The Philadelphia Flyers have loaned Samu Tuomaala back to Finland, where he’ll re-join Karpat, his Liiga team. Tuomaala had been playing in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, suiting up for his first two AHL games. The team has also recalled Nick Seeler from the Phantoms.
Tuomaala, 18, was the 46th overall pick in this year’s draft and would have been one of just a handful of players from that class spending this season in North American pro hockey. Sending him back to continue his development overseas certainly isn’t unexpected, though there had been talk of potentially loaning him to the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL instead. Sudbury picked him 31st overall in the 2020 CHL Import Draft, but Tuomaala will instead go back to compete at the highest level in Finland.
He played just five games with Karpat’s pro team last season, spending the rest of the time with the organization’s U20 group where he scored 15 goals and 31 points in 30 games. Moving from that level to Liiga is not always an easy transition for teenaged forwards to make, but Tuomala is armed with a top-end shot that could help him contribute even in limited minutes. The next step will be rounding out his 200-foot game, playing better away from the puck instead of just impressing when it’s on his stick.