Red Wings’ Teemu Pulkkinen Out 4-6 Months

We may have one part of the answer as to why the Red Wings signed as many forwards as they did on July 1st.

Red Wings’ Teemu Pulkkinen Out 4-6 Months

Teemu Pulkkinen seemed to finally round into form early in the 2015-16 NHL season, as he scored six goals in 24 games. As he was showing promise early in the year,  an injury on December 3rd set him back. He struggled to get ice-time after he recovered, and was a regular healthy scratch. Pulkinnen would play just 12 more games down the stretch, able to tally just two assists. With this second setback, his development takes another hit, one that was quite impressive and promising just a year ago.

In his first full AHL season, Pulkkinen scored 31 goals and 59 points to break the Grand Rapids Griffins single-season rookie goal record. After his incredible rookie season in the Finnish League, his numbers slowly declined. This time around, however, they just got better and better. In 2014-15, he scored 34 goals in 46 games, before being called up to the NHL. He would crack the Red Wings line-up for 31 games; posting five goals and eight points. He was sent down after the Wings were eliminated, looking to lead the Griffins back to the Calder Cup. They fell short as the NHL team did, but Pulkkinen more than did his part. He scored an incredible 14 goals in 16 playoff games, including an eight-game goal streak.

The 24-year old Vantaa native carried a prime resume coming to North America. He was breaking records in the Finnish League that were previously held by Teemu Selanne, Jari Kurri, and Saku Koivu. After establishing himself in Jokerit’s youth program, scoring 35 goals in 41 combined games at the Junior-A level, he went on to enjoy success for the pro team. Pulkkinen scored 15 or more goals twice and 30 or points three times, including topping out at 18 markers and 54 points as a rookie. His Brett Hull-like blast was on display.

A restricted free agent this offseason, Pulkkinen could be ready for the start of the season, or could return in December. With the Wings signing Frans Nielsen, Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott in addition to re-signing Darren Helm and Drew Miller, it’s unclear where Pulkkinen could fit in the line-up. General Manager Ken Holland expects him to be back early in the season and is mulling a trade for a defenseman, which should be expected with 15 forwards currently under contract. After the dust settles, however, it still could be tough for Jeff Blashill to find a spot for the Finnish forward.

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