Edmonton Oilers sign Frans Tuohimaa

On Friday, the Oilers announced that they had signed 2011 seventh round draft pick Frans Tuohimaa to a two-year entry-level contract. Tuohimaa becomes the seventh member of the Oilers’ 2011 draft class either signed to an entry-level deal or traded for a player (Tobias Rieder for Kale Kessy) who was.

Since Draft Day

Tuohimaa was an over-ager when the Oilers drafted him. He had run up some crooked numbers as a 19-year old in Finland’s top junior league; that 0.931 save percentage in 2010-11 was matched by a 0.930 save percentage over seven playoff games.

In the two years since, Tuohimaa has turned into a pretty decent goalie in Finland, both for Jokerit in the top league and for Kiekko-Vantaa in the second league. Last season’s 0.912 save percentage in the top league isn’t world-beating stuff, but given Tuohimaa’s age it’s certainly enough to indicate there might be a player there.

The Oilers’ Goaltending Depth

I mentioned Tuohimaa in passing last weekend when the Oilers signed fellow 2011 draftee Martin Gernat:

Of the goaltenders, [Samu] Perhonen was seen as a possible steal on draft day but has not developed, and given his performance in the second-tier Finnish league this year it wouldn’t be a big surprise if the Oilers decide not to ink him to a contract. Tuohimaa has rounded into a fairly competent Finnish league backup at the age of 21; based on his performance I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oilers chose to let him go and I wouldn’t be surprised if they chose to keep him (particularly with the slow development of Olivier Roy and the total implosion of Tyler Bunz at the professional level).

As of yet there is no indication whether Tuohimaa will be coming over from Europe immediately; he just signed a two-year deal with HPK in the top Finnish league. If he does, I would guess that he’s bound for the ECHL, at least to start, with the Oilers minor-league system looking like this:

  • AHL Starter: Veteran number three goaltender (possibly Yann Danis, possibly an external candidate)
  • AHL Backup: Olivier Roy
  • ECHL 1A: Frans Tuohimaa
  • ECHL 1B: Tyler Bunz

Things can change in a hurry – Bunz was an exceptional WHL goaltender and could improve quickly, the Oilers could decide to roll the dice with Roy as the AHL starter if they bring in a highly capable 1A/1B type to push Dubnyk in the NHL, a trade could be made, etc. – but that’s likely how things stand today in terms of NHL readiness. Bunz has dug himself a significant hole with his first professional campaign, and Olivier Roy failed to build upon an impressive professional debut last season; a good goaltending prospect could probably leave both in the dust quickly with a strong performance.

Another unknown is the organization’s view of Samu Perhonen. The new CBA between the NHL and the NHLPA gives teams four years to sign European players drafted at age 18 or 19, meaning that Perhonen remains the Oilers’ property even if they don’t sign him. It seems likely he’ll stay in Europe until he has some success.

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  • Vaclav

    This might be a wing and a prayer signing hoping that he develops into something down the line. Particularly given the uneven development of Bunz and Roy.

    The organization will have some work to do this summer evaluating some of their current prospects because they’re going to have to do some paring to have enough room on their 50 man roster.

    • Vaclav

      In other news, Ralph Kruger has been fired and after an exhaustive search, Kelly Buchberger has been hired as head coach.”He knows something about winning,”said an exultant Kevin Lowe. “Although he only has 2 rings, which is considerably fewer than the six I have”.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    We need to come up with a catch phrase for next season, stay ahead of the game if you will. We have 4 lotto picks in the bag already.

    How’s The Dive for Five, coming to Rexall Place this coming fall?

  • Another sugar coating of an unlikely player ? I’m becoming numb to all this hype . Seems like the only thing we can get is other teams castoffs and projects that simply do not work out . Sorry , just getting tired of poor results and rebuild hype .

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Another unknown is the organization’s view of Samu Perhonen. The new CBA between the NHL and the NHLPA gives teams four years to sign European players drafted at age 18 or 19, meaning that Perhonen remains the Oilers’ property even if they don’t sign him. It seems likely he’ll stay in Europe until he has some success.

    Is that the case JW?

    I was under the impression that the new CBA wasn’t retroactive in this sense. Under the old CBA Euro players had to be signed in 2 years and I think that applies to everyone drafted under the old CBA.

    Someone with the details would be appreciated here.

    JW,

    What do you think the Org. does with Danis and Hovinen?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Is there really any standard development curve with goalies? I mean really they seem to be all over the board. What really kills me is goalies have the ability to play lights out one year, then just fade away the next, then pick it up again a few years later. It makes no sense.

    • Ducey

      By definition there will only be 25 or so NHL players.

      As far as I can see most, if not all, of the following players will not be on contracts with the Oilers next year:

      Hovinen, Teubert, Hordichuk, Danis, VDV, Plante, House, Cornet, Tyrvainen, Stafford, Eager, Bulin, Peckham, Sutton, Smithson, Petrell, Belanger. Some of those will be replaced with other contracts, but also more could be gone (Smyth, Jones, Potter, Brown).

      It would appear that they will have lots of room.