Passed over in his first year of eligibility, Jerry Turkulainen cracks our top 90 prospects of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Without a shred of doubt, the reason why Turkulainen was passed over because of his size, but there is no denying the talent that the diminutive forward possesses.
Upon further digging, his underlying numbers in the Liiga were extremely encouraging. It begs the question of what does the little guy have to do to get drafted because, at this point, there doesn’t appear much left for him to do… other than add some height.
Let’s break down the Finnish forward.
- Age/Birthdate: 18.98/ September 22, 1998
- Birthplace: Mikkeli, FIN
- Frame:5-foot-7/ 146 lbs
- Position: Right Wing / Left Wing
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: JYP(Liiga)
- U16 Huippu-Pohjola Camp Roster (Jukurit)
- Jr. C SM-sarja Bronze Medal
- Jr. A SM-liiga Rookie of the Month (November)
- Jr. B SM-sarja Bronze Medal
- SM-liiga Bronze Medal
- Champions Hockey League Champion
5v5 Pr INV%
Encouraging on-ice results, in particular, his GF% and GF%Rel – things happened when he was on the ice and it was usually very good things.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
With the exception of Ossi Ikonen, Turkulainen improved his linemates on ice production when they were paired together. He and Antti Suomela did some serious damage throughout the entire season.
Right off the top, it is worth stating that I can understand why teams passed on Turkulainen. He is really small and the concern that he won’t be able to continue his production in the NHL is a valid concern. But after two years of results in the top league in Finland, Turkulainen is a player that is worth a flyer in the 6th or 7th round. As we saw with Canucks prospect Petrus Palmu, just because you are small, doesn’t mean you can’t make an impact in North American Hockey (the OHL) and also in Europe.
There was one match to him using pGPS but it was an unsuccessful player, thus was not graphed above.
When you are this small, you need to bring it every shift and Turkulainen does. He is a little worker bee, who doesn’t give up on a play despite giving up size to every opponent. It’s the calling card to his game and is something that I’ve always been impressed with.
He has quick little strides that allow him to accelerate quickly and be elusive with the puck. He is strong on the puck due to his lower centre of gravity, which allows him to protect it and maintain possession.
The Mikkeli native is crafty with the biscuit, using his vision and smarts to distribute the puck to his teammates in advantageous situations. This highlight package shows off his skill-set very well:
Turkulainen has a quick shot that allows him to beat goalies before they can get set. It isn’t strong and is likely part of the reason why he relies on dekeing, deception, and passing to create offence.
One knock of his games entering his first year of eligibility was his defensive game – but he has made improvements there this past year. He uses his skills to his advantage and rather than trying to overpower his opponents, he will adjust his attack points and hound the player with the puck. It shows a maturity to his game and an understanding of what his deficiencies are. Those things are on display in a few of the goals, as he just relentless on the puck when he doesn’t have it.
Looking back at his draft year, his production was in line with quite a few highly drafted NHL players. He was passed over because of his size.
When you enter those later rounds of the draft, the organizational mentalities shine through a little stronger than in the first parts of the draft. With someone like Turkulainen, he has played so well on the international stage and in professional hockey in Finland that despite his size, he is absolutely worth a late round flyer by any team.
TSN Bob McKenzie
TSN Craig Button
The Hockey News
An undrafted prospect who played on the first line with Otto Koivula and Janne Kuokkanen. Turkulainen always seems to play a highly energetic game and today was no exception. An explosive skater with quick bursts of acceleration that allow him to move in a hurry. He was constantly in movement and worked hard in all three zones. Showcased some offensive instincts and set-up skills. A very likeable player because of the competitiveness that he brings in each shift.Turkulainen attended Toronto Maple Leafs’ development camp and will continue to garner NHL interest in the upcoming Liiga season.