Pulkkinen was a 4th round pick in 2010 for the Red Wings and split time last season between the Red Wings and the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL, playing a career-high 31 NHL games over which he scored five goals and three assists.
At the AHL level Pulkkinen was dominant, scoring 34 goals and 27 assists in 46 games. That goal total led the AHL despite only playing 46 games.
The prior season he put up 31 goals and 28 assists in 71 games for Grand Rapids.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) July 21, 2015
The points weren’t there at the NHL level last season, but there’s reason to believe that the process wasn’t bad. He only averaged 11:29 of all situation ice time, so, despite solid zone starts at 10.7% ZSO%Rel, the ice time limited the amount of production he was going to get. He posted a 3.6% score-adjusted CF%Rel, indicating that the team was productive with him on the ice, making his 18.32% GF%Rel seem like it wasn’t entirely a fluke, even if it’s buoyed a bit by the limited sample size.
With the production he achieved at the AHL level last season, a one-year deal makes a lot of sense. The team has to expect Pulkkinen to stick at the NHL level this season, which gives Pulkkinen an opportunity to get paid next year if he can find a modicum of the success he had in the AHL last season in the NHL.
Advanced stats via War on Ice.
Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.