Detroit Red Wings prospect profile: Teemu Pulkkinen

In this edition of the Red Wings prospect series I will be taking a closer look at Teemu Pulkkinen.

Forward (RW) – Finland – Age 22

5-foot-11, ~185 pounds – Shoots Right-handed

Drafted 111st Overall in 2010 NHL Entry Draft

Career Stats (Regular Season Only)

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Strengths / Weaknesses

+ Powerful Accurate Sniper, Excels on Power Plays

- Speed, Creating Space, Staying Healthy

Teemu Pulkkinen possesses a wicked shot but beyond that the rest of his skills fall below average. While he isn’t the best skater Pulkkinen does get by in the AHL with his ability to hold onto the puck. The question moving forward for Teemu is can he find the open scoring areas in a much faster paced NHL game?

Since he isn’t the fastest or most skilled skater he needs to use his small frame to shrug off hard hitters to locate areas on the ice where he can help contribute. Something that is very hard to make a living off of in the NHL.

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Pulkkinen could find himself in a similar role to what Alfredsson was asked to do for the Red Wings this past season.

NHL Comparisons

  • Patric Hornqvist (Nashville Predators)
  • Kris Versteeg (Chicago Blackhawks)
  • Daniel Alfredsson (Detroit Red Wings)

There are only a few noteworthy players to compare Pulkkinen to because, like I said above, it’s extremely hard for players to survive in the NHL with this type of skillset. Long gone are the days that all you needed was a hard slap shot to make it in the NHL.

Hornqvist, Versteeg, and Alfredsson have survived because they have slightly adapted their games to find these scoring areas to be successful. For Pulkkinen to follow in their footsteps he needs to do the same. In the AHL he is getting a majority of his goals from two areas: the top of the left and right faceoff circle. Goalies in the NHL are too good to allow goals from that length and angle.

If Pulkkinen can migrate more towards the middle of the ice and have his teammates help him out more by getting traffic in the front of net then he is well on his way to becoming one of the few pure sharp shooters remaining in the league.

Evaluations

RedWingsCentral.com: #7 rated Red Wings’ prospect

Hockey’sFuture.com: Potential second-line forward

Being so one-dimensional hurts Pulkkinen at RedWingsCentral.com and I think it’s pretty lenient by Hockey’sFuture.com to rate him as a future second-line forward. I see Pulkkinen challenging as a forth possible third-line forward with a key sniper role on the Red Wings’ power play when Alfredsson retires.

Unless he develops the other areas of his game drastically, that’s really the biggest role I can see Teemu fulfilling with all the other prospects Detroit has waiting in the wings.

Next Season

Pulkkinen is most likely to start the season in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins unless he shocks everybody at the Wings’ preseason training camp (and even then he is still likely to be a Griffin). There is just no room on the roster for him this season, at least to start.

Like we saw last year, injuries change everything and that’s the only way I see Pulkkinen cracking into the Wings’ line-up this upcoming season which is a shame because it’s kind of hard to adapt your game to the NHL level if you aren’t actually playing in the NHL.

This is the last year Pulkkinen is exempt from waivers and his rookie contract also expires at the end of the season. In other words, time is starting to run out for the Finnish Sniper.

Other Red Wings’ Prospect Profiles

Let me know in the comments below which prospect you would like to see profiled next.

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