DUBUQUE, IA--Dubuque's offensive arsenal for the upcoming 2015-2016 season has added another key piece. The club announced today that forward Petter Mäkitalo has committed to join the Fighting Saints. The native of Skellefteå, Sweden was the club's 3rd round selection in Phase Two of the 2015 USHL Draft.
Mäkitalo, a 6-foot, 180 pound forward, has skated the past two seasons with Skellefteå J20 in Sweden and was one of the club's top players. In 2014-2015, Mäkitalo registered an impressive 15 goals and 23 assists for 38 points in only 45 games. He was 4th on the team in scoring, putting up the most points for any 1996-born player on the team. He also added two goals in five playoff games.
Mäkitalo also has international experience, skating for Sweden's U16 and U17 teams. He comes from a hockey family as father Kari, and uncles Markuu, Janne and Tommi all played hockey in Sweden.
Mäkitalo was the first forward selected by Dubuque in Phase Two of the 2015 USHL Draft. Following the draft, then Dubuque Assistant Coach and Director of Scouting Mike Field (who has since accepted a position at Arizona State) spoke highly of Mäkitalo, an NHL draft eligible player.
"Petter has a proven track record of scoring at every level he's been at," said Field. "He is preparing to be a professional hockey player and for him to have that experience will hopefully translate to the USHL level. Myself and Coach Shaw watched a good amount of video on him and our scout in Sweden has watched him in person quite a bit and has been impressed."
Mäkitalo recently visited North America and met with Fighting Saints assistant coach Oliver David.
Mäkitalo's hometown of Skellefteå is only home to around 32,000 people but is very well-known for ice hockey success. Over a dozen players from Skellefteå have gone on to play in the NHL including New Jersey Devils defenseman Adam Larsson. The city also houses a pro hockey team, Skellefteå AIK, which has many notable alumni, including defenseman David Rundblad of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
He will join a Fighting Saints group that has around a dozen players returning, but will need to replace top scorers such as Seamus Malone, Brett Boeing and Dylan Gambrell.
Mäkitalo and the Fighting Saints will open the 2015-2016 season in September. The full USHL schedule is expected to be released in the next week.