KHL Medvescak Zagreb has signed on new defenseman Tuukka Mantyla who has experience in the KHL, Liiga, and SHL, and has also extended the contracts of young forwards Patrick Bjorkstrand and Edwin Hedberg.
Finnish defenseman Tuukka Mantyla was born in 1981 in Tampere. In 2001 he was the NHL's LA Kings' 153 draft pick, but he developed his pro hockey career in European leagues. He spent the majority of his sixteen-year career in his home club Tappara, and in '02-03 he won the title of Finnish champions with them, along with silver three times, and in '12-13 he was the team's captain. He spent two seasons with Swedish Liiga team Lule, and two seasons with Frolund. He spent three seasons in the KHL, playing for Neftehimik Nizhnekamsk, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, and Amur Khabarovsk. Aside from having Liiga experience under his belt, Mantyla has two silvers and a bronze with Team Finland from the WC Elite Division.
''Mantyla is a high-end two-way defenseman. He is a member of the Finnish national team and played at World Championships, and also has a KHL pedigree. We expect him to play big minutes and help lead our defense. He has a great character which will also be good for our locker room. Mantyla plays a very physical game and has some good edge'', commented Medvescak's Sports Director Aaron Fox.
Medvescak's audience already knows Bjorkstrand and Hedberg very well. This will be Bjorkstrand's third season in Medvescak's jersey, and Hedberg's second. The twenty-two-year-old Danish-American forward played 113 KHL games in two seasons, and earned 28 points (11G, 17A). Hedberg joined the Bears in October 2014 and marked his KHL debut with a winning goal. Throughout the season he played 37 games and earned 15 points (8G, 7A).