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Draft Profiles 2k21: Samu Tuomaala is a prolific winger with a great shot, but some curious decisionmaking

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Tuomalaa has some of the best offensive skills in this draft, but is he capable of making the most of them for an NHL Team?

Kaleva.fi

Analysis:

What’s that on our doorstep today?

Why, it’s another “Karpat is the Crimson Tide of Liiga” scouting report! How nice!

However, unlike a lot of Karpat’s gains, this one’s a bit more wholesome, as Samu Tuomaala is a born and bred resident of Oulu, where Karpat plays, and he got the boyhood dream of playing for the home squad. And why not? His dad’s the equipment manager for Karpat’s U18 squad.

Tuomaala got to where he is off the back of one of the better shots in the finnish system right now, finishing second in goals for Karpat’s U20 team, only beaten by fellow draftee Ville Koivunen who will likely be drafted not too far after Tuomaala. The reason why Tuomaala might be picked before Koivunen is a simple to understand concept; Tuomaala is a goalscorer’s goalscorer. One of the better shooters of this draft, Tuomaala is not afraid to try and create chances all over the ice, and with his strong hands and freakishly accurate shot, he was an absolute terror in Finnish junior this year; willing to attack the net and be a body-mover in order to create primo scoring chances.

The big knock against Tuomaala on the other hand is that his skating is...wonky. He’s definitely agile, but sometimes he looks like he’s hit the afterburners, and other times it seems like he’s struggling to keep up with the play, especially on the forecheck where it would be most useful to him, meaning he can’t quite get around defenders in order to get to the real kill-zones.

Furthermore, his decision making is kind of galaxy brain when it comes to the puck. He can shoot well, but he has a very bad habit of creating bad turnovers in transition, and as a result he hangs onto the puck a bit too long in all parts of the game, which can be frustrating when he has the skillset to create an unreal assist with his . Finally, and this is the most surprising, for a player this interested in creating scoring chances and with his ability to place shots, Tuomaala is shockingly rather average at stick-handling, at least in tight with an opposing defender. He can absolutely get around guys, but only when he knows he has the space to do it. When he’s up against backcheckers who have him marked, then he really doesn’t have a great first move to get out of it, and that just creates yet more possible turnovers and truncated offensive zone sequences. All of these things will have to be priority development goals for Tuomaala as he gets older.

Predictably, like Svechkov, Tuomaala’s rankings by the draft prognosticators is all over the place. When you can shoot like he can, and when you can evade trouble like he can and then create it on your own, there’s something that NHL scouts will just naturally adore about you. But concerns about his skating and his decision-making are valid, to the point that some are thinking he may not be first round material altogether.

I’m not quite sure, given the information presented. Personally, I think there are better players available at #20th overall, and if you need a winger from europe, I can think of one that definitely might be a better option...but if you really take the time to make sure he does what he’s supposed to, he could be a solid option.

I leave the information to you to decide.

Rankings:

  • 32nd by EliteProspects’ Consolidated Rankings
  • 46th by EliteProspects.com
  • 46th by FC Hockey
  • 20th by Neutral Zone Hockey
  • 36th by McKeen’s Hockey
  • 10th by NHL Central Scouting among European Skaters
  • 17th by SportsNet
  • 26th by DobberProspects
  • 31st by Smaht Scouting
  • 25th by The Puck Authority
  • 37th by TSN (McKenzie)

Statistics

Year Team League Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM
Year Team League Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM
2017-18 Karpat U16 U16 SM-Sarja Q 22 19 14 33 4
Karpat U16 U16 SM-Sarja 18 13 11 24 18
Karpat U18 U18 SM-Sarja 2 0 0 0 0
2018-19 Karpat U18 U18 SM-Sarja 41 24 32 56 8
Finland U16 International 11 11 8 19 8
2019-20 Karpat U20 U20 SM-Sarja 40 15 8 23 12
Finland U17 International 6 3 3 6 0
Finland U18 International 8 5 4 9 0
2020-21 Karpat U20 U20 SM-Sarja 30 15 16 31 28
Karpat Liiga 5 0 0 0 0
Finland U18 International 7 5 6 11 0
EliteProspects.com