By: Will Burchfield

The Teemu Pulkkinen era is officially over in Detroit.

Per Bob McKenzie, the Minnesota Wild have claimed the 24-year-old forward off of waivers. He was waived yesterday by the Red Wings.

In waiving Pulkkinen, the Wings created room for either Anthony Mantha or Andreas Athanasiou to make the opening-night roster, which is due on Tuesday at 5 p.m. They sent Mantha down to Grand Rapids (AHL) this morning, settling on Athanasiou for the final forward spot.

There was little hope that Pulkkinen would clear waivers, even after struggling to establish himself in the NHL last season. His offensive skill set, highlighted by a booming right-handed shot, is undeniably appealing.

For the Wings, Pulkkinen’s output failed to match his potential. He enjoyed great success in the AHL, twice topping the 30-goal mark with the Grand Rapids Griffins, but has tallied just 11 goals over 70 games at the NHL level.

As former NHLer and current TSN analyst Patrick O’Sullivan pointed out, the numbers don’t always translate from one league to the next. O’Sullivan scored 99 goals over five AHL seasons but never replicated that production in the NHL.

In today’s NHL, Pulkkinen’s lack of speed is a major drawback. It’s unclear if that was why the Wings waived him, but it’s worth pointing out that Athanasiou and Mantha, the two players who the organization kept over Pulkkinen, are both regarded as terrific skaters.

Pulkkinen was set to make $812,500 this season with the Red Wings. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.


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