Then and Now: Mika Pyorala

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Mika Pyorala was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers in June of 2009. Even though the Finn never played a game in the NHL, the Flyers believed Pyorala proved himself enough in the SM-liiga and Elitserien to earn a shot in North America.

With a cap hit of $500,000 for the 2009-2010 season, Pekka Rinne’s brother-in-law posted pretty decent numbers for the Flyers and the Phantoms.

In his 36 games with the Orange and Black, Pyorala had two goals and two assists. His first goal as a Flyer was important, as he potted one in a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on November 18, 2009. His second goal as a Flyer didn’t matter, as he put one past Jose Theodore in the first period of Peter Laviolette’s coaching debut with the Flyers, which was a 8-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on December 5, 2009.

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As for his time with the Phantoms, Pyorala served as an alternate captain for part of his tenure in Adirondack. The forward had eight goals and 10 assists in 35 games for the Phantoms, as that campaign served as his first and last season playing in the NHL and AHL.

For the following regular season, Pyorala joined Frolunda HC in the Elitserien. The forward joined a team that featured Johan Holmqvist, Christian Backman, Christoph Schubert, P.J. Axelsson, Tomi Kallio, Carl Klingberg, and Joel Lundqvist.

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Pyorala finished tied for first on the team with 14 goals, as he needed just 48 games to register that amount while Niklas Andersson needed 53 and Toni Koivisto needed 54. With the addition of nine assists, Pyorala finished the season fourth on the team with 23 points. His work helped the Indians just miss the playoffs, as the club finished in ninth place and missed the postseason by a pair of points.

Also in 2010-2011, Pyorala represented Finland in the Euro Hockey Tour and the World Championship. For the EHT, Pyorala had a goal and an assist in four games, as Finland finished third out of the four teams in the tournament. As for the WC, Pyorala helped his country win Gold with the help from teammates Niko Hovinen, Lasse Kukkonen, and Ossi Vaananen.

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Pyorala remained a member of Frolunda HC for the 2011-12 season, as he finished second on the team in points with 40. His 22 goals and 18 assists in 53 games helped the Indians to finish fifth in the league to advance to the postseason. Unfortunately for the club, they ran into eventual Le Mat Trophy winners in Brynas IF in the quarterfinals. Pyorala had a goal and two assists in the Indians’ six-game loss, as the team lost two overtime games.

The forward once again represented his country in the EHT and WC during the regular season. Pyorala failed to register a point in six games for Finland in the EHT, as the club earned Silver. In the WC, Pyorala had a goal and an assist in nine games while Finland lost to the Czech Republic in the bronze medal game.

Logo for Amur Khabarovsk. Image Courtesy of sportlogos.tk

For the 2012-13 campaign, Pyorala is taking is talents to the KHL, as he will be a member of the HC Amur Khabarovsk.