Is Eetu Tuulola Bound for the WHL?

It’s been quite the month for big Finnish winger Eetu Tuulola.

First he was drafted in the 6th round by the Calgary Flames. Then he was selected in the WHL draft by the Everett Silvertips. Then he participated in his first ever NHL prospect camp where he was perhaps the most dominant player on the ice during the scrimmage. 

He also became a favourite new prospect of FlamesNation thanks to incredible quotes like “Everything is possible in this life” and “I love to score goals.” Not too shabby.

On top of all that, an article out of Finland suggests Tuulola might be headed to the WHL to play his next season. 

The article in question is here from HPK.com. For those of you who don’t speak Finnish, here’s a rough translation from google:

HPK ‘s Eetu Tuulola an attacker to use a playing contract of the option and moves to Canada for the period 2016-2017 WHL junior league reads .
Tuulola was reserved earlier in the summer NHL team Calgary Flames on numbers 156 .
Tuulolan contract covers HPK with another period 2017-2018. HPK ‘s head coach Antti Pennanen would be happy to have Tuulolan the team. League is a good series to develop young players, not least because the player is playing men’s games and is also time for training. We would be happy to have seen Eetu fighting HPK ‘s shirt. I also believe that we would be able to support the development of Eetua towards professionalism. Eetu respect your decision and wish you all the best Eetu next season.

There’s some reading between the lines there, but it points to Eetu leaving HPK for the WHL.

Although the Sm-Liiga is a superior league, moving overseas can potentially benefit Tuulola’s development. It puts him in closer contact with the Flames so they can monitor his progress and it makes it more likely he will get a lot of games and a primary role. Though playing in a pro league against men can be potentially beneficial for prospects, there’s a risk of their ice time being limited. For instance, Tuulola actually only appeared in 10 games for HKP last year, instead bouncing between the senior and junior teams.  

Mikael Backlund made a similar decision to move to the WHL in his draft+2 season. That year, his ice time was being severely restricted by the coach of Vasteras IK, so he jumped ship mid-season to the dominant Kelowna Rockets. The move seems to have worked out for him int he long run.

Selfishly, we as Flames fans will also be able to follow Tuulola a lot easier if he’s playing on the side of the pond. And judging from his prospect camp performance he might be a guy to keep an eye on. 

  • Ade91

    As a Finn myself I can confirm that the article says that Eetu is gonna go to WHL for the upcoming season. Sad tho cause I would have liked to see more of his game in person over here, but I guess getting used to NA style, small rink and all, will benefit him in the long run.

    • McRib

      Yeah anything above a point per game (especially on a Kevin Constantine coached team) is just a bonus, here’s hoping he surpasses those expectations.

      Everett doesn’t come to Alberta next year, but every game is available online, so that’s a plus. The Silvertips finished second last in goals for as a team in the entire WHL last season (only last place Kootenay had less), so even with a defensive minded coach someone needs to score goals for them, so Tuulola will have plenty of offensive minutes.

    • OKG

      If our 6’3″ 220lb winger is notably over that PPG mark, we might as well skyrocket him in our rankings as one of our top forward prospects. Even guys like Lucic and Crouse weren’t putting up the best stats in junior.

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    For once, WW made a great and non-annoying comment, kudos fake TV star! Anyways, this guy looks amazing, his goals in Dev Camp scrimmage were awesome, maybe “in 10 years the best guy ever taken”….whoops some jolly rotund fellow stole my keyboard!

  • oddclod

    He’s not Swedish, but he’s got the sweet-ish puck control ala ‘ol Foppa. Confidence, charisma and a smart lad. he’ll do just fine in the league in 2 yrs. Love this draft.

    • McRib

      No there is a year long no trade moratorium on players who were just selected in the CHL Import Draft, furthermore teams can also no longer trade CHL Import Picks leading up to the draft (these rules all changed in 2013 when they outlawed goaltenders). The Hitmen can trade for Tuulola next year after he has already played one season in Everett, but let’s hope he lights it up and is already in the AHL by then. I don’t understand why the CHL went to this structure as it only further punishes small market CHL Teams. For instance Kootenay’s first overall selection is likely not coming over this year. Therefore why wouldn’t the CHL not want that high end talent to be traded to a big market team and at least let Kootenay to get an asset back from say a Kelowna (high profile prospects force CHL teams to give them $100,000+ to buy them out of European contract, something the Kootenay’s of the world cannot afford to do), keeping that talent in the league should be a priority. However Kootenay should also have know better though as well that a potential Top. 10 2017 NHL Draft talent in Klim Kostin wasn’t going to commit to them and they should have selected a more singable prospect. The CHL Import Draft is sketchy to say the least, as most big market teams will have pre-arranged “deals” with certain prospects and then that specific prospect will tell other teams that he is staying in Europe, hence why the London, Quebec, Halifax, etc of the world always have great Europeans. European agents really control where the talent goes, it’s not a “best available situation” at all. If it was Olli Juolevi would have gone 1st to Acadie-Bathurst last year.

      • The GREAT Walter White

        Thanks. Frustrating….

        How high was Eetu drafted by the Silvertips?

        Did the Hitmen pass him over a few times? If so; that seems like a miss…

        WW

        • McRib

          He was selected 40th and the Hitmen didn’t select until 46th. They were obviously hoping he fell a little further. Glad he Is coming to WHL nonetheless as his style of game seemed well suited in camp to smaller ice as has already been mentioned.

  • cunning_linguist

    I think we should be a bit more cautious about this…based on a development camp scrimmage we are already talking about a point per game WHL player? I’m pretty excited about the potential of this kid for a 6th round pick, but we’d better not start heaping top prospect expectation on him. I can’t help but wonder how he slipped so far in the draft..