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By The Numbers Prospects: Antti Tuomisto

Heady defenseman had a breakout season for Finland's Ässät U20 'A'

by Arthur J. Regner @ArthurJRegner / DetroitRedWings.com

By the Numbers will highlight the on-ice accomplishments in the 2019-20 season for the Detroit Red Wings' prospects. During the offseason, By the Numbers will profile a different player in the system, focusing on his statistical highs. This week we focus on defenseman Antti Tuomisto.

When the Red Wings drafted 6-foot-4, 194-pound, right-handed shooting defenseman Antti Tuomisto in the second round, 35th overall, in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, they stressed how impressed they were with his intelligence and well-rounded skill set.

Tuomisto is a heady player who has an edge to his game.

He skates well for a big man, likes to hit and possesses an accurate and powerful shot.

Though he still needs to become stronger, especially in his lower body, which will improve his skating, the Finnish rearguard's long reach, offensive tools and high hockey IQ were on full display this season playing for Ässät U20 in Finland's top junior league -- Jr. A SM-liiga.

He was named the league's MVP and defenseman of the year, earning a promotion to Ässät's team in Finland's Liiga, the country's top professional league.

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But like season, when his exceptional all-around play also earned him a promotion to Ässät Liiga, Tuomisto again opted to stay with Ässät U20 to preserve his NCAA eligibility.

This coming fall, Tuomisto will enroll at the University of Denver to patrol the blue line for the Pioneers.

If he continues to develop rapidly and he's able to adapt to the smaller North American ice surface, where the game is quicker and more physical, Tuomisto could make a legitimate run -- in the not-too-distant future -- to becoming an impact player on the Red Wings defensive corps.

48 - Total number of games he played in Jr. SM-liiga for Ässät U20.

15 - His 15 goals was tops by a defenseman on his team and tied with forward Arttu Lausniemi for third. Forward Jami Virtanen led Ässät with 27.

34 - Tuomisto's 34 assists led Ässät U20. Lausniemi was second with 28.

49 - The 19-year-old's 49 total points in 48 games led his team, was 14th overall in the league and ranked first among defensemen in Jr. SM-liiga. Virtanen was second on Ässät with 48 points in 51 games.

44 - He was assessed 44 total penalty minutes, which was third most on his team. Fellow defenseman Miro Sistonen led Ässät U20 in penalty minutes with 74 in 46 games played.

18 - For a defenseman who played in all situations and against the opposition's top players, Tuomisto's plus-18 was fourth best on his team. Another fellow blueliner, Rami Määttä, was plus-24 in 46 games, which led Ässät U20. Lausniemi was second at plus-23. Virtanen and Eemeli Takala were both plus-19.

35 - The Red Wings selected Tuomisto in the second round, 35th overall, in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver. He becomes the second player to be drafted 35th overall by the Wings. In the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, held in St. Paul, Minn., Detroit chose right wing Tomas Jurco in the second round, also 35th overall.     

Quotable: "He played J20 in Finland this year. The only reason he played there the whole year is because he's going to the University of Denver next year. He needed to in order to keep his eligibility. He had a fantastic year. He won the defenseman of the year and the MVP of the league. Can't really ask for him to do much more than that. I think he's another one that's just starting to figure out how good he can be. He's a big kid. He moves well, he's got good sense, he passes the puck well, he can play both ends of the ice. Obviously there's some structure and detail to his game that he's going to need to learn but that will come with good coaching and experience. But he's a kid that needs to physically put the time in. When we get him on the ice, if we can make his skating a little bit better and improve it, because there's good tools there and there's good structure there. I think leg strength is a big thing for him. If he can put on some more leg strength, you're going to see his skating improve and with that, really he's got a lot to like. There's a lot of ability there." -- Shawn Horcoff, Red Wings director of player development and assistant director of player personnel

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