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2021 NHL Draft: Samu Tuomaala another in a growing line of Finnish snipers

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A flawed player with plus speed and a wicked wrister.

Samu Tuomaala
Finnish Ice Hockey Association

For a player as prolific as Samu Tuomaala is at a high level, there are plenty of red flags.

A standout at the U-18 World Championships for Finland where he tallied five goals and six assists in seven games, Tuomaala is a good skater with a very good shot. After one season with the U-20 affiliate of Kärpät of Finland’s top league, Tuomaala had a brief five-game stint with the big club but failed to make a dent on the scoresheet.

He has skill, but as Scott Wheeler of The Athletic and others have pointed out, his decision-making and passenger-like style raise some valid concerns about how his game might translate to the next level. At 5-foot-10 and 176 lbs, the 18 year old has room to grow physically, but in order to be a potential NHLer, he’ll have to develop the way he thinks about the game.

Pre-Draft Rankings

#10 by NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters)

#46 by Elite Prospects

#25 by Craig Button/TSN

#25 by Dobber Prospects

#39 by Scott Wheeler/The Athletic

What Scouts are Saying

A two-way scoring winger who loves to shoot. Tuomaala possesses the skill and puck handling ability to be a valuable transition player with the ability to distribute the puck when he wants to. He will need to diversity his attack a bit to reach his full potential but he has all of the tools to do it.

- Tony Ferrari, Dobber Prospects

He reloads to swing wide on his team’s breakout, collects the puck in stride, accelerates through knee-over-knee crossovers, and drives play across the offensive blue line. Blink, and you just might miss him. Tuomaala has a wicked wrist shot, and he can get it off in-stride from either foot.

- EliteProspects 2021 NHL Draft Guide

Tuomaala’s a plus-level skater who has good hands and a dangerous mid-range shot that allows him to score some pretty goals, but there are times when I think he forces his looks and takes too many low-percentage shots from the outside. When he plays an up-tempo, energizing game, he’s very effective. His skill makes him a lot of fun to watch when he’s surrounded by talented players, too (as was the case at U18s). But I do have concerns about his ability to make things happen himself and his processing power (ie. his choices with the puck under duress).

- Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

Samu Tuomaala was a player I had my eyes on going into this tournament, and he came away more impressive than I expected. His natural style of play doesn’t feel like it would work in the NHL, with tons of speed, and not much in the way of attack-minded offense, but he sure can shoot the puck, and he shot the puck good in Texas this year. I didn’t bump him up my list much, but he certainly looks like a curious case for a team to work with over the next few years.

- Will Souch, Scouching

Would He Fit In With The Wild?

There probably isn’t a world where Tuomaala ends up with the Wild. If they like what they see from Victor Rask — which I think you could argue that this current regime doesn’t — then it would be shocking to see them draft a player that had less skill on the same curve as Rask. He’s an all-offence kind of player, but even at lower-level hockey, it hasn’t translated to the type of scoring you expect to see.

Could The Wild Get Him?

They definitely could. He does have the numbers at the bigger ticket tournaments, and if draft experts like Craig Button have him going in the first round, that’s likely where he’ll go. But it is interesting that the general consensus is that he’s an early second-rounder, despite the high rankings on some draft boards.

A Minnesota Relation

It’s almost an insult to Victor Rask to compare their games, Rask had more promise at the same age as Tuomaala. Are we sure Viktor Stalberg never played for the Minnesota Wild? Although Tuomaala doesn’t have the wheels Stalberg did.

This draft board isn’t a ranking, it’s just the order in which we published our draft profiles and some guys we just wanted to write about.

2021 NHL Draft Board

  1. Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
  2. Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
  3. Brandt Clarke — D, HC Nove Zamky (Slovenia)
  4. Luke Hughes — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
  5. Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
  6. Simon Edvinsson — D, Frolunda (SHL)
  7. William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
  8. Kent Johnson — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
  9. Mason McTavish — C/W, Peterborough Petes/EHC Olten (OHL/Swiss)
  10. Carson Lambos — D, Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
  11. Aatu Raty — C, Kärpät (Liiga)
  12. Chaz Lucius — C, USNTDP Juniors (USHL), U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)
  13. Cole Sillinger — C, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
  14. Sasha Pastujov — LW, U.S. National U18 team (USDP)
  15. Jesper Wallstedt — G, Luleå HF (SHL)
  16. Fabian Lysell — RW, Luleå HF (SHL)
  17. Matthew Coronato — LW, Chicago Steel (USHL)
  18. Oskar Olausson — F, HV71 (HockeyAllsvenskan/Swedish)
  19. Corson Ceulemans — D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
  20. Fyodor Svechkov — C, Togliatti (VHL)
  21. Brennan Othmann — LW, EHC Olten (SL)
  22. Zach Bolduc — C, Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)
  23. Xavier Bourgault — C, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
  24. Olen Zellweger — D, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
  25. Isak Rosén — LW/RW, Leksands IF (SHL)
  26. Zachary L’Heureux — C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
  27. Nikita Chibrikov — LW/RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
  28. Matthew Samoskevich — C, Chicago Steel (USHL)
  29. Francesco Pinelli — C, HDD Jesenice (AlpsHL)/Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
  30. Samu Tuomaala — RW, Kärpät (Liiga)