San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) general manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has re-signed forward Antti Suomela (@SuomelaAntti) (ON-tee SOO-oh-mehla) to a one-year contract. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Antti will be looking to build off of his first year in North America and we are excited to see where he takes his game this coming season,” said Wilson. “He has shown that he can adjust his game to the smaller rink and we are looking forward to him competing for a spot on our NHL roster this season.”
Suomela, 25, recorded three goals, five assists, four penalty minutes, 42 shots on goal and a plus-one rating in 27 NHL games with the Sharks in 2018-19. Despite splitting time between the NHL and American Hockey League (AHL), the first-year player ranked second among all Sharks rookies in points and assists and led Sharks freshmen in goals and shots on goal. Suomela registered 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) and 89 shots on goal in 47 games his first season with the AHL’s Barracuda, the Sharks’ top minor league affiliate, and added an assist in two Calder Cup Playoff games.
Prior to his time in North America, Suomela led Finland’s top professional league (Liiga) in scoring during the 2017-18 season, recording 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) and a plus-28 rating (second in the league) in 59 games with JYP. The Liiga All-Star led his team in points, assists, plus-minus and game-winning goals (6, tied for second in the league) despite playing in only the twelfth-most average minutes per game (15:47), ranked tied for second in goals, and third in shots on goal (268) while taking just three minor penalties all season. Suomela added one goal and two assists in six playoff games, and helped JYP win the 2018 Champions Hockey League, posting three goals and three assists in 12 tournament games.
In 169 career games in Finland’s top league, Suomela posted 131 points (56 goals, 75 assists) and a plus-34 rating, and led his team in points in each of this three full seasons in the Liiga. He helped JYP win Liiga’s bronze medal in 2016-17, and prior to joining Finland’s top league in 2015-16, helped his clubs earn a medal in every season since 2010-11, including two junior championships (Jr. B I-divisioona, 2011 & Jr. A SM-liiga, 2014).
The six-foot, 180-pound native of Espoo, Finland, has represented his native Finland on several occasions, including the 2018 World Championships and the Euro Hockey Tour (2017 and 2018). He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by San Jose on June 6, 2018.