Will Antti Suomela win the SHL points exchange?

Antti Suomela, 28, may become the first Finnish player in 25 years this season to win the points exchange in Sweden’s main league.

Raimo Helminen, Mika Nieminen, Esa Keskinen, Juha Riihijärvi and Ville Peltonen.

That’s the list of Finnish hockey players who have won the points exchange of the Swedish main league. At the end of this season, he may also get on the list Antti Suomela.

IK Oskarshamn’s number one center leads the SHL’s point and goal exchange after 38 rounds of the season. There are 14 more rounds of the regular season left.

– It has gone quite well. We have a good chain where I have been able to play since the first training game of the season, says Suomela.

The puck is served on the man’s right wing Patrik Karlkvistthe runner-up of the points exchange, and on the left side is pedaling and grinding Ahti Oksanenpoints exchange 11:s.

– Ahti takes care of loose pucks, wins battles in the corner and opens up chances for us. Karlkvist can score goals. It has been easy for me to play there in the middle, says Suomela modestly.

The EPS graduate with a good eye for the game made a mark as a playmaker when he was younger, but now he also shines in the goal statistics. Suomela herself is not surprised by the change.

– I’ve always known that if I get chances, I can score goals. Now there are places. The shot is not world class, but it is accurate and I often shoot from surprising places at surprising times, Suomela reveals.


1. Antti Suomela, IK Oskarshamn, 24+23=47

2. Patrik Karlkvist, IK Oskarshamn, 19+26=45

3. Jiri Smejkal, IK Oskarshamn, 21+15=36

4. Jonathan Pudas, Skellefteå AIK, 10+26=36

5. Adam Tambellini, Rögle BK, 18+17=35

6. Oscar Möller, Skellefteå AIK, 20+14=34

7. Robert Rosén, Växjö Lakers HC, 16+17=33

8. Jonathan Dahlén, Timrå IK, 17+13=30

9. Rodrigo Abols, Örebro HK, 15+15=30

10. Marcus Nilsson, Färjestad BK, 5+25=30

“Hard World”

Suomela, who is still aiming for buck troughs, did not end up in Sweden by chance last fall. Of Europe’s top leagues, the SHL’s playing style is the most similar to the NHL.

– We go here all the time. No stopping behind the goal or playing traps. I knew it in advance, but still it came as a semi-surprise that, for example, the puck will be taken away from behind the goal, says Suomela.

Suomela played the previous four seasons in North America. He played 51 games in the NHL and 126 in the AHL. Now the puck skill is looking for new momentum in his career in Europe.

– I didn’t get to play in the Yankees as much as I would have liked, Suomela explains his return to the old continent.

The trip in North America still didn’t go bad – but not as well as Suomela would have liked either, because the breakthrough in the bright lights was not made.

– It’s a harsh world. You can get one display slot there. If it fails, the next one may not come. It would be nice to still have a proper display place there.

Right after, however, Suomela emphasizes that the screen spot must be earned. No one offers that for free. From the player’s speech, you can hear that he has clearly thought about and analyzed why the breakthrough in the NHL has yet to be made.

– It is difficult to score points with eight minutes of playing time, but then you should do something else. To be an invaluable help in some other way, even if underpowered. There has to be the best option for a certain situation, some special skills that I didn’t have at the time.

The story continues after the picture.

Suomela played 51 NHL games in the shirt of the San Jose Sharks. PDO

In great company

In Sweden, responsibility has come. At his best, Suomela has played more than 25 minutes in a match, which is a huge amount for a center in a turbo ladle league like the SHL.

Fortunately, Suomela had already prepared for the challenge during summer training. He concentrated Raimo Summanen and ex-speed skater Janne Hännenen with for skating the big rink.

– In the summer, the opportunity to succeed is built. More bangs were added to skating. More strength and endurance were sought, because at no point should you give up.

Based on the performance statistics, the fatigue has not really set in.

– I’m not a robot either. Yes, those minutes are felt in the legs, but I haven’t felt like I can’t play, confirms Suomela.

They also trained in the same group with my husband in the summer, among other things Esa Lindell, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Teuvo Teräväinen, Anton Lundell, Urho Vaakanainen, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Henrik Borgström and Aleksi Heimosalmi.

– When you get to train with people who are better than you, that’s how you develop. Summanes, Hännines and these guys have been an invaluable help to our people.

“Big thing”

Suomela lived in Toronto with 2.7 million people last season. Now the man’s address can be found in Oskarshamn, southern Sweden, with a population of about 20,000.

Oskarshamn is mostly known for its harbor, from where you can take a ferry to the island of Gotland.

– This is a classic summer town. There are quite a lot of old age groups living there. A very warm place, where everyone knows everyone, Suomela describes.

Kiekkotähti lives with his girlfriend in the city center in an old house with two bedrooms. It is 500 meters from the house to the ice rink.

– The girlfriend has been with the whole season. He has been an invaluable help. He has helped a lot in everything, supported me along the way, and I haven’t had to be alone, Suomela thanks.

However, Suomela wouldn’t need to be alone in the city at least, because the locals recognize the Finnish point crowd. There are plenty of friends to chat with, even though Suomela changed her business language from Swedish to English already last fall.

– Everyone here lives off the water. The team is the pride of this city. When you go out to eat, you can’t get anywhere without greetings and pictures, Suomela laughs.

Oskarshamn’s home cave Be-Ge Hockey Center absorbs 3,275 spectators. The hall is clearly the smallest in the SHL in terms of spectator capacity, but there is no lack of atmosphere there. According to Suomela, the hall’s occupancy rate has been around 92 percent this season.

– Sounds pretty good from 3,000 people. And of course, the away games have been quite scary. People are interested in hockey here because there is always a stake in the games.

In the SHL, the last two have to qualify, so no one can afford the playoffs. Oskarshamn is fighting for a direct playoff spot in the middle of the series.

The story continues after the picture.

Suomela collected 1+1 performances in the Karelian tournament. Roni Lehti

Steak on the table!

In addition to Suomela and Oksanen, Finns also play in Oskarshamn Juuso Riikola. He is the most effective defender on his team. The Finnish trio has fun together in their free time.

– Ahti could start a restaurant, he makes such good food. Its steaks are better than in many restaurants. They have been eaten, Suomela tastes.

Riikola, on the other hand, gets praise for his golf skills.

– He is by far the best golfer among us. You could throw the guy straight for the pro TourSuomela is sulking.

Riikola’s handicap is close to zero. Suomela has reduced its own from 13 to eight surfaces with Riikola’s teachings.

– I played a lot of golf when it was cold, because there is really nothing else to do here. In the winter, we have visited the simulator.

To the World Cup?

In addition to Oskarshamn, a couple of other Swedish teams were interested in Suomela’s services, but according to the man, the choice was ultimately quite easy.

– The package offered by Oskarshamn was so perfect that you didn’t have to think about whether to take it. They were really interested in me right from the start, says Suomela.

However, he only signed a one-year deal with the club, which ends this season. The plans for next season are still open, but if the flying weather in Finland continues in the spring, I think there will be takers in the NHL as well.

– I would like to show what I can do there. I’m definitely smarter, more mature and ready now, but we’ll see if there are any offers. I try to take it one day at a time.

The national team and the World Cup home games have also been on Suomela’s mind after the strong Karjala tournament.

– If the health situation allows it and the choice comes, then of course I’m always ready to put on the Leijona shirt. It’s a matter of honor for yourself.

The Finn, who thrives as a center, is an intelligent playmaker who can also score goals. Claes Svenson