In the midst of Nick Lidstrom’s retirement and the IIHF World Championships, the Detroit Red Wings did actually make some managerial decisions. The Red Wings put pen to paper with Finnish forward Teemu Pulkkinen, who the Wings drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 National Hockey League draft. Even though Pulkkinen won’t play for the Red Wings next season, the Detroit front office is exited about what this 20-year-old goalscorer can provide for the team in the future.
Pulkkinen has spent the last few seasons playing for the Helsinki Jokers of the SM-liiga, which is widely considered the top league in Finland, and one of the best in the world. He scored 35 times to go with 59 assists in the 126 games he has played in over the last two seasons. Pulkkinen has also fared well while playing for country. Pulkkinen finished in the top 10 in scoring in the Junior World Championships in both 2010 and 2011.
Pulkkinen’s small frame may be a bit of an issue as he comes to the NHL, as he stands only 5 foot 10 inches, and weighs under 200 pounds. It will be valuable for him to learn under Jiri Hudler, who carries a similar body type.
Pulkkinen is only the second Finnish player the Red Wings have drafted; Valtteri Filppula being the other. I’d say that has worked out okay for the Red Wings thus far. Pulkkinen’s youth and goal scoring expertise should help the Red Wings moving forward, especially since the current roster isn’t getting any younger. Most of the goals have been coming from the older players, and the implementation of Pulkkinen could prove crucial over the next five seasons.