NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY)- What a difference a week makes for Norfolk Admirals defenseman Sami Vatanen.
This time last week, Vatanen was in Sochi, Russia at the Winter Olympic Games winning a bronze medal with team Finland in a 5 nothing win over team USA. “Of course its a big honor for a country like Finland because it’s all about hockey there so it was a big honor to get that medal,” he said.
Vatanen now has his bronze medal at his home in Anaheim. He spent nearly two weeks in Sochi and has memories that will last a lifetime. “I would have to say it was a great experience being my first Olympics. Temu was there and it was what I grew up watching, so it was a great experience for me.”
Vatanen not only came away from Sochi with a bronze medal, he came away as one of the top players in the tournament. He led all defenseman with 5 assists and tied for 4th overall in points scored. “Its fun to come back here and have a little fun with the guys,” he said.
The 22-year-old was a 4th round pick by Anaheim and has played 41 games this season on NHL ice. But since the Ducks are healthy there is no room for Vatanen on the roster. Norfolk Admirals head coach Trent Yawney says, “Were going to take advantage of Sami as long as we have him here and I don’t know how long that is but as long as he is here, we are going to utilize him.” Vatanen adds, “You never know whats going to happen. You could get sent down or go up the next day. It’s just part of this game. You want to play all the time with Anaheim, but that’s not always possible. You just have to work hard and try your best.”
And with the NHL trade deadline coming up on Wednesday, Vatanen is one of those players who could find himself a new home real soon.