(Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment in Detroit Hockey Now’s Tomorrow’s Red Wings series about Detroit’s prospects).
Like left-handed pitchers in baseball, there’s always going to be a market for right-shot defensemen in the NHL. That’s why the Detroit Red Wings were happy to get Antti Tuomisto to put pen to paper and sign with the club. The right-shot blueliner inked a two-year entry-level contract beginning with the 2023-24 season on March 19.
UPDATE: The #RedWings today signed defenseman Antti Tuomisto to a two-year entry-level contract beginning with the 2023-24 season.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) March 19, 2023
Tuomisto, 22, was Detroit’s 35th overall selection in the second round of the 2019 NHL entry draft. At 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, he’s certainly bringing NHL size to the ice.
Tuomisto Making His Best Decision
A year ago, after winning an NCAA title with the Denver Pioneers, where he was teammates with fellow Red Wings draftees Carter Mazur and Shai Buium, Tuomisto was making the choice to return to his native Finland to play for TPS Turku in the SM-liiga. Tuomisto would finish with 5-15-20 totals over 60 games. His point total was the highest of any defenseman 23 years of age or
younger in Finland’s top professional league.
— The NCHC (@TheNCHC) January 24, 2021
“If not the best, then one of the best decisions in my career to come to TPS and I’m really happy that I came, Tuomisto told Finnish website iltalehti.fi.
“I developed as a player during the season and there were a lot of skills that developed both on and off the ice. Maybe I have improved in defensive playing and consistency.”
The Red Wings took their time before bringing Tuomisto to play pro on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. As a European draft pick playing NCAA hockey, they could afford to allow the lanky Finn the time to evolve his game.
“Antti’s a guy who’s maybe taken a little bit longer to get over here then some but not in a negative capacity,” Red Wings assistant GM Shawn Horcoff said. “I just think he’s a big kid who was underdeveloped. I think he needed some time.
As a junior with Assat Pori, his hometown team, there was evidence of an offensive upside in Tuomisto’s game. He posted successive campaigns of 35 and 49 points in the Finnish U20 league. However, at Denver, he fell into more of a shutdown defender role. His offensive instincts seem to be returning as he came back to his homeland.
“Last year we saw him take a step forward in his development,” Horcoff said. “He played very meaningful minutes and did very well in that league.”
Expect to see Tuomisto making the adaptation to the North American game by starting the 2023-24 campaign with Detroit’s top farm club, the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins.
“We signed him with the idea of stepping into Grand Rapids next season,” Horcoff said. “We’re all hoping he can come in and step in right away and win a position on that back end and be good for us right away.”