Riku Tohila is not one of the first names you think of when you are asked about Blackhawks prospects. The 18 year old from Finland was the 199th overall pick by the Hawks in this past draft. What’s extremely crazy about him is his height, as he is a 6’8 centremen weighing in at 190 pounds according to Elite Prospects, unbelievable.
Tohila would be amongst the tallest players to ever play in the NHL if he ever cracks the Blackhawks roster. If you compare him to 45 year old Zdeno Chara who is 6’9 and the tallest to ever play, Tohila clearly isn’t far behind and with Chara likely retiring either this season or the next, Tohila could be the tallest hockey player in the world for a while.
Tohila will return to Liiga in Finland this season and is slated to play with JYP. Last season, he played 41 games for JYP U20 while adding 7 goals and 8 assists for 15 points. He also added 32 pims, so he seems to have a physical side that would be useful in a future grinder role, and he would become one of the scariest guys to play against.
The Blackhawks took a good risk in selecting Tohila so late. If he never pans out, no harm no foul as he was a 7th rounder. If he does, it’ll look like one of the biggest steals in recent history and we’ve seen 7th Round Picks become stars before.
The big issue is Tohila’s weight. 190 pounds is quite light for a guy his size. But, following a couple more seasons in Finland he should be able to add on some muscle and compete for a spot in North America. I can see him playing bottom a six role in Rockford in the 2024-25 season as long as he has good production with JYP.