61
Photo Credit: courtesy Calgary Flames/NHL Media

Flames sign Eetu Tuulola to entry-level deal

The National Hockey League’s off-season began on Thursday and the Calgary Flames conducted a bit of business. The club has announced they have signed right wing Eetu Tuulola to a three year entry level contract.

Tuulola, 21, was the Flames’ sixth round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft. A product of Hameenliina, Finland, he had come up through his hometown club team (HPK) and impressed with his size and shot. He came over to the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips for 2016-17 via the import draft, but he returned home for 2017-18 to get a shot at playing pro hockey for his hometown team. Over the past two seasons, he played 111 games with HPK in the top Finnish league, SM-Liiga, and put up back-to-back seasons of 26 and 36 points. HPK won the SM-Liiga crown this past season.

Now, some of his hockey goals accomplished, Tuulola ventures back to North America with an eye towards making his mark at the NHL level. The Flames are lean on skilled, right-shooting forwards and Tuulola’s size (6’2″, 225 pounds) should give him a shot at making a push for NHL duty sooner or later, if his SM-Liiga results are any indication. For now, he’s likely penciled in to start the 2019-20 season with the Stockton Heat.

  • Kevin R

    If this kid can tear a page out of the Tkachuk rookie book of how to make a team & get that antagonistic edge to his play, he can get up with us sooner than later. He certainly has the size. Hope he has the nasty to go with it.

    • Bionicle77

      Well he never really pushed himself into a full time nhl spot here. I guess the temptation of the khl, plus the potential of playing on the Chinese Olympic team, was more appealing to him than another ahl year.

      • Baalzamon

        Exactly. The four game sample does not supersede the 129 game sample. Especially when he’s tying significantly younger players like Matt Phillips and Glenn Gawdin in scoring and failing to out-shine them.

        I had some hope that he’d be a third liner in the NHL, but oh well. I like Foo, but he just wasn’t working out.

    • Albertabeef

      Sorry SF, I kinda hope he makes the NHL and doesn’t play a single game in the A. Barring a crazy draft day, I think Dube and Eetu are fighting for the top prospect spot. In fact if they don’t re-sign Hathaway, I would automatically pencil Eetu into his spot, and onto the PP2. That is, as of this moment anyways. Who knows what other moves are coming.

      • freethe flames

        Lets not put to high of expectations on the young man. I hope he is good enough to compete for a job. I hope he has watched the NHL playoffs and realizes how he will need to play to make it. He has the body to play that way. If he plays that way his other skills will start to show added value. In many ways he could be just the kind of player the Flames could use.

        • deantheraven

          Right on, Free. I was telling my son that as long as the game is played (and reffed) differently in the two seasons, the Flames won’t win it all without some guys like this. He’s big and reportedly skilled. If there’s a mean streak in there, he ought to have a good shot at making it in the NHL. Good luck, EEEE TOO!

        • Albertabeef

          @Free so fourth line with PP2 is too high of an expectation? The kid has been playing pro hockey for forever now. He has also played on NA ice before so he has that too. I am not saying he is going to score 50, or put him on the first line. However the one thing I remember about this kid is he loves to score. He’s not a goon, he is sandpapery though. But in my opinion he is a more natural sniper than Ferland. Hopes and expectations are two very different things. Like I do with most prospects, my hopes are always high, my expectations are always curbed.

          • freethe flames

            AB, I two have great hope for him but I still think he will take time to get where you have suggested. Here’s hoping he does make a statement but I won’t be upset or surprised if he starts in Stockton.

          • Albertabeef

            I will be slightly upset if he doesn’t make the team. Honestly, for cap reasons, he’s a natural righty, and he’s a PP specialist, and he’s gritty and big. That checks a whole lot of boxes we seriously need to check off. He never projected higher than 3rd line with pp time, and I just hope he finds himself there sooner rather than later. I don’t expect a “statement” from him, just steady and reliable. Besides can he really be worse than James Neal?

      • Stockton's Finest

        I would want him to play at least a year in the A to get used to being a pro. No need to rush a guy when he’s not ready. I think Dube and Valimaki would have both been better with a full year down here.

  • Albertabeef

    Not sure if this makes me happier than that Raptor’s win tonight. Long painful wait. Eetu was one prospect I was going to be mad if he never was offered or signed to an ELC. Even if he doesn’t make it, it still feels like a huge signing.

  • freethe flames

    ET is 21 and won’t turn 22 until the spring; lots of time for this young man to develop.
    With a week until the draft BT will keep us interested by making more moves on a daily basis. I would love to see the signings done early so he can concentrate on other matters.( yes better slowly and right, than in haste and wrong)

    • deantheraven

      Yes, Free. I’m looking forward to seeing Eetu at camp but won’t be heartbroken if he plays in Stockton next season. I check every day, mostly looking for signings.
      Once Chucky is signed, everything will Fall into place.

      • freethe flames

        Sometimes I go the the other sites on the nations to read what the writers are talking about; don’t feel the need to comment over there. On ON they have a good article on guys who might be available at 88. I personally wish that the new articles were posted at 7 a.m. rather than 8 a.m. but that is b/c I’m an early riser.

  • freethe flames

    I was thinking about ET a bit more; he kind of reminds me of Ferland; not saying he is a tough as Ferland but he has that likeable attitude that made us like Ferrly. Here’s hoping he plays more like Ferrly.

    • everton fc

      He doesn’t have Ferland’s hands, not Ferland’s offencive instincts. Nor can he scrap w/anyone in the league (Ferland may have the concussion fears, and I’m glad he stays out of the fray more, now, but healthy, he’s one of the few that could give Reaves a go).

      All the above said, “ET” may simply be a third line grinder and agitator, more like Roussel, albeit bigger.

      • freethe flames

        I was thinking more his personality than his skill set. Let’s remember that the Ferland we see now was not the guy we drafted. He spent 2 more years back in the CHL, then another year bouncing between the CHL/AHL, then a complete year in the AHL, then a year bouncing between the AHL?NHL(also recovering from his knee surgery) and then spent 2 years as 3rd/4th liner before his skills showed up at the NHL level. All through these years(and his court battle) he was a guy who was easy to like. If ET develops anywhere along these lines he will a great find but even if he doesn’t he still has been an easy guy to cheer for.

      • Albertabeef

        I think you may be over rating Ferland. I think Lindholm was proof that Ferland never belonged on the first line. He is at best a third line grinder and agitator and only played on the first line out of GG’s desperation. That’s not a knock at Ferly at all, he is an established NHL player. If he was healthy I would love to see him back on our third line, maybe with Benny and Tuu. However we have a log jam of lefties on our team and we just don’t have room for him.

        • everton fc

          Ferland wasn’t a first line wing. However, he could play there, need be. He’s a 2nd/3rd line wing. He’s also one of the toughest guys in the league, and is a natural scorer, albeit streaky. Note, as well, he can play both wings, with the same level of efficiency. He’d be a good fit here, once again. I’d take Ferland over Neal all day, everyday. I’d take Ferland over Frolik, as well. What team wouldn’t – and that’s no knock on Frolik, who I like.

          • Albertabeef

            Like I said you way over value him. Like holy wow Batman! As I said we have too many lefties, as in too many left shooting players. He was relatively ineffective as a right winger. I’m in my 40’s and probably could have produced more with Johnny and Mony. I wouldn’t even call his scoring as streaky more like spotty.