Lately, it seems the Detroit Red Wings can produce young players without a problem. This week they retained Teemu Pulkkinen, another one of those young talents.
The 23 year old performed well in his time between the Red Wings and their American Hockey League club, the Grand Rapids Griffins, who advanced to the AHL’s western conference finals led by Pulkkinen.
In 31 games with the Red Wings, he scored eight points overall. He led the AHL in scoring with 61 points even though he played in just 46 games in the league overall. His scoring title brought him the Willie Marshall Award.
The Finnish forward has played in 119 career games with the Griffins since coming to North America, and he’s put up 121 points in that time. He’s ranked as the Red Wings second best prospect after Dylan Larkin.
Pulkkinen was drafted in the fourth round at 111th overall in the 2010 NHL draft. He’s a former rookie of the year in the Finnish league, and he’s played in the IIHF twice for the Finnish national team.
Hockey’s Future says this about Pulkkinen:
"Pulkkinen has first-class, high end talent with a very dangerous shot, as it is both heavy and accurate. He also has a very quick release. Pulkkinen has some playmaking skills to go with his scoring ability. He is not the best skater but makes up for it with his ability to hang onto the puck. His defensive awareness is spotty at times, not uncommon for young players who were dominant scorers at the junior levels.Pulkkinen has the offensive game to play professionally and has dominated at the AHL level in his first two seasons in North America. He projects as a future NHL forward who can score consistently providing he continues to develop the supplementary areas of his game."
After two strong seasons with the Griffins and some time in the NHL this past year, its easy to infer that Pulkkinen has a chance to make the Red Wings roster out of training camp. He didn’t stand out like crazy in his limited NHL action, but he did some good things and has obviously outgrown the minor leagues.
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