The Detroit Red Wings have called on the Grand Rapids Griffins for seven prospects this season, but Teemu Pulkkinen has yet to earn his first NHL look.
Pulkkinen, in his first full season in North America, ranks tied for 20th in AHL scoring with 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points in 35 games, one point behind Griffins team leader Tomas Jurco. Offensively, as he’s been mostly his entire career in Finland and in major under-20 international tournaments, he’s been a big success.
“Teemu is one of those guys where the puck seems to follow him around the ice,” Griffins second-year head coach Jeff Blashill told GriffinsHockey.com. “It’s probably because he’s a pretty smart player offensively, and he finds a way to win puck battles. When he’s got the puck on his stick, he’s got a real weapon of a shot.”
The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder had three full seasons under his belt with Jokerit of the SM-Liiga before coming to Grand Rapids. In that time, he tallied 48 goals and 77 assists for 125 points in 170 games. At the international junior level, he was a sensation, tallying 26 goals and 24 assists for an astounding 50 points in just 25 games.
With another year exempt from waivers in 2014-15, the Red Wings have time to be patient with Pulkkinen, because he still has room for improvement as a scorer. But more importantly, he’ll need to work on his defensive game to follow in the foot-steps of other forward call-ups such as Luke Glendening, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco.
“He needs to learn how to play from the defensive side of the puck, how to make stops in the defensive zone,” Blashill told GriffinsHockey.com. “All habits that come over time. I believe he’s getting better at those habits and that he will continue to improve.”
NOTES: Although Canada disappointed at the IIHF world junior championship, going medalless for a second straight year, the tournament was truly a success for right-winger Anthony Mantha (Val-d’Or, QMJHL). With five goals and six assists for 11 points in seven games, along with a plus-6 rating and 29 shots, he finished tied for third in tournament scoring and tied for second in goals. He was one of three players named to the media-voted all-star team and one of Canada’s top three players as selected by its coaching staff. Mantha returns to the QMJHL with a 12-point lead over Marcus Power of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the league scoring race … Goaltender Jake Paterson (Saginaw, OHL) lost his job to Zach Fucale in the round robin and finished with a 0-1-1 record in two starts, a 3.36 goals-against average and a .867 save percentage … Defenseman Alexey Marchenko was recalled to Detroit and made his NHL debut last week. He was a plus-2 with 13:21 of ice time. “Every time I call down to Grand Rapids they say he’s their best guy,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Press. Babcock added after the game, to the Detroit News: “I thought he could really pass the puck, he knows how to play, he doesn’t get into trouble. So he was a real positive.” … Left-winger Tomas Jurco (Grand Rapids, AHL) was named to Team Slovakia for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, a big pat on the back for his strong season, and a chance to further prove himself ready for prime time. Jurco had two goals, one assist and an even plus-minus while averaging 12:56 of ice time in Detroit but was sent down to Grand Rapids prior to the Winter Classic. “Tomas is a high-end player in this league (the AHL), and he’s going to be a high-end player in the National Hockey League,” Blashill told MLive.com. “He makes something happen out of nothing.” … Mike McKee (Western Michigan, NCAA), drafted as a tough defenseman, was apparently used as a forward in his last game with the Broncos … Left-winger Andreas Athanasiou (Barrie, OHL) has used a 42-point explosion over his past 28 games to vault himself into the OHL’s top-20 scorers.
Sarah Lindenau contributed to this report.
SKATERS: REGULAR-SEASON REPORT
|Almquist, Adam||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||32||0||20||20||28||-2||53|
|Callahan, Mitchell||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||35||13||5||18||37||+13||88|
|Jurco, Tomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||29||12||17||29||14||+8||81|
|Marchenko, Alexey||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||33||2||14||16||6||+15||24|
|Sheahan, Riley||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||27||7||10||17||10||+2||46|
|Sproul, Ryan||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||35||6||14||20||16||+15||77|
|Glendening, Luke||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||18||5||7||12||18||+8||26|
|Jarnkrok, Calle||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||35||10||6||16||10||+13||63|
|Pulkkinen, Teemu||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||35||12||16||28||20||+16||85|
|Frk, Martin||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||13||0||0||0||8||-5||7|
|Jensen, Nick||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||10||0||0||0||0||+2||3|
|Tvrdon, Marek||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||1||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|Ferraro, Landon||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||32||7||10||17||29||+4||87|
|Aubry, Louis-Marc||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||4||0||0||0||5||-1||6|
|Fournier, Gleason||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||9||0||0||0||0||+3||6|
|Parkes, Trevor||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||4||0||0||0||2||-1||4|
|Nestrasil, Andrej||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||29||3||5||8||12||+2||25|
|Ouellet, Xavier||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||33||2||7||9||12||+10||40|
|Nedomlel, Richard||Grand Rapids||AHL||PRO||3||0||0||0||2||-2||1|
|Nastasiuk, Zach||Owen Sound||OHL||CHL||40||13||18||31||16||-6||–|
|McNulty, Marc||Prince George||WHL||CHL||38||7||14||21||69||-1||–|
|De Haas, James||Clarkson||ECAC||NCAA||16||2||4||6||10||-1||21|
|McKee, Mike||W. Michigan||BIG-10||NCAA||11||0||0||0||46||0||1|
|Pope, David||W. Kelowna||USHL/JR-A||JR-A||25||12||8||20||10||–||–|
GOALIES: REGULAR SEASON REPORT
|Coreau, Jared||Grand Rapids||AHL||3||0||2||0||0||4.01||.860|
|Mrazek, Petr||Grand Rapids||AHL||13||10||2||1||1||2.09||.927|
|McCollum, Thomas||Grand Rapids||AHL||23||13||6||1||1||2.24||.923|