predecessor Raycroft, Toivonen, too, suddenly fell apart with no real rhyme or reason, nevertheless much of a warning sign. Though, perhaps stumbling into your own net and falling should have tipped some people off.
But I digress.
There were flashes of brilliance from Hannu and it's too bad he was never able to string them together, no matter where he seemed to land following his beantown departure.
At 30 years old, however, there is still time to turn things around, and his .911 save percentage in 18 games with Liiga's newest and worst club, Sport, is certainly a step in the right direction. The likelihood of an NHL-return for Toivonen is essentially non-existent, but the chance for a successful international career is still in the cards; a turnout that wouldn't be all that surprising given his once promising skillset*.
*Fighting is not one of Toivonen's strengths. Peter Budaj verifies this below.
Shootouts, however, we'll apparently they're a skill.