Calgary Flames sign Finnish goaltender Waltteri Ignatjew (one year, $870K)

Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
The Calgary Flames have dipped into the European free agent market and signed a new goaltender. Per the club, they’ve signed Finnish netminder Waltteri Ignatjew, who’s most recently been playing with Mora IK in Sweden’s second division, to a one-year entry level deal worth $870,000 at the NHL level.
The signing was first reported by Juha Hiitala of Finland’s Ilta-Sanomat.
A product of Helsinki, Finland, Ignatjew is listed at 6’3″ and 198 pounds and he’s 24 years old.
Ignatjew was kind of a late-bloomer. He bounced around a bit during his junior-aged seasons.He spent time with Kiekko-Vantaa and the Espoo Blues before spending his draft eligible season in 2017-18 with TPS Turku’s junior team in Finland’s J20 league. He also made his pro debut in the second-tier Mestis with KeuPa HT. He posted an .895 save percentage, down quite a bit from the previous season’s .913 in the same league. He didn’t appear on Central Scouting’s international goaltender rankings that year and also wasn’t selected in the 2018 NHL Draft.
But Ignatjew just keep chugging along. He spent the next three seasons (2018-21) playing pro hockey with Kiekko-Vantaa’s pro team in Mestis, posting save percentages right around the .900 mark. He bounced around four different teams in 2021-22, playing with Jukurit and Karpat in Liiga, SapKo in Mestis and even appearing for Vasterviks IK in Sweden’s second-tier HockeyAllsvenskan.
He really hit his stride as a pro in 2022-23. He returned to Kiekko-Vantaa’s Mestis team and posted a 1.74 goals against average and .927 save percentage, both leading that league, and he back-stopped his team to the league’s championship. This past season he returned to the Allsvenskan to join Mora IK, where he was named that league’s top netminder.
Ignatjew’s signing seems to primarily been a minor-league move, but at the very least he seems like an intriguing goaltender who’s still pretty young and could give the Flames options in their system going forward. Considering how well he’s played in Finland and Sweden in recent years, we’re fascinated to see how he does.
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