#16 Prospect: Frans Tuohimaa

Winter 2011: #16
Summer 2010: NR
In July of 2009, the Edmonton Oilers hired Frederic Chabot as goalie coach. Since then, they’ve selected three goaltenders, including Finn prospect Frans Tuohimaa.

6.02, 180 on his draft day, information on the young G wasn’t readily available. Selected during the period when the chairs are being put away, Tuohimaa had a solid resume and had been developing through the Finnish system over the years leading up to the draft. Although eligible, he was not ranked by CSS and undrafted in 2010, but was rated the sixth among European goalies by CSS in their final 2011 rankings.

Hockey’s Future: Another large goalie who uses his size well, Tuohimaa joined Jokerit’s A junior team this season after playing his youth hockey and two Junior A seasons with cross-town rival HIFK. How much of his success can be attributed to playing for third-place Jokerit is debatable, but Tuohimaa was one of the busiest goalies in A juniors, playing in 37 regular season games and seven playoff contests and had the top save percentage in the league, stopping over 93 percent of the shots he faced. While Tuohimaa has not been as highly regarded as some of the other goalies in his age group, and has played for Finland’s junior program in some international matches but never at the U-18 or U-20 world championships, his play this season did attract the attention of the scouting community.

In a summer interview with Hockey’s Future, Tuohimaa expressed the game plan for 2011-12: “I’m trying to get a lot of games up there in SM-Liiga. I’m here in a challenger’s situation but I will really go for it and I hope I will really challenge (projected Jokerit starter and 2003 Dallas draft pick) Eero Kilpeläinen.”

So far this season, Tuohimaa has been catching some breaks and is in fact the starting goaltender at this time. His career numbers suggest that steady climb through the Finnish system continues unabated.

  • Age 17: 18, 3.97 .885 (Fin Jr)
  • Age 18: 20, 2.89 .911 (Fin Jr)
  • Age 19  37, 2.14 .931 (Fin Jr)
  • Age 20: 16, 2.52 .903 (SM-Liiga)
There are some things to consider in regard to Tuohimaa. He’s one month younger than Olivier Roy, meaning that Tyler Bunz (6 months) and Samu Perhonen (18 months) are younger than Tuohimaa. Goalies develop along wildly different timelines, but it is a consideration we should keep in mind. Also, although Tuohimaa’s numbers in Finland’s best league look good, the veteran Eero Kilpelainen is far superior (.924) in SP and Tuohimaa’s audition is based on the veteran’s availability to the team.

In choosing Tuohimaa ahead of Perhonen, I wanted to point out something I read over the summer at Copper and Blue in an article posted by Lisa McRitchie: and a quote from Stu MacGregor:

  • You would think that because one of the Finnish goaltenders was selected in the third round, and the other not until the seventh round, that one is better than the other. “Not really quite true. We just thought that with the younger guy, that you needed to get at it, that if you wanted to get him you’ve got to step up and get him just because he’s in his draft year. Sometimes those later aged guys, you can take a little bit more of a chance. I know that [Oilers goaltending coach] Freddie Chabot saw these guys play over in Finland and has watched tape on them. He was really thrilled when I phoned him just before the seventh, just before our pick. I said, ‘What if we take Tuohimaa with this one’, and he said, ‘I’d be really happy.’” 

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