Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff notes that the Red Wings have bolstered their blueline in Finnish triplicate over the last three seasons, investing in a peninsula from which the Wings haven’t drawn many draft picks or free agent signings:
Lately, the Wings have invested heavily in Finnish futures. They drafted Assat Pori defenseman Antti Tuomisto with the 35th pick of the 2019 NHL entry draft. Undersized center Otto Kivenmaki, also from Assat Pori, was selected 191st overall in 2018. Defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo, chosen 71st overall in 2017, will enter his junior year of NCAA hockey with the Boston Terriers this fall.
As well, defenseman Oliwer Kaski, who led all SM-liiga rearguards with 19 goals and 51 points for Pelicans Lahti last season, signed with Detroit in the summer as a free agent.
“I knew he had an unbelievable season,” Kotkansalo said of Kaski. “All I’ve heard, only good things, even comparisons to (Erik) Karlsson (of the San Jose Sharks). I guess the Wings got a pretty good defenseman there.”
While Kaski is known for his offense, Kotkansalo is more of a stay-at-home type of defender. Tuomisto’s strength is gaining control of the puck in his own zone and making outlet passes to the forwards.
“Maybe an offensive guy, offensive defenseman and great playing with puck and passing the puck up to the forwards,” was how Tuomisto described his game, comparing himself to Esa Lindell of the Dallas Stars.