October 12, 2020

Exclusive: Recently loaned Tarmo Reunanen, “I am ready to leave when I get the call from Rangers!”

Tarmo Reunanen (hctps.fi)

In the last few months, many young players have been loaned to teams in Europe. Not just the Rangers, with Vitaly Kravtsov, but Moritz Seider (Red Wings), Oliver Wahlstrom (Islanders) and Nils Höglander (Canucks) are among the highly rated prospects to temporarily sign a deal in Europe. One Rangers prospect we didn’t hear anything about was Tarmo Reunanen, until Friday.

TUTO Hockey, his former team in Mestis, Finland’s 2nd tier of hockey, signed Tarmo Reunanen on a loan deal. In his first game Tare (as his teammates call him) recorded his team’s only goal in a 5-1 loss, and a +1 rating to go with 24 minutes of ice time and a total of 10 shots. Yesterday, I had a chance to catch up with the 2016 draft pick.

Why Mestis?

To get the biggest topic out of the way, I asked Tarmo straight up why he picked TUTO. The answer confirmed my earlier suspicions. While he is definitely good enough to play in Liiga, there seemed to be a problem securing a short-term deal. “There was interest from several Liiga teams but we couldn’t agree on a short-term deal. TUTO was willing to commit short-term giving me the option to go to North America when the season starts. This is the best option for me to prepare for the NHL“, Reunanen explained.

The added value to playing for TUTO is that he is in his hometown of Turku and playing for a coach he knows and being able to spend more time with his personal trainer. “A big positive is also that I am able to practice with my trainer so I think the whole package is perfect in preparation for camp in New York”, he added.

Back on the ice, and what is next?

It was a quiet summer for Reunanen who was battling a minor injury causing him to take it easy early on. Once he was back to full health, he practiced with the same group of friends as he does every year, including Alexandar Georgiev and Kaapo Kakko. They also played golf regularly to stay busy during the pandemic but now, with the contract signed, the left-handed defenseman is back on the ice for real. “It felt great to be back. I obviously felt the long break from last game in March but nothing compares to the feelings you get from playing a competitive game. Unfortunately the result was terrible“, Reunanen said about the 5-1 loss in his season debut.

As mentioned earlier, Reunanen wanted to sign a short-term contract and the reason behind that is clear. The Finnish defenseman wants to fly to North America once the season starts and despite the exact date not yet set, signing a contract in Liiga until the end of the season could interfere with those plans. “I have no idea about the schedule but I am ready to leave immediately when everyhting is clear and I get the call from the Rangers. I hope things get well as soon as possible with the current COVID restrictions and we get things started soon!“, he concluded.

Wait…Taylor Hall in Buffalo? An entire team with COVID?

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