Red Wings of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Detroit Red Wings system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them as they advance through the Detroit organization. Today, we feature defenseman Antti Tuomisto
How Acquired: Selected 35th overall, 2019 NHL entry draft
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-P) 59-3-17-20 (with University of Denver)
Contract Status: Unsigned
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: TPS Turku (SM-liiga)
An NCAA champion in 2021-22, Finnish defenseman Antti Tuomisto is opting to go pro for the upcoming season. He made the determination over the summer to leave the NCAA title-winning Denver Pioneers and sign with TPS Turku in Finland’s SM-liiga.
“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.”
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As a junior with Assat Pori, his hometown team, there was evidence of an offensive upside in the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Tuomisto’s game. He posted successive campaigns of 35 and 49 points in the Finnish U20 league. However, Denver was asking the 21-year-old to fill more of a shutdown role. Tuomisto collected just 20 points in 52 games with the Pioneers last season.
“He shuts it down defensively,” said Denver teammate and fellow Detroit draftee Carter Mazur said. “He’s someone that’s always out there making the right play, a great player to have on (the) back end.”
Detroit draft pick Shai Buium also is playing at Denver. He spent much of last season as Tuomisto’s defense partner.
Estimated Time of Arrival in Detroit
Just because Tuomisto has left North America, that shouldn’t be taken as a sign that he’s no longer on Detroit’s radar as an NHL prospect. He could be looking to follow in the footsteps of Detroit draft picks Moritz Seider, Albert Johansson, Simon Edvinsson and Eemil Viro, European defensemen who have moved or are moving to North America to play within the Detroit system.
Getting the chance to play regularly against men could prove beneficial to Tuomisto’s development. If he can establish a presence in the European pro game, he could find himself coming back to North American in a year or two.
“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 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.”