Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “2021 NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Samu Tuomaala Scouting Report.
Finnish forward Samu Tuomaala had one of the standout performances of the recent IIHF Under 18 World Championships putting up five goals and six assists for 11 points in seven games. He was named a Top 3 Player on Finland by the team’s coaches. Tuomaala was also named to the Tournament All-Star Team. He was coming off a strong season in the Karpat system in Finland. While Tuomaala didn’t pick up a point in five games in the SM-Liiga, he did a lot better in the Finnish Under-20 league. He scored 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points in 30 games. He also had four points in five playoff games.
Tuomaala also played in the Under-20 league in 2019-20. The then 16-year-old put up 15 goals and 10 assists for 25 points in 40 games. He also played in one playoff game before the season was cancelled due to the pandemic. Tuomaala represented Finland at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge. He scored three goals and two assists for five points in five tournament games. His father, Pasi Tuomaala, is an equipment manager in the Karpat junior system, working with the Under-18 team.
Samu Tuomaala Scouting Report
Right Wing — shoots Right
Born January 8th, 2003 — Oulu, Finland
Height 5’10” — Weight 176 lbs [178 cm/80 kg]
Tuomaala’s skating is a bit hit and miss. His first step and acceleration are decent and his top-end speed is above average. However his stride could be improved. It is a bit choppy. This robs him of some of the power and speed that he could generate. If he can improve this with a good skating coach, he can become a much more effective player. Tuomaala can keep up with the play as it is, but lacks the explosiveness to get past defenders and cut to the net. He has very good edgework and agility though. Tuomaala can make quick cuts and changes of direction on a dime. This allows him to avoid defenders with and without the puck. He also can add a bit of core strength to improve his balance and make him stronger on the puck. This should come with maturity.
Tuomaala has an outstanding array of shots. He is amongst the best shooters in the class. His wrist shot has a lightning-quick release and he can quickly move his hands to change the angle on it, fooling goaltenders. He is very accurate as well as generating a ton of power. Tuomaala also has a good slap shot and one-timer. Again he generates a lot of power and gets the puck on the net. Tumomaala finds open space without the puck, getting himself in position to take a pass and fire it on the net. He is a high-volume shooter, taking any opportunity to fire the puck on net. However, he does seem to play a bit too much on the perimeter. Tuomaala could be more effective if he gets himself into the dirty areas of the ice.
Tuomaala is much more of shooter than a playmaker but still shows some ability in this area of his game. His quick hands and good agility are able to move the puck quickly to create a passing lane when one doesn’t seem open. He shows good vision and the ability to read the play and set up scoring chances. In the neutral zone, Tuomaala tends to move the puck to a teammate, deferring to others in carrying it into the offensive zone. When he does go for a zone entry, he can sometimes hold the puck a bit too long and skate himself into a difficult situation. He could also improve his physical play and forechecking.
Tuomaala is also a good defensive player. He is strong positionally and more active physically than he is in the offensive zone. He supports the defence down low and looks to keep the puck to the outside on the cycle. Tuomaala is also willing to provide backpressure on the rush. Tuomaala has a good active stick and cuts down passing lanes. However, he could improve in moving the puck out of the zone when a turnover is created. His breakout passes can be a little too hard at times, leading to icings. He also can be pressured by a forechecker and has a tendency to turn over the puck when that happens. As he gets stronger and more confident these areas of his game may improve.
Projection and Comparison
Tuomaala has the potential to be a top-six forward. With his excellent shot, he could develop into a real weapon on the power play if he reaches his potential. Tuomaala will need to continue to work on his stickhandling and at getting himself into the dirty areas of the ice. He will need more development time and is likely at least a couple of years away from making an impact in the NHL. Tuomaala should be playing full-time in the SM Liiga next season and represent Finland at the World Juniors. His game is reminiscent of Kyle Connor, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Samu Tuomaala that are available on youtube and twitter.
They don't say Samu Tuomaala has the best shot in the #2021NHLDraft for nothing. Just look at this one-timer! #2021NHLDraft
Finland now leads 4-0 over Germany in the 1st period of this #U18Worlds game.https://t.co/3wxcloGOYC pic.twitter.com/W2EkbKldNq
— Eliteprospects (@eliteprospects) May 1, 2021
🇫🇮Samu Tuomaala (2021) ties it on a phenomenal pass from Brad Lambert (2022) #U18Worlds pic.twitter.com/dNwhZeas6X
— Paul (@PaulGb_) April 27, 2021
#2021NHLDraft-eligible Samu Tuomaala might have one of the best shots in this class – it's so accurate. Maybe letting him get behind you is a bad idea. #u20fi pic.twitter.com/uUJIMt2sBJ
— Josh Bell (@JoshuaBell31) January 31, 2021
Samu Tuomaala with a SWEET game winning snipe 🤤🎯
His shot is so good. One of the best in the 2021 NHL Draft class.#2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/xXqoJMmrhy
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) April 29, 2021
Just 29 seconds in, who else but Samu Tuomaala ties this game up for Finland! #U18Worlds
Tuolmaala has scored in every game in this tournament. pic.twitter.com/1372f7t4Hv
— Josh Bell (@JoshuaBell31) May 2, 2021
🚨 Samu Tuomaala comes back for @leijonat as Finland inches closes to that equalizer.
Hmmm… this sounds familiar… #U18Worlds pic.twitter.com/0sxt09LDsV
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) April 29, 2021
Check back tomorrow for our latest NHL Draft Article.
Samu Tuomaala Scouting Report Main Photo:
ALPINE Prospects is proud to welcome highly skilled Kärpät sniper Samu Tuomaala. One of the more notorious FIN players in his age group, Tuomaala is a 2021 eligible prospect who has excelled for FIN on multiple stages. @ufhleague pic.twitter.com/18DLW5l5qa
— Alpine Prospects (@alpineprospects) August 17, 2020