Under normal circumstances, a Detroit Red Wings prospect leaving North America to return to play in Europe would be seen as the end of the story in terms of the potential for playing in the NHL.
In the case of Antti Tuomisto, the exact opposite is true.
— HC TPS (@HCTPS) May 23, 2022
The Finnish defenseman is opting to forego his junior and senior NCAA seasons with the Denver Pioneers and is returning to his homeland. Tuomisto and TPS of the SM-liiga, Finland’s top division, have agreed to terms on a contract for next season.
The Red Wings, however, maintain Tuomisto’s NHL rights. Selected 35th overall in the 2019 NHL entry draft – Steve Yzerman’s first draft as Detroit GM – Tuomisto is still intent of earning a spot with the Red Wings in his future hockey plans. He remains unsigned in terms of an NHL deal, however.
Opportunity For Tuomisto With TPS
The chance not only to enter the pro ranks but the promise of significant ice time in a men’s league was what ended up convincing Tuomisto that returning home to play was his best path going forward.
“The feelings are very good that I got a chance to play in TPS and Turku,” Tuomisto told the TPS website. “I am especially in the mood to get into a club where I have the opportunity to succeed and, of course, develop as a player.”
Congrats boys! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/z4ZraNGxDT
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 10, 2022
Tuomisto, 21, was displaying an offensive acumen from the back end as a junior player with Assat Pori. He posted back-to-back campaigns of 35 and 49 points in the Finnish U20 league.
However, that offensive upside wasn’t as evident at Denver. In 59 games with the Pioneers, he was good for 3-17-20 totals.
Red Wings Still On Radar
TPS is also the Finnish club of Red Wings defensive prospect Eemil Viro (70th, 2021). However, he’s signed a contract with Detroit and expectations are he’ll be playing in North American during the 2022-23 campaign.
Ultimately, that remains the goal for Tuomisto as well.
“We are glad that Antti chose TPS,” club player coordinator Tomi Kallio said. “We believe he will help while taking steps towards the NHL himself. As a large (6-foot-5, 205-pound) right-handed defenseman, he brings us strong skills to play the puck, and the NHL selection in the second round (of the draft) speaks volumes about his potential.”