Monday, June 27, 2016

Tomi Kallio Jersey Card

By not following hockey from pretty much 1997 until 2002, I missed out on a few things, such as having any sympathy for Todd Bertuzzi, having any sympathy for Eric Lindros, and realizing how decent Tomi Kallio's career was.

After a 53-point 1999-2000 season (in 50 games) with his hometown TPS Turku, Kallio made his way to the Atlanta Thrashers, after they plucked him from the Colorado Avalanche at the 1999 expansion draft. The Avs had made him a fourth-round draft pick in 1995.

He had a decent rookie season with the Thrashers, scoring 14 goals with 13 assists for 27 points in 56 games in 2000-01 in the heart of the Dead Puck Era and followed it with a 22-point outing in 60 games in 2001-02 before suiting up for three teams - Atlanta, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Philadelphia Flyers - in 2002-03.

That was enough uncertainty for him, and he made the move to the Swedish League, where he would play for the next 13 seasons - nine with the Frölunda Indians and four with the Växjö Lakers. He scored the winning goal in the Indians' 2013 league championship game.

He went back to Finland for the 2015-16 season, again with Turku, leading the team with 44 points in 60 games, ahead of former NHLers Éric Perrin (third, 34 points), Henrik Tallinder (sixth, 21 points), and Petteri Nummelin (seventh, 19 points).

He is a decorated international skater, having won three silver (1999, 2001 and 2007) and two bronze (2000 and 2006) World Championship medals with Team Finland; he also played for his country at the 2002 Olympics.

Here he is in the Thrashers' best-looking uniform, the dark blue (away) garbs from their early days, on card #1 from Pacific's 2002-03 Exclusive set and Authentic Game-Worn Jerseys sub-set:
It features a red game-worn jersey swatch that matched the jersey's arms and hips.

I hear he was a fast skater who liked to shoot more than to pass and liked playing in traffic in front of opponents' nets, but he may have lacked the sniper's finishing touch that would have been required for him to be the impact player at least four NHL teams had hoped he'd be. Still, his 211 goals and 464 points in 637 Swedish League games are a decent total, particularly when you add his 34 goals and 87 points in 108 playoff games. His Finnish totals are also good, as he posted 176 points in 266 regular-season games and 31 points in 45 playoff games in his native country.

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