The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/29/16 at 04:59 PM ET
The Free Press's Helene St. James discusses Teemu Pulkkinen's pluses and minuses this afternoon:
Looking back: Pulkkinen, 24, was off to a nice start with 5 goals in 16 games and had 11 points after 24 games when he suffered a dislocated shoulder. He returned mid-January but couldn't regain his early foothold, and ended up scratched most of the second half. Pulkkinen joined Finland for the World Championship, but he wasn't used once the games gained intensity.
Looking ahead: Pulkkinen underwent shoulder surgery in June, leaving him out 4-6 months. He might be able to skate during training camp (which doesn't start until late September) but contact practices and drills could be a ways off. It's lousy way to start a season for a young player trying to establish himself. Pulkkinen isn't a fourth-line grinder type, and his lack of size makes him unsuitable in the top six, where he'd see better defenders. Nor has he shown he deserves to play in a mix that can draw from Henrik Zetterberg, Dylan Larkin, Justin Abdelkader, Frans Nielsen, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar. Pulkkinen is more suited to third-line duty, and the power play. He has a rocket of a shot – and he shoots right, which makes him stand out on the Wings. If he can learn to get off his shot more quickly and regularly contribute offensively, he should find an opening in the lineup.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.