Toni Rajala is “on fire”, nothing new, after all. The Finn sniper got off to a fantastic start of the 2019-20 season and already tallied 6 points – including 5 goals! – in just two games… in fact, he had a 38.5% scoring percentage which is insane! Or rather, based on the website NLicedata that doesn’t consider empty-net goals, he had a 27.3% scoring percentage… these are impressive figures!
And these aren’t casual… obviously it’s unthinkable that Toni can keep it up with such percentages until the end of the season. But we’re talking about a player who, since his arrival in the Seeland back in 2016, has always recorded figures worthy of a sniper.
Let’s see his scoring percentages…
Wow, just wow. These figures make Toni Rajala one of the most feared snipers of the league. If not the most feared one. Moreover, the Finn forward doesn’t “just” score goals, but he’s also a precious player in the offensive zone, an excellent skater and is able to gift fans with moments of magic hockey!
Without forgetting that he’s been in the Seeland since over 1’000 days now… and it looks like he identifies himself with the club more and more each passing day. Initially he’d signed a one-year contract… that was extended and extended again. To the point that, last December 2018, the club and the player agreed terms to continue together at least until 2022!
It’s now funny to have a look at what people were saying when he joined the Seeland… in this regard, we found on EHC Biel-Bienne official website the opinions of the SD Martin Steinegger and of the chef scout Thomas Roost.
Toni Rajala est un joueur au bénéfice d’un haut niveau de compétences. Il recherche les situations à un contre un, sait se ménager de bonnes positions de tir et est aussi capable de créer du jeu efficace pour ses coéquipiers. Ses qualités de patinage vont très bien convenir à notre LNA.
Je ne suis pas le seul à estimer que le style de jeu offensif et «personnel» de Rajala pourrait très bien convenir dans notre LNA suisse. Cette opinion est aussi celle, entre autres, de Jari Kurri. Rajala est un bon patineur rapide doté d’une accélération au-dessus de la moyenne. Il a des mains souples, avec les bons gestes, et possède une excellente vision du jeu dans la zone offensive. En outre, il est un lanceur polyvalent. S’il a de l’espace, il est dangereux comme tout avec la rondelle. Dans presque tous les clubs où il a joué, Toni Rajala a toujours comptabilisé beaucoup de points.
Oftentimes, people say things that sound appealing to the fans… and oftentimes, things don’t turn out as expected though. In Toni Rajala’s case instead, we think it’s safe to say that the Finn’s performances exceeded the expectations!
We mean, this looks like the perfect “wedding” between an ambitious club and an ambitious player. A wedding that looks set to last for very long!
And to say… Toni Rajala was quite of a “globetrotter” before joining Bienne… After he’d completed his development as a young player with the U16, U18 and U20 of Ilves in Finland, he made his Liiga debut with the first team during the 2008-09 season and tallied 5 points in 24 games.
The following season then, after the 2009 draft during which he was picked by the Edmonton Oilers in 101st position overall, Toni crossed the ocean and played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings… that is, the same team for which – at different times – also other Swiss played in the past. Just like Codey Burki, Alessio Bertaggia, Chad Silver, Juraj Simek and Bruno Rogger.
Starting from the 2010-11 season though, Toni came back to Finland and joined Ilves again, where he played for two consecutive seasons (106 games, 60 points) before trying again his chances in North America…
During the summer of 2012 in fact, Toni Rajala crossed the ocean once again. But once again, he failed to make it to the NHL… and spent the 2012-13 season in the AHL with the Oklahoma City Barons (where he played also with Mark Arcobello) and in the ECHL with the Stockton Thunder.
At that point, Toni closed the NHL chapter and came back to Europe. More precisely, he moved to Sweden, where he joined HV71 and played alongside his current teammate Anssi Salmela other than Aaron Gagnon and Kevin Fiala. His season in the SHL was a good one – 43 games, 35 points – and that earned him a call from the Russian KHL… the call of Yugra Khanty-Nansiysk where, however, he played only the first part of the 2014-15 season.
During that same season in fact, Toni moved back to Sweden and finished the season with Färjestad (34 games, 29 points) that was coached by Tommy Samuelsson, who as a player played for Luzern during the 1996-97 season. To note, moreover, that also in Karlstad Toni Rajala played with his current teammate Anssi Salmela.
Next stop, Lulea HF for the 2015-16 season… where he played also with the former Seeländer Jacob Micflikier! That was an excellent season for Toni, who tallied 34 points in 63 games and attracted the interest of Bienne.
Right, because after a lot of wandering around, Toni chose Switzerland – and the Seeländers – as his next home. As we said, it was the summer of 2016… and perhaps no one thought, back then, that it was only the beginning of a great love story between Toni and Bienne. A love story that will continue at least until 2022.
A love story made of almost only “ups”, because Toni Rajala, as we said, he’s basically always on fire. Nothing new, after all. Right?