Tomi Kallio is pulling double-duty.
The ex-Atlanta Thrashers winger retired in 2018 after a distinguished career spent mostly in Finland and Sweden. He immediately jumped back into the frying pan, scouting for TPS Turku and the San Jose Sharks.
Kallio is the Director of European Scouting for TPS; he’s a European scout for San Jose, focusing on Finland.
San Jose Hockey Now caught up with Kallio, whose two worlds are colliding now — TPS Turku is welcoming 2019 San Jose Sharks sixth-round pick Timur Ibragimov and San Jose Barracuda winger Evan Weinger into the fold this season. Kallio talks about how playing in Finland will benefit Ibragimov and Weinger, how 2019 Sharks sixth-round pick Santeri Hatakka is progressing, and what happened to Tony Sund.
According to Kallio, both Ibragimov and Weinger are in quarantine now in Finland. They’ll start skating soon; the Liiga season begins this month.
Sheng Peng: Why Timur Ibragimov and Evan Weinger to Turku — what do they gain in particular from going there?
Tomi Kallio: Ibragimov hasn’t played high-end men’s hockey yet. I think he can take that step. Strong kid and he can really skate.
I think [Weinger’s] got a good shot at taking a big role here, play in all different situations.
Our rinks are wider than NHL or AHL. He can develop his skill and play with the puck [more].
Practice might be a bit of a shock, at least for Weinger. We want to develop the guys who come here. Many days, they will practice twice a day. Mornings will be more team practice; later on, it’s more individual skill. It will be good for both of those guys.
SP: Any plan to bring more Sharks prospects to Turku?
TK: Not right now. Of course, things can change with injury. But right now, the plan is just those two.
SP: What can you tell me about Santeri Hatakka? How did he perform last season?
TK: His progress has been fantastic. He was really good last year in the games that he got to play in the Finnish league. I think he deserved to play more, but they had a lot of defensemen. They had a top team [in Ilves].
He was solid last year, both with the puck and without the puck.
He’s a fantastic skater. He’s relatively big, gained more muscle, but his skating is so easy. He can be behind the offensive net but be almost the first guy back. That’s really his biggest asset.
He’s got great speed when he get’s going and he’s also a very good skater technically.
SP: Are you involved on the amateur side as well? Were you a big part of San Jose drafting Santeri?
TK: Yeah, I saw him a lot the year he was drafted.
SP: Finally, can you tell me a little bit about Tony Sund? He’s an RFA, why didn’t it quite work out for him in the NHL?
TK: With Tony Sund, it’s complicated. He had a great season [two years ago with Sport]. Then the Sharks signed him. Then he played last year here in TPS.
Last year in TPS was absolutely not good [for us]. It was a tough year for Tony too. Part of it was he had to move away, be further from home, be in a bigger city, bigger club with more pressure.
That was a process for him. He wasn’t as solid as we expected. But he still has really good tools.
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