Arto Javanainen, first European draft pick in Penguins history, dies at 51 - 01-26-11

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Former Penguins right winger Arto Javanainen, the first European draft pick in franchise history, passed away following a long illness in a hospital at Turku, Finland according to Finnish news site, SK24. He was 51.

Selected in fifth round of the 1984 draft, the same one which produced Mario Lemieux, Javanainen, a star with the Assat Pori team in Finland's SM-liiga league, joined the Penguins midway through the 1984-85 season. After spending the first half of that season with the Penguins' AHL affiliate in Baltimore, Javanainen made his NHL debut Jan. 9, 1985 in a 7-4 defeat of of the Canucks. Along with defenseman defenseman Petteri Lehto, they became the first Finnish players in franchise history. Javanainen recorded an assist on a first period goal by center John Chabot.

Javanainen's NHL career amounted to 14 games and five points (four goals, one assist) that season. After finishing the season with Baltimore, Javanainen returned to Finland and where he once again became an all-star.

After retring in 1995, Javanainen, who represented his native country in multiple international tournaments including the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, was inducted into the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.

Javanainen is survived by his wife and two children.

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