Interview with New York Rangers Top Prospect: Tarmo Reunanen

Tarmo Reunanen just finished his first full season in Liiga, which is Finland’s premier hockey league. The Rangers drafted him at 98th overall in 2016. This past season Reunanen was able to take another step forward and has started to accumulate points. He ended this season as the highest scoring defenseman for Lukko, tallying 25 points in 58 games played. In the playoffs, he finished strong with five points in six games (he missed one game in the preliminary round due to illness). This is a huge improvement for the defenseman as he only had 4 points in the 33 games he spent in Liiga last season. In January, Reunanen signed a two-year extension with his team, but could attempt to make the move to North America as the Rangers hold his rights. The Battle of New York was pleased to be able to ask Tarmo a few questions after the conclusion of his career in Finland about hockey and life.

What was the feeling like being drafted by the Rangers?

It was a dream come true for sure. The NHL draft and playing in the NHL has been my dream since I’ve been a little boy.

When did you realize you had what it took to become a professional hockey player?

I think the first junior national team camps and games was the first time when I realized that I may have what it takes.

Is there an NHL player (current or past) that you try to model your game after?

Duncan Keith and Roman Josi.

What do you expect to be the most difficult part of adjusting from Liiga to the western game?

The game is a lot faster and many ways ”simpler” in North America, so I think it may take a little while to re-adjust to a different game style. The best players learn fast and find the way to play and win, I just hope I’m one of those.

What is a piece of advice that a coach gave you that has stuck with you throughout your career?

There is plenty of good advice for sure I have gotten from the coaches throughout my career. I think the most memorable advice is what one coach has said that has stuck in my mind: ”Patience is the key”.

Do you have any gameday superstitions?

I don’t have any ”game day superstitions”, but the most important routine is nap time.

What is your proudest hockey moment?

U20 Finnish league champion. (Team: HC TPS in season 2014-15)

If you weren’t a hockey player, what would you be?  

Hockey Referee or Floorball professional.

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