Juuso Puustinen
Image: NHL

Juuso Puustinen

Hometown:

Kuopio Finland

Team:

Finland

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1988-04-05

Position:

RW

Eligible for draft:

2006

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2006

Height:

6-2

Acquired:

Free agent signing, 2011

Weight:

196 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • D

History

2005-06: Juuso Puustinen, spent the year playing for Kalpa at the under 18 and 20 levels. He also won a silver medal for his country at the U-18 World Junior Hockey Championships, scoring three points in six games. The native of Kuopio, Finland was selected 29th overall by the Kamloops Blazers in the CHL import draft, that same year the Flames selected the Finnish goal scorer in the fifth round, 149th overall.

2006-07: In his first season of North American hockey, the winger from Finland suited up with Kamloops Blazers (WHL). In 64 games, he recorded a career-high 32 goals and 71 points, along with 52 penalty minutes. This was by far his best season of hockey.

2007-08: The winger skated with Kamloops (WHL) for another season with the club, a 60 game campaign that resulted in 27 goals and 53 points. He also came back to the Finnish U20 National squad, scoring four goals and five points in six games at the WJC.

2008-09: Puustinen suited up with the Blues (SM-Liiga) this season, netting 14 goals and 34 points (Most Points by Rookie and Most Assists by Rookie award winner) in 53 games in his first season with the club. Expect to see him back with the Blue for the 2009-10 season.

2009-10: One of the few remaining scorers with Espoo after several veteran players were released for salary reasons prior to the season, Puustinen could not match the impressive offensive totals of his rookie season. He scored 8 goals with 13 assists with a -9 plus/minus and 20 PMs in 54 games. Espoo slipped to eighth place after finishing second the previous season and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Puustinen played in two of the three playoff games for Blues and had one assist.

2010-11: Puustinen joined traditional middle-of-the-pack squad HPK Hameenlinna and re-gained his scoring touch – finishing fourth in the SM-Liiga with 26 goals. In 59 games he was +5 and had 12 assists with 46 PMs. Nine of his 26 goals came on the power play. HPK was seventh in the 14-team league during the regular season and fell in the first round of the playoffs. In two playoff games Puustinen scored 1 goal and was -4 with 4 PMs. Puustinen signed a two-year, entry level contract with Nashville in June 2011.

2011-12: Puustinen skated in 55 games for Nashville's AHL affiliate Milwaukee in his first season in North America – suffering a season-ending foot injury in March after blocking a shot. He scored 16 goals with 16 assists and was minus-five with 8 penalty minutes.  The Admirals finished second in the North Division and were swept by Abbotsford in a first round playoff series.

2012-13: Puustinen played 73 games for Nashville AHL affiliate Milwaukee in his second season with the Admirals. He scored 15 goals with 16 assists and was -7 with 14 penalty minutes. Milwaukee finished second in the Midwest Division and lost to Texas in a first round playoff series. Puustinen was -3 with no points and 4 penalty minutes in four playoff games. Tendered a qualifying offer as a Group 2 free agent by the Predators in June, he signed a contract to play for HIFK in Finland in 2013-14.

 

Talent Analysis

Puustinen possesses decent size and has shown flashes of high-end offensive brilliance. He can be a reliable two-way player, but he must improve the physical parts of his game as well as becoming a more consistent scoring threat to reach the next level. While there are some doubts about his physical and defensive play, his creativity and scoring ability are undeniable

 

Future

Puustinen finished a solid second season with Milwaukee but then decided it would be best to return to his native country to play for HIFK on a one year contract. At age 25 you have to wonder if that is going to be a career move that Puustinen regrets. His place with Milwaukee may be lost, and his age makes him a general concern to stay in Europe for good.

 

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