On Saturday, the Red Wings are expected to give Teemu Pulkkinen his regular season debut — and it’s a highly-anticipated debut on a number of fronts.
Why? Well, the 23-year-old Finn has been a tremendous scorer over his last two AHL campaigns, potting 51 goal in his last 104 games with Grand Rapids. This year, he leads the American League with 20 tallies and recently tied a Griffins record by scoring in eight straight contests.
Then there’s this, courtesy the Edmonton Journal:
Pulkkinen, probably the best scorer in the AHL, is getting a look with Johan Franzen out after being freight-trained by Oilers forward Rob Klinkhammer.
“He shoots like Brett Hull,” said Detroit GM Ken Holland. He was talking volume and release, not necessarily Hull’s great gift for scoring.
He’d be on their team next year for sure because he has to clear waivers, but they’ll have a look now.
As you’ve probably guessed, Pulkkinen’s game is predicated on shots, shots, shots shots shots. While Detroit doesn’t have much issue putting pucks on goal — the Wings sit 10th in the NHL with 30.7 shots per game — it will be interesting to if Pulkkinen can fire away like he did at the AHL level, where he currently leads all players with 125 through 33 games.
“He seems to be a good player that scores, he’s scored his whole life,” Wings head coach Mike Babcock said of Pulkkinen. “Is he ready to score in the NHL? We’re always looking for goals and if he can score, why don’t we have him?
“Plus, he’s a right-hand shot.”
Pulkkinen, who played three games last year without making much of a mark, will likely play on a line with Riley Sheahan and Drew Miller tomorrow when the Wings take on the Caps in Washington.
And he knows what the gameplan is.
“They want me to shoot,” Pulkkinen said. “I want to score goals, and I’m feeling good right now.”