The Chicago Blackhawks have made it official today, signing Finnish defenseman Joni Tuulola to a two-year, entry-level contract. It will run until the end of the 2019-2020 season. Tuulola will report to the Rockford Ice Hogs, the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate.
Tuulola, 22, played for Sport Vaasa in the SM-Liiga, is listed at 6-3 and 181 pounds. He is also listed as a left-handed shot. He was a sixth round selection (#181 overall) by the Blackhawks in the 2015 NHL Draft. During the 2017-18 season, Tuulola posted 30 points (12 goals, 23 assists) in 58 games with Sport Vaasa. He was part of the Finnish team that won gold during the World Junior Championship in 2016.
Tuulola’s signing continues the Blackhawks’ recent string of looking to Europe for quality players. The cap crunch that Chicago goes through every off-season has brought the Blackhawks players like Artemi Panarin, Michael Kempny and Jan Ruuta.
It also continues the Blackhawks’ recent trend of adding speed to the roster and to the development core, as evidenced by the additions of recent trade acquisition Victor Ejdsell and the signing of former Northeastern University forward Dylan Sikura, as well as the rumored signing of German center Dominik Kahun.