Just call them Team Finland. The Carolina Hurricanes have added another forward to their Finnish contingent, agreeing to terms with Tuukka Tieksola on a three-year entry-level contract. The deal will carry an average annual value of $823,333 at the NHL level. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell released a short statement on his newest forward:
Tuukka took major strides playing in the top Finnish league this season. He is a dynamic player and we’re excited for him to take the next steps in his development.
Selected 121st in the 2019 draft, Tieksola spent this season with Karpat, his first full year in Liiga, the highest level of hockey in Finland. The tiny forward—listed at just 146-lbs—did well at the professional level, scoring nine goals and 18 points in 37 games.
His size has never held him back to this point, but it will be a challenge for him when he eventually transitions to the North American game. Tieksola’s best skill is his incredible vision when carrying the puck, but managing to avoid physical confrontations will be a challenge as he moves up the ladder.
It will be interesting to see if the Hurricanes want to bring the 19-year-old over right away, or let him continue to develop for the next few seasons in Finland. His contract, which kicks in for the 2021-22 season, will not be slide eligible, meaning he is scheduled for restricted free agency in 2024 regardless of where he plays.