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Wings sign Pulkkinen to entry-level deal

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Teemu Pulkkinen is the only Finnish-born player drafted by the Red Wings since Valtteri Filppula in 2002.

DETROIT – The Red Wings have signed Teemu Pulkkinen, an offensive, playmaking forward, to a three-year entry-level contract on Tuesday.

A fourth-round draft pick in 2010, Pulkkinen belongs to the Wings draft class that includes centers Riley Sheahan and Louis-Marc Aubry, who played in Grand Rapids last season.

Pulkkinen who turned 20 in January, is a solid offensive and creative winger with good hands and is a natural goal scorer. He spent parts of four seasons, including the past two full campaigns, with the Helsinki Jokers in the SM-liiga, which is considered the top league in Finland. There, Pulkkinen, a 5-foot-10, 198-pound right wing, collected 35 goals and 59 assists in 126 games.

Last season, Pulkkinen was second in team scoring for the Jokers, netting 16 goals and 21 assists in 56 games. He also represented Finland at several international tournaments, finishing in the top 10 in scoring at both the 2011 and 2012 World Junior Championships. And at the 2010 World U-18 Championships in Belarus, Pulkkinen led the tourney in scoring with 15 points in six games as the Finns repeated as bronze medalists.

He is only the second Finnish-born player drafted by the Wings since Valtteri Filppula was selected in the third-round of the 2002 draft. Detroit drafted defenseman Juho Mielonen, who continues to play in Finland.

Pulkkinen will play for the Jokers again next season.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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