It's no secret the New Jersey Devils are team starved for offense. Although Ray Shero has done an admirable job in improving the forward situation in just one year, this draft will truly be his and Paul Castron's first with the organization. While the Devils have missed on forwards from Europe in recent years, Castron has a strong track record with selecting productive forwards out of European leagues and may continue this trend with Liiga forward Eetu Tuulola.
Who is Eetu Tuulola?
Besides having an extremely difficult name to pronounce, Tuulolu has had little exposure as a prospect playing internationally in the Finnish professional league. Tuulola is right around average for his draft class age, turning 18 in March and while he's an average age, he is far above average size. According to Elite Prospects, Tuulola is a big 6'3", 225 lbs Right Wing born in Finland.
Below are his stats, provided by Elite Prospects:
Tuulola has been playing in the Finnish pro leagues since joining the HPK U-16 team in 2011-2012 and this season played in Liiga with HPK for 10 games, registering only one assist. While seemingly unimpressive, Tuulola made his presence felt at the World Junior Championship registering 4 points, 2 goals and 2 assists. His World Junior performance serves as a big reason he has been highly regarded among prospects.
What Others Say about Eetu Tuulola
While many agree Tuulola has the size to excel at an elevated level, Elite Prospects provides a more in-depth look at the player:
A sizey winger with great offensive instincts. Drives to the net hard and leans into his hits. Displays slick puckhandling skills and a hard shot that he needs to use more. Skates with balance, but needs to get faster. Works very hard and doesn't take shifts off. Needs to be more active in his own end and pressure the opposition into making more rushed plays. All-in-all, a competitive winger with the size and skills to be a difference maker in games. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)
Tuulola is a big player who uses his size to his advantage and according to Joe Curtis, doesn't take shifts off. The lack of exposure may limit the amount of scouting reports on him, but most seem to agree he works hard and has potential to be a good power forward.
A Little Video
Most of his videos come from the World Juniors this year.
He has: A Great Shot
And Good Work Ethic:
An Opinion of Sorts
While the information and scouting reports on Tuulola are limited, everything seems to indicate a player with raw potential who has yet to put it together. Evidenced by the videos and scouting report, Tuulola has a great shot and a mixture of size and skill that can allow him to succeed in the NHL. While he certainly isn't a speedster, he uses his other tools to be successful and with Finland at the World Junior Championships proved his worth on Finland's third, line notching 4 points.
Tuulola finishes as Central Scouting Service's 19th European Skater, a projected mid round pick, possibly as high as the second round. He will likely be on the board with the Devils' second pick and depending on the options still on the board, he may be a player Castron looks at closely.
Based on video and scouting report, how would you feel about New Jersey drafting Eetu Tuulola? Would he be a player you'd consider taking in the second round or would you feel more comfortable spending a mid-round pick on him? Let us know your thoughts and thank you for reading.