The 26-year-old, Finn joins the Stars after playing alongside Drydn Dow and winning a playoff championship in Slovakia last season, where he led the team in playoff goals and points.
Lahtinen had previously never played outside of his homeland until 2021 but had a lot of success in Finland, winning four youth championships and one Suomen Cup.
The 6-foot-3-inch winger, who can play on either side, has also represented his country on 22 occasions at U16, U17, U18 and U20 level, while also playing alongside some of Finland’s best current players, such as NHLers; Joonas Korpisalo, Kaapo Kahkonen, Rasmus Ristolainen and Aleksander Barkov.
Stars General Manager and Head Coach, Omar Pacha was delighted to add the Helsinki-born forward and he said: “I was able to watch some of Drydn’s games (in the Slovakia2 League) during the past year and Timi always stood out to me.
“Timi is an extremely good skater and he is a guy that works hard and he has a lot of offence to his game.
“He sees the ice well and I think it will be a challenge for him coming to play in this league but I am confident that with his skillset, he will have a lot of success here.
“The reality is that, with a player like Timi, it was his playoff performance last season which earned him his position here at the Stars.”
Pacha continued: “He is a hard working kid and he is also a guy that can kill penalties and play on the powerplay, as well as in many different positions up front.
“So, his versatility, his speed and his size are the really big assets that stood out to me when recruiting him.”
The Stars boss the shared an insight into how defender and teammate Dow played a pivotal role in the recruitment of Lahtinen.
He explained: “Drydn was a big advocate for him and he was the one who made me take an in depth look at Timi and I do not regret it for one second.
“You never want to leave any stones unturned and Drydn was instrumental in this process, from speaking to him about the league, living in the city and everything else.
“For me, it was great to be able to watch the playoffs and see how Timi was a key player for that side but Drydn was a big help, he was able to tell me a lot of things about Timi and if he thought he was a good fit.
“Seeing him play on video is one thing but having a guy that played both here in this league and alongside him helps to get the deal done.
“So, I am sure he is going to be an excellent fit and a fan favourite in Dundee.”
After signing his contract with the Stars, a delighted Timi said: “I am looking forward to joining the Stars and to starting the season.
“I am ready to start working hard and helping the team every night.
“I spoke with Drydn when we played together in Slovakia about Dundee and about the league and I got a good feeling about it all.
“I then spoke with Omar about the organisation and the city, then after that it was really easy to make a decision to come and play in Scotland.
“I also spoke with some Finnish guys who have played in UK before and they recommended the league to me.
“I knew a little bit about the Elite League obviously because Drydn played in Dundee and I also played one season with Matt Nickerson in Finland but Drydn played a big part in getting me to come and play in Dundee.”
The 205lbs, left-handed winger then discussed more about why he finally decided to leave his homeland this year and how his first season abroad was such a successful one.
Lahtinen explained: “I have played my whole career in Finland until last season when I went to Slovakia just before the playoffs.
“Covid-19 was the biggest reason I left Finland because here it was unclear whether the season would have been played till the end or not.
“In Slovakia, we had a good team in Spisska with good players and coaches, and everybody was working hard to win the title and advance to top league.
“It was easy to play with all those good players and I think that is why we had a lot of success.”
Timi’s career started back in 2009, where he began coming through the Jokerit youth academy, which is one of the biggest clubs in Helsinki and Finland, and they have won multiple league and playoff championships.
Lahtinen started his career off well by winning the Under 16’s championship and posted 24 points (12G, 12A) in his debut season from 37 appearances, before reaching 36 points (17G, 19A) in the 2010-2011 season.
In that same year, the Finn made the jump up to the U18’s, whilst still playing for the U16’s and he also earned his first call-up for the national team, as he represented Finland’s U16’s at the International Junior tournament that summer.
Timi’s progression continued the following year, as he split his time between the U18’s and U20’s, playing a total of 50 games and scoring 37 points (13G, 24A), while also collecting a U18 SM-sarja winners medal.
Again the Helsinki-native was called upon by his national team and in the summer of 2012, he played for both Finland’s U17’s and U18’s at each International Junior event, scoring once for the U17’s.
In the 2012-2013 campaign, the winger again spent the year between Jokerit’s U18’s and U20’s, collecting a second straight U18 championship, before representing Finland’s U18’s once more and again netting a single goal.
The following season saw Lahtinen make the first move of his career as he joined Blues at the U20 level, where he would continue his championship winning form, by adding a first SM-liiga winners medal to his collection.
In 58 games of the 2013-2014 season, he netted 30 times and recorded 25 assists for his side, with seven of those points coming in the playoffs.
A busy 2014-2015 year followed for Timi, as he iced with three teams, dividing his regular season between Blues first team in Liiga, the men’s top league, before going out on loan to Kiekko-Vantaa in the second division, Mestis.
Lahtinen played 30 times for Blues, assisting once, before a 14-game loan spell where he recorded five points (1G, 4A), but he rounded off the season with Blues U20’s making five playoff appearances and helping them to a Bronze Medal.
Then, in his final season of youth hockey, it was a similar story as he played most of the year at senior level with Blues, featuring in 41 matches, scoring twice and one of those came in his six Champions Hockey League appearances, before another loan move to the Mestis, but this time to TUTO Hockey.
After 10 games with TUTO, Timi had two goals and one assist but again returned to the U20’s for a final time and continued to add to his medal collection and this year it was a U20’s Silver Medal.
He then changed clubs for the 2016-2017 season, beginning the year with TPS in Liiga but after 27 games and providing two assists, he returned to TUTO for a second loan spell, where he iced in 22 games and provided 21 points (8G, 13A).
Lahtinen then spent the following year out on loan at TUTO again, but only played in nine league matches before making 18 post-season appearances, totalling five goals and four assists.
However, his 2017-2018 season also ended with another Silver Medal, as TUTO were runners up in the second division playoffs, but they did manage to clinch the Suomen Cup that same year, with Timi scoring twice in two matches.
He finally made a permanent switch to TUTO ahead of the 2018-2019 season and racked up 23 points (12G, 11A) in 58 games played, while also winning another Bronze Medal in the playoffs.
The big power forward then spent 2019-2020 with IPK in the Mestis league and in 50 matches, contributed seven goals and 15 assists, before joining Kiekko-Espoo last season.
Timi began last year in the Mestis league, scoring eight points (1G, 7A) in 20 appearances but after the uncertainty with COVID-19, he switched to Slovakia.
Lahtinen played in six of HK Spisska Nova Ves’ final regular season matches, scoring four times and became a key player in the playoffs.
The Finn led the team in goals and points in the post-season, as he bagged eight goals and the same number of assists, in their 15 game run to becoming Slovakia2 Playoff Champions.
Therefore, in his career so far, Lahtinen has featured in 611 matches, scored 136 goals, assisted 170 times and has collected 234 penalty minutes.
Timi is our 13th signing of the summer and joins Drydn Dow, Craig Garrigan, Kris Inglis, Alexandre Ranger, Connor Sills, Craig Moore, Kyle Haas, Brett Orr, Dillon Lawrence, Gabriel Desjardins, Brython Preece and Toms Rutkis on the roster for next season.
You can get your season tickets to watch these 13 players and the rest of the team in the 2021-2022 campaign by contacting: [email protected]
Lahtinen will wear the #81 Stars jersey next season.
To view Timi’s career stats on Elite Prospects click HERE.
Banner Image: TUTO Hockey.