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Instant Analysis: Puustinen Signing

Thursday, 06.16.2011 / 5:02 PM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Instant Analysis: Puustinen Signing
Today’s signing of Finnish forward Juuso Puustinen is an interesting depth move by the Preds. Finland is a scouting region where the Preds have had increasing success unearthing quality talent. Pekka Rinne gives the Preds major name recognition in the country, but defenseman Teemu Laakso (re-signed by the Preds yesterday) is on the verge of becoming an NHL regular, 2008 draftee Jani Lajunen is expected to make his North American debut with the organization in 2011-12, 2010 draftee Joonas Rask may make the jump this season or next season, and now Puustinen. If nothing else, the group of Finns should have a comfort level within the locker room -- the whole common language and common cultural bond.

Signed to a two-way deal, on first glance, Puustinen appears ticketed for veteran scoring line slot with the Milwaukee Admirals. And with forward Linus Klasen apparently heading back to Sweden there’s a need for another proven scoring presence for the AHL squad. But on closer inspection, his resume has some similarities to past Preds “under the radar off-season finds” like Joel Ward (in 2008) and Sergei Kostitsyn (in 2010).

At 23-years old, he’s already shown the abilities to score in Finnish Elite League – twice breaking the 10-goal mark in Finland, including a career-high 26 goals this year. The 26 goals were fourth most in the SM Liiga. Plus, Puustinen has successful experience with the North American style of play. After being selected by the Calgary Flames in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Puustinen came over and spent two seasons in the Western Hockey League, averaging a point a game with 59 goals and 124 points in two seasons with Kamloops.

His success last year, combined with his experience with the North American game and his NHL-ready size make Puustinen an interesting "watch" for fans looking for potential dark-horse during Training Camp.

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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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13 WPG 51 22 26 3 132 148 47
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2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 52 10 27 -4 37
S. Weber 52 13 20 -6 33
J. Neal 52 18 13 16 31
M. Ribeiro 52 6 25 1 31
F. Forsberg 52 14 16 -9 30
M. Ekholm 52 6 16 1 22
R. Ellis 51 6 15 0 21
C. Smith 52 11 6 -1 17
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
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C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36