Philadelphia Flyers fans could get a closer look at recent second-round pick Samu Tuomaala much sooner than expected. Speaking at the team’s development camp today, Tuomaala told the media including The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor that he will be playing in North America this season. The Finnish forward actually hopes to play in the AHL (or NHL), but if not will suit up for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves, his CHL right holder. O’Connor speculates that a decision could be made shortly, with it being more likely he plays junior rather than pro as an 18-year-old, but Tuomaala could have the opportunity to change minds in training camp as well. The No. 46 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, Tuomaala was a first-round caliber talent. A gifted shooter with speed and aggression, the only knocks on Tuomaala are his size and hockey IQ both of which could hinder him in the AHL and hurt his development. Sometime pure talent comes out on top though. Keep an eye on Tuomaala this fall.
- Do the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs know something that no one else does? Or are they simply enamored with a 2020 Carolina draft pick? The Sea Dogs have announced that they have acquired Hurricanes prospect Lucas Mercuri as well as fellow forward Olivier Picard and a 2024 seventh-round pick from the Val-d’Or Foreurs in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick and 2024 fifth-round pick. This trade would be more than fair given Mercuri’s ability (36 points in 45 USHL games last year) if not for one crucial detail: Mercuri is committed to UMass and is expected to play in the NCAA this season. There has been no word to the contrary, as by all accounts Mercuri is enrolling in Amherst and playing for the Minutemen this year. After spending the past three years in U.S. playing prep school hockey in Connecticut and then suiting up for the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers last season, it certainly seems that the Montreal native is committed to an NCAA development path. So then why give up a top pick? The answer is not Picard, who has 15 points in 77 career QMJHL games, so Saint John either sees enough in the upside of Mercuri to take a shot or they have inside information about a potential unexpected move to the major junior ranks.
- A new Boston collegiate rivalry is brewing. Lucas St. Louis, son of Hall of Famer Martin St. Louis, has committed to play his college hockey at Harvard. St. Louis’ USHL team, the Dubuque Fighting Saints, announced that their incoming recruit has made his commitment to the Crimson, though the 16-year-old will very likely play at least two USHL seasons before joining Harvard in 2023-24. However, older brother Ryan St. Louis will still be in town, as he is joining Northeastern this season. A graduate of the USNTDP and a surprise absence from the 2021 NHL Draft, St. Louis is a major recruit for the Huskies and could be drafted in 2022 but will very likely play all four years at Northeastern. That will provide some crossover for the brothers as they compete for cross-town rivals. Though Harvard and Northeastern do not share a conference, they do compete in the Beanpot Tournament each year and could easily have scheduled non-conference matchups or NCAA Tournament regional clashes. The sons of an electrifying NHLer, the St. Louis brothers bear watching over the next several years, both as college contributors and potential future pros.