SAN JOSE, CA - San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has signed unrestricted free agent center Antti Suomela (ON-tee SOO-oh-mehla) to a one-year, entry-level contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Antti's a very skilled center who has improved his development and production in each of his three seasons in Finland's top league," said Wilson. "We like his combination of skill, speed and defensive awareness and think his style of play fits with the way we play as a team. After leading the league in scoring, he had a number of teams interested in his services, and we are excited that he chose San Jose. We look forward to him joining our organization."
Suomela, 24, led Finland's top professional league (Liiga) in scoring, recording 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) and a plus-28 rating (second in the league) in 59 games with JYP. The Liiga All-Star led his team in points, assists, plus-minus and game-winning goals (6, tied for second in the league) despite playing in only the twelfth-most average minutes per game (15:47), ranked tied for second in goals, and third in shots on goal (268) while taking just three minor penalties all season. Suomela added one goal and two assists in six playoff games, and helped JYP win the 2018 Champions Hockey League, posting three goals and three assists in 12 tournament games.
In 169 career games in Finland's top league, Suomela posted 131 points (56 goals, 75 assists) and a plus-34 rating, and led his team in points in each of this three full seasons in the Liiga. He helped JYP win Liiga's bronze medal in 2016-17, and prior to joining Finland's top league in 2015-16, helped his clubs earn a medal in every season since 2010-11, including two junior championships (Jr. B I-divisioona, 2011 & Jr. A SM-liiga, 2014).
The six-foot, 175-pound native of Espoo, Finland, has represented his native Finland on several occasions, including the 2018 World Championships and the Euro Hockey Tour (2017 and 2018).