There was a time when Detroit Red Wings fans were as stoked for the arrival of Teemu Pulkkinen as they are fired up right now about the presence of Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider.
With AHL Grand Rapids, the Finnish left-winger was displaying, well, plenty of finish. He scored 31 goals for the Griffins in 2013-14 and and AHL-leading 34 goals in 2014-15.
He never could duplicate anything near that production at the NHL level, though. Scoring goals in the show is as much about release as it is any other quality, and when it came to a quick release, Pulkkinen was a hound. He was one of those types of whom hockey people would say liked to dust the snow off the puck before shooting. And you just don’t have that kind of time in the NHL.
In 80 games with the Red Wings, Pulkkinen found the back of the net 11 times. Pulkkinen isn’t a great skater, is undersized (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) and his work ethic isn’t exactly off the charts. Considering the other flaws in his game, that level of output wasn’t going to cut it in the show.
The analytics crowd were enamored with Pulkkinen because his numbers crunched out well, making him seem on paper a player he never could be on the ice. The Minnesota Wild, Arizona Coyotes and Vegas Golden Knights all gave him a shot before also passing on Pulkkinen. But he seems to have found a comfort level and rediscovered his touch in the KHL.
He’s in his fifth season in the league and third club, Traktor Chelyabinsk. Pulkkinen, who’s never netted more than 17 goals in a KHL season, is currently tied for third in league goal scoring with 13.
Down On The Farm
Riley Barber scored two goals, but it wasn’t enough for the Griffins to overcome their arch rivals. Grand Rapids fell 6-3 to the Chicago Wolves on Sunday at Van Andel Arena.
Jonatan Berggren also scored for the Griffins. His goal ended Grand Rapids’ 169:21 scoreless drought against the Wolves, spanning over nearly nine periods.
Rumor Of The Day
What will it cost the Vegas Golden Knights to land center Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres? And what can they afford to give up to get him?
Around The League
Pittsburgh: Two more Penguins are entering the NHL’s COVID protocols, necessitating the recall of P.O. Joseph.
Calgary: The Flames are winning and several players are contributing to Calgary’s success.
Colorado: Erik Johnson scored his first goal since March 6, 2020, and boy was the Avs’ defenseman excited.
Washington: Taking injured forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Nic Dowd with them on their Florida trip would suggest that both players are nearing a return to action.
Detroit: In a celebration of Halloween, a look back at the most iconic goalie masks in Red Wings history.