While the goaltenders of Finland nowadays were very sought after, back in the late-80s/early-90s-- that wasn't the case. Many of them had a rough transition period and could never get settled in, which is the case for this week's AGM. While he was part of the possible first Finnish tandem, it never really came together. This week, we profile the career of Jarmo Myllys.
Before we go forward, a note-- thanks to the apparent lack of record-keeping or technology in European hockey; the stats of Myllys when playing overseas are a bit sketch and therefore unavailable for most seasons.
When he first came into the scene in 1982-83, Myllys played for the Finnish Second-League team SaPKo Savonlinna, where he played for 13 games. That said, he didn't get more noticed than during the European Junior Championships, where he played four games with a 2.70 GAA. Due to his performance, Myllys was named Best Goaltender and to the All-Star team. For the 1983-84 season, Myllys went up to the premier league in Finland, SM-liiga, playing for Ilves Tampere, but only getting in nine appearances with a 3.00 GAA. Myllys would get back into the swing of things in the World Juniors of 1984, going 3-1-0 in four games for Finland, helping them to a Silver Medal. Myllys would play nine more games for Ilves Tampere, with a 2.55 GAA; but going only 1-0-0 in one appearance in the WJC.
For the 1985-86 season, Myllys played 16 games for Ilves Tampere; while in the 1986-87, Myllys would move over to Lukko Rauma, appearing in 43 games with a 16-20-7 record. Myllys also played in the World Hockey Championships, going 4-3-1 in eight games. That helped him get drafted in the 9th Round by the Minnesota North Stars. It was a banner year for Myllys in the 1987-88 season, where he would play in the Canada Cup for one game, then back to the Lukko Rauma for 43 games, which included five shutouts and a 3.13 GAA. Yet, his biggest accomplishment of the season was during the Olympics, where he would go 4-1-1 in six games, leading Finland to a Silver Medal. Myllys would end the year with Finnish Player of the Year honors and named to the Finnish First Team All-Stars.
Myllys made the leap to North America for the 1988-89 season, starting off with the North Stars. However, with three losses in his first three appearances, Myllys was sent to the IHL's Kalamazoo Wings, playing in 28 games with a 13-8-4 record. Myllys would finish that season with a 1-4-0 record with the North Stars. The 1989-90 season would be a breakout in the IHL for Myllys, as he would go 31-9-3 in 49 appearances, which got him named to the IHL's Second Team All-Star roster. Myllys would also play in four games for the North Stars, but would go 0-3-0. Myllys started the 1990-91 season with the North Stars for three games on their French Tour, then for two games in the regular season. However, going 0-2-0, Myllys was sent back to Kalamazoo; where he would excel again compiling a 24-13-1 record in 38 games; then going 6-4 in the playoffs. It was another year for Second Team All-Star honors for Myllys.
However, during the Expansion/Dispersal Draft of 1991, Myllys was claimed be the expansion San Jose Sharks. Myllys would have an up and down year, going 3-18-1 in 27 games for the Sharks, but going 5-0-0 with the Kansas City Blades of the IHL.
Myllys was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the summer of 1992, but decided to return to Finland for the 1992-93 season, with KooKoo Kouvola of the Finnish Second League-- going 27-13-5 in 45 games. Myllys would return to Lukko Rauma for the 1993-94 season, where he would go 26-16-4 in his 46 games of work, as well as returning to the Olympics in 1994, going 5-0-0 with two shutouts and a 0.60 GAA; helping the Finns to a Bronze Medal. Myllys would also play in the World Championships, playing in seven games helping the Finns to a Silver Medal.
From the 1994-95 season until the 2000-01 season, Myllys would play 284 games with Lulea HF; compiling 31 shutouts and ending with a 2.59 GAA in those games. However, like I mentioned at the start-- no records from those years sadly.
However, the international play helped Myllys' career for records, as he would represent Finland plenty. It started with the 1995 World Championships, as Myllys went 5-1-1 in seven games, leading the Finns to their first ever Gold Medal in the event. Myllys took home the Best Goaltender honors in the tournament, as well. However, in the 1996 World Championships-- Myllys went 0-2-2 in four games, as the Finns would bow out in the Quarterfinals. Myllys went to the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, but would go 1-1-0 in two games, as Finland was knocked out in the Quarters again. The 1997 World Championships had Myllys get some swagger back, going 4-2-0 in six games with a 1.67 GAA, but they did not past the Quarters again. The 1998 Olympics wouldn't give Myllys the super skills he had in Olympics past, as he would go 1-3-0 in four games, but would be rostered on the Bronze Medal team. Myllys played two games in the 1998 World Championships with a 1-1-0 record and would add another Silver Medal to his showroom. It wouldn't be until the 2001 World Championship that Myllys would be back with Finland, but he would only be a spare and not play in any games for the Finns, as they would take home Silver.
Myllys return to the SM-liiga for the 2001-02 season with Blues Espoo, playing in 46 games with a 19-19-7 record, then 0-3 in the playoffs. Back with Espoo in the 2002-03 season, Myllys would only see 19 games of action with an 8-5-5 record, then 3-4 for seven games in the playoffs. The 2003-04 season saw Myllys return to SaiPa Lappeenranta, playing in 34 games with a 9-15-7 record, as well as seeing seven games of action with HV 71 Jonkoping of the Swedish Elite League. Myllys would go back to Finland with SaiPa Lappeenranta for the 2004-05 season, where he would put together a 10-25-10 second in 45 games. After that, he would hang up the pads in his playing career.
Myllys would stay with SaiPa Lappeenranta as the goalie coach, which is where he's at today.
While he could never get adapted to the North American game despite trying as much as he could-- the success he had for his country is something that many of the European players hold in higher regard, even to this day. With a Gold and a couple of Silvers and Bronzes with Suomi; Myllys can hang his hat on bringing pride to his country on the highest of stages.