The Oilers made a somewhat surprising announcement Wednesday afternoon, welcoming Finnish goalie Frans Tuohimaa to North America and assigning him to their AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.
— Oklahoma City Barons (@okcbarons) March 26, 2014
Tuohimaa was the team’s seventh-round draft pick in 2011, and was originally signed to a two-year entry level contract late last season.
What He’s Done
Tuohimaa doesn’t have an overly impressive track record in top leagues in Finland; he was good in junior and at lower levels but hasn’t impressed in that country’s top league. Given his 0.894 save percentage, his unfamiliarity with the North American rink, and Oklahoma’s life-or-death playoffs situation, he likely won’t get to play until he’s either a) demoted to the ECHL or b) the Barons fall out of the playoffs.
The real question here is whether this cameo burns the first year of Tuohimaa’s entry-level deal. It seems likely that it would, which is probably good news for the Oilers – the numbers above don’t indicate that this guy has a real NHL future. Reducing the amount of time a player like this is on the 50-man roster is probably a good idea, and even if he shows really well in North America next season it probably won’t be too hard for the Oilers to extend him.
It’s also probably a good move from a development perspective, because it gives the player a chance to practice with the team and meet the coaches and the organization a chance to work with him day-to-day, even if only for a short time.