The Oilers new defender Joni Pitkanen has been a very famous player for some time. A few quotes:

Hockey News 2002 Draft Issue: “It’s hard to believe he’s only 18,” said one GM. “There are no really, really strong points but the best thing is there’s no weak points. He’s pretty good with the puck.”
Hockey News 2002 Draft Issue: “He skates well for his size and moves the puck well and is overall a pretty good package,” said a scout. “He’s not as good a skater as Bouwmeester, but he moves well and can shoot the puck.”
McKeen’s 03-04 Yearbook: Sparkled with an MVP calibre performance that secured a bronze medal and ‘top defenseman’ honors at the WJC’s. A commanding presence with exceptional strength, mobility and poise, he excels at all facets of the game and has shown he can dominate physically and with skill.
McKeen’s 05-06 Yearbook: Earned NHL All-Rookie honors and placed second among freshman defensemen in scoring in 03-04 despite a March concussion which tempered his finish. Exhibits a much higher intensity level now, but must work on his decision making, tempo and penchant for bad turnovers.
McKeen’s 06-07 Yearbook: Looked like a seasoned star the first two months of the season (25gp, 8-15-23, +18) before undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia, missing 22 games and then labouring thereafter to regain top form.
Pitkanen, along with Smid, Greene and several others, represents the future on the blueline for the Edmonton Oilers. Size, strength, grit and skill.
Plus, he’s a Finn. 🙂

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37 Responses to "Pitkanen"

  1. Big T says:

    Re-sign Hejda and I’m pretty happy with the back-end. Certianly not the defense of a true contender but one that should be able to hold its own in any conference other than the NW.


  2. MikeP says:

    Think they’ll give him #44? 🙂

    I didn’t say it outright in my recent post on the UFA season so far, but I should have – young Finns Edmonton’s obtained from Philly have had careers as Oilers, never matched elsewhere. Love the Finnish dmen, and Lowe’s never gone wrong with a blueliner yet.

  3. Asiaoil says:

    Much to be pleased about here – as I’m pretty tired of the whining on hf right now. All I really care about right now given the Oilers state of development (halfway through a rebuild that started with FCP leaving) is the acquisition of elite talent. Any day that involves the acquisition of such talent (young or old) is a very good one and yesterday was one of those very good days.

    Sucks about Nylander as I was hoping that he would be one of those nice B-level vets that we could overpay on a short contract (2 year max). But when WAS handed out a 4 year deal at $5 million – well that’s simply idiotic at his age and I’d rather not engage in that silliness.

    If we can pick up another dman like Kubina for prospects and cap space (we have too many young guys and need to ship some out) then that’s fine. Kubina makes sense now more than ever since we shipped out a RH shot yesterday and took on 2 LH shots. But even if it’s just a Hejda coming back or one of the other B-level veteran dmen that we can overpay on a short-term deal (notice a trend here) then we should do it.

    There are a whole bunch of other guys who could help us out there. Fedotenko seems to be a LW overlooked in the frenzy – he had 27 goals two years ago. Murray would be great for picks, prospects and cap space if BOS obliges. Johnson is still out there and so is Ashram. Load up on the vets who are willing to accept a healthy raise for a short term deal while the kids develop.

    ….and we may have to give another young kid a shot a LW this season while we have Sanderson to support him. My choice is Nilssen – and I would use him in tandem with Sanderson on a protected scoring line with Stoll and Hemsky. Let Horcoff Torres and Murray take the tougher minutes along with Moreau, Pisani and MAP or Reasoner.

  4. Asiaoil says:

    Oh yeah for got to mention about the guys going out in the Pitkanen trade.

    1) Lupul being shipped out for this return confirms how deluded many GMs are in this league. Do they actually watch these guys? A huge albatross off our shoulders and MacT must be very very happy.

    2) Sad to see Smith go – but if this mgmt team thinks a dman is a declining asset – you ignore that at your peril. How many dmen that we gave up voluntarily in the last 5 years have gone on to bigger and better things?………..yeah that would be none except maybe Poti but he only got it this season and his time as an Oiler probably had a big role in that. Looks like Philly wanted Staios and Lupul at the draft but Lowe finally got them to accept Smith instead. Smith may have one last good year in him with the long off-season rest – but at his age and mileage – I expect the wheels to come flying off after he signs a Rivet-size extension next year. He was going sooner rather than later since it would have been insane to extend him at that price and we maxed out value. Great guy and great Oiler though – hope he takes some team to the cleaners financially because he’s one that deserves it.

  5. Dennis says:

    I really don’t see what else the Oilers can do with their blueline. If they are to pick up Redden, Raffi’s certainly on the other way and we’re so bloody thin on the wing, I don’t think they can trade him at this point, I really don’t. The only way we could do that is if we signed two UFA wings and of course no one wants to play here anyway so that’s not an option.

    Gilbert-Greene looks to be the D from where I’m sitting. Though you can probably delete one of those in the B’s deal for HT and Murray.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: They can sign Danny Markov.

  7. Big T says:

    Man I hope that Boston deal is for real. Murray is a good first shooter but Toivonen could turn out to be quite a find. Good gamble to take IMO.


  8. Big T says:

    Anybody know how much is left on Sanderson’s contract. This must be the final year, no?

    FWIW, I have Lowe with $10.5MM in cap room after spending $3.0MM in Joni, $2.0MM each on Torres and Hejda and $950K on a back-up goalie.


  9. Asiaoil says:

    Yeah Markov would be a fine pickup right now on a short deal – the usual suspects (DET, PHI, COL, NYR) have blown their wad – so let’s pick off some veteran help like him, Johnson, Fedotenko or Ashram. Then use the cap space, prospects and picks to get NHL players like Murray or Kubina when the cap crunch comes home to roost.

    Love picking up an elite player who could be top 5 at his position in 2-3 years this week. Best result possible for a rebuilding club – far better than overpaying for the B-list parade this week. Our defense needs a solid 2 way guy for the top 4 – and that is one heck of a lot easier than trying to find an elite guy which was the issue before yesterday.

  10. Dennis says:

    LT: Yeah, and they could’ve signed him last year too;) And from what we heard, they tried to overpay him too but he chose to go to a place that had a chance to win. Why wouldn’t he do that this summer too? Until the Oilers really sign someone, I’ll continue to believe that they either can’t or won’t.

    And I love the Pitkanen deal, too, AO. But anyway you look at it, the Oilers are fucked for at least the next two seasons and the only way this club ever rebounds is if some of our kids develop in a fashion that isn’t currently expected. You don’t piss away guys like Pronger and Smyth, though Lowe did some recouping with the Pitkanen deal, and when no one will come here when they have a choice, you’d better fucking not fuck them over when you have a chance to keep them like the deal with 94.

    The division is ultra strong and some teams will just get better, ie Van and Col. Sutter’s doing such a job of tying up guys longterm, how many years before we best them.

    We are fucked.

    Mark it down

  11. Asiaoil says:

    Oh I don’t think we are winning the conference or anything – but a couple of smart trades and a value UFA or two makes us very respectable.

    Murray is uber important IMHO – big winger, a scorer, a vet who could do well with our playmakers. Fedotenko who is one year away from scoring 26 with basically piss-all PP time is an interesting UFA option, as is Johnson or a sandpaper winger like Ashram. All of these guys make us better now and allow us to hide the kids better while they develop.

    The defense just needs a stable no-fuss top 4 vet who has some toughness in his game – Sutton is still there as is Stuart. But I don’t know if Stuart is worth the pop and I would not mind the size that Sutton would bring.

    So yeah we are rebuilding – but that was obvious the second FCP left and we had a UFA melt-down. We may not make the playoffs this year – but that doesn’t mean we can’t be interesting to watch or competitive every night. That just takes a bit of smarts and desire to spend short-term cash – which granted don’t always look to be there with this franchise.

  12. Dennis says:

    I think we’re out of the playoffs for the next two years at the very least. No one wants to come here via FA, the Oilers don’t have enough quality prospects to make the trades they need to make and when they do have guys that will stay here, they fuck them over.

    The Oilers are a laughingstock off the ice and given the division they’re in, they’ll be the same ON it.

  13. uni says:

    Holy $%#@, I saw the report on TSN. But Tom Preissing just signed a 4 year deal for 2.75 million per season. Isn’t this a 40 point guy? Decent on D, for an offensive D man?

    Is it just me or is that the bargain basement deal of the off season so far?

    Lombardi just did a major improvement to his team with players on the B-list, and did it without overspending too much, and for short term contracts. Lots of cap flexibility in 2-3 years when the Frolovs, Cammalleris, and Kopitars start demanding more coin.

  14. Dennis says:

    Yeah, Deano did what we want Lowe to do; not lock suspect guys in but at least spend some fucking money on one year deals. Nagy got a one year pact and Calder got two.

  15. PunjabiOil says:

    Dennis, I believe it has to do with the willingness to spend. Effectively, with all the RFA’s and backup goaltenders signed, the team had only 6-7M to spend from the self-imposed 45M budget.

    That just wasn’t enough to land a guy like Kariya.

    Handzus, Nagy, Calder, Preissing – these signings required an investment. I’m certainly not a big fan of Nagy, but he only got 1 year, that too at 3.75M. Pony up for the northern relocation benefit of another 500,000, and you may just land him.

    Right now, there’s only Guerin or Shannahan on offence that the Oilers can get on the FA market. People keep talking about trades, but who is really out there? With the increased cap, not many teams are having salary problems either.

    I agree the team is fucked for 2 years. I know people say the rebuilding phase started on the Pronger trade – I disagree. It started at the Smyth trade. The team was at least semi-competitive last year before a rash of injuries. Not perfect, but at least competitive for 8th-10th. The ripple effect since his departure and now we’re at the bottom of the West competing alongside Phoenix and Columbus.

    Minnesota is going to be an improved bunch, AND they have high end prospects in the system. Reisborough does an excellent job.

    Calgary will be around to compete. Gone are the days of winning the division, but they’ll still be around for the playoffs.

    Vancouver may have overachieved, but when you have a guy like Luongo, you’ll win games.

    Colorado is in a very strong position going ahead – 2 excellent FA signings, legit young talent in Stastny, Wolski, Svatos, and on top of that, they’ll spend to the cap. They have 7M in cap space left, AND they have Theodore off the books next year.

    You play these teams 32 times a year, and at maximum, only 3 teams in the NW will make the playoffs. I just don’t see us doing anything until then. Hopefully by that time, a few of their prospects take unexpected steps forwards.

    I’m probably sounding like a broken record, but I absolutely loathe the EIG. They talk about being committed to winning, yet leave 5M in cap space (20M in payroll) so they can address needs at the deadline. Right.

    Then there is the new arena build up, ”A new arena can help us attract free agents”

    No Cal, money, winning atmosphere, chance to win will help you attract free agents. Not a fucking arena.

    Hopefully the Katz purchase comes sooner rather than later.

  16. Nelson88 says:

    LT (or others)

    Any good sites to research exactly what made up the significant rise in revenue/cap? Particulary how much of it was due to the strength of the C$? We all know it wasn’t U.S. gate or t.v. revenues.

    Not that I would be betting on a fall but anyone who knows currency markets knows they are notoriously fickle. If we do get a sharp downturn in c$/US$ exchange rate I wouldn’t want to be a GM looking for a seat when the music stops and you have a few 6 – 8 year contracts on the books. Those terms could be a real killer. Particulary for Alberta teams as that fall in C$ would likely be precipitated by a fall in commodity prices.

  17. RiversQ says:

    What’s with all the Murray love?

    I’d definitely prefer Guerin at this point if he’d come here. He’ll be cheaper and he won’t cost anything to acquire.

    Slava Kozlov would be a very nice fit at LW IMO. Very smart player, really puck possession oriented and would be an excellent fit with Hemsky. Kozlov likely wants to stay East though.

    Kozlov and Guerin as the two UFA signings? Lowe can’t be feeling good right now.

  18. Chris! says:

    Dennis/Big T:

    Where are you guys hearing about a deal with Boston for Toivonen and Murray? And who’s said to be going the other way?

  19. Big T says:


    Heard it on XM on the 1st as pretty much a done deal. They had it as Murray and Toivonen for Torres but I’d have to assume there would be more going Boston’s way.

    Since it has been a while since anything has happend I have to assume the deal has fallen apart or was bunk from the beginning. (Bunk is probably more likely.)


  20. Dennis says:

    HT to Edm makes sense because we need a backup and Bos needs some promise on D and we have all kinds of kids back there that might eventually be good. I don’t think the B’s can even cling to that. That’s a deal I’ve been predicting for a long time and PDO told me he saw it mentioned in the BGlobe the other day.

    PJO, four teams from the Atlantic made the playoffs last year and that’s becuaase they had the Flyers to beat up on. I think four from the NW make it this year because they have us to beat up on.

    As for FA’s remaining, Kozlov-Guerin-Zubrus up front I guess. Am I missing anyone? Mike Johnson can play tough min but he’s not gonna make the PP go or anything like that.

  21. Barry says:

    Was surfing trying to find Lowe a free agent. Pretty slim pickings.

    Kozlov: made less than $1 million last year. Is 6’5″. Maybe he blossoms with Ales.

    Guerin: No. Can play a litle but seems to have that St Louis bad attitude. Keep him away from the kids.

    Ramzi Abid. Looks interesting. A lot like JFJ actually. Good size, excellent AHL numbers. Not much in the NHL so far. Get him in 2 way deal. Maybe he “gets it” this year.

    Johnson: Is a solid player but doesn’t have the physical side I would like to see.

    At this stage, Lowe should shift into next year mode: 1)Sign a few guys that might make good trade bait at the deadline. 2)Grab a few cheap undervalued guys and see if you can develop them. 3) goon up. Oil fans will put up with the Oil getting beat if they “beat” every team that comes into our barn.

    Oh, and start planning for goalie succession. Roli is not long for this team. If the team does poorly, he will quietly request a trade. He will likely be dealt at the deadline.

  22. Black Dog says:

    Pitkanen deal – like it. Too bad about Smith but we know unless he completely breaks down next season he’s going to get big money and better someone else give it to him then the Oilers.

    This team is in absolute rebuild mode – look at the teams that finished behind the Oilers last year. LA, Philly and St.Louis have all improved. Only the Isles look to fall back to lottery town. And the Oilers will start next season without Smyth and Sykora who carried the team offensively when they banked all of their points last autumn, as well as Smith, Shaggy and likely Hejda, who played all of the tough minutes on the backend.

    When is Tavares coming out?

  23. RiversQ says:

    Barry: You’re talking about V. Kozlov and he’s already gone to WSH.

    Torres for Murray and Toivonen is a terrible deal for the Oilers. Just terrible.

    Boston has too many goalies and they have to dump Murray’s salary. Why would you trade a younger, cheaper winger who’s arguably better than Murray at this point in their respective careers? Adding Toivonen doesn’t even explain it because he’s not worth more than a 2nd rounder.

    There’s Slava Kozlov and Guerin and that’s it IMO.

  24. Black Dog says:

    Agreed with rivers – maybe Mike Johnson as well but its time for the kids to get their ABs. LT used Nilsson as an example. Having him in the minors for another year is pointless – time to see if he can play – and not with Toby Petersen and JF Jacques either.

    You’ve got Torres-Stoll-Pisani, Moreau-Pouliot-Sanderson, Nilsson-Horcoff-Hemsky

    Maybe they bump Thoresen up to Sanderson’s spot to see what he can handle.

    Then Reasoner, Brodziak and Jacques fill out the roster up front.

    D may be what you see. Kiddie corps.

    Unless Lowe can hit a home run and what are the chances?

  25. Bendelson says:

    Kozlov and Guerin hey? Better makes some trades then, b/c neither player will get the Oilers near the playoffs…

    The UFA season was a major failure for the Oilers – I wouldn’t over-spend for the few remains possibilities just to say you tried. Too little, too late.

    Big talk from KLowe requires big action or he is going to have a problem… I think he’s got a problem.

    Toivonen is a good pickup behind Rollie, but I can’t see paying more than a 3rd/4th round pick for him… (Biron was worth a 2nd rd pick last year). If Murray was to become and Oiler he would be traded at the ’08 deadline after a ‘disappointing’ season in Edm (if he would play there at all) – though losing Torres might be addition through subtraction (nice professional attitude Raffi).

    At this point, either KLowe has a REAL blockbuster in the works or it’s all over and the Oilers don’t have the guts to tell the truth and lay claim to ‘rebuilding’ with bagloads of unproven youth.


  26. Black Dog says:

    Apparently Raffi got married Saturday – lets’ hope marriage has the same effect on him that it did on Dan Cleary

  27. Big T says:


    What did you expect. I’m happy he didn’t overpay any of the available UFA’s. Though I would have been fine with $6.0MM for Smyth over 4 yrs.

    I wouldn’t want any of Drury, Briere or Gomez at those prices or terms. Ridiculous.

    Disappointing that Nylander isn’t coming but if it was for 4yrs at $5.5MM per then it’s a good thing. 2-3yrs at $4.0MM seems about right for a significant overpay.

    IMO Hejda or Markov are the guys to be signed along with perhaps Guerin. Possibly a trade with L.A. for Vishnovsky involving a young guy assuming you can extend him for a year or two.

    Pitkanen – Vishnovsky/Hejda/Markov
    Tarnstrom – Staios
    Grebeshkov/Smid – Smid/Greene


  28. Barry says:

    “lets’ hope marriage has the same effect on him that it did on Dan Cleary”

    Lets hope his wife likes Edmonton

  29. Barry says:

    Dare I say it: Tenser is reporting that the Oil have signed Garon as a backup for 2 yrs

  30. Bendelson says:

    Ahh yes… C-bear. Good times.

    Big T – Yeah, I’m with you in that Gomez, Briere, Drury were all overpaid. No kidding. Just think how much MORE than that Lowe would have to pay to actually ‘lure’ a top UFA to Edmonton. Crazy.

    and yes, KLowe should have signed Smytty. He never should have become a free agent at all.

    What do I expect? I expect KLowe to get it together and move forward as promised. Pitkanen is a promising start, but just that – a start. Trading for Vishnovsky with an extension would make sense to me as well – but filling your roster with the ‘super-veteran’ scraps of the UFA market in a sad and desperate attempt to ‘compete’ this year doesn’t accomplish much long-term…

    I don’t think signing Guerin, Kozlov and/or Markov helps the re-building process – and they won’t get us near the playoffs this year.

  31. Dano says:

    TSN’s reporting the Garon signing. At least it’s not Raycroft (although I think that rumor was a Leaf fan fantasy).

  32. Big T says:

    I don’t know about whether signing Guerin, Markov, etc.. is a backwards move. Unless of course your of the belief that young guys should be thrown to the wolves to hurry their development. I’m more for sheltering them and putting htem in situations they can succeed in so long as they are still challenged.

    I’m not a fan of having Pitkanen in the top pair unless he’s playing alonside one of Staios, Hejda, Markov, Vishnovsky, etc… Even then, it’s going to be tough year for him.


  33. RiversQ says:

    Big T said…
    Disappointing that Nylander isn’t coming but if it was for 4yrs at $5.5MM per then it’s a good thing. 2-3yrs at $4.0MM seems about right for a significant overpay.

    That’s just out to lunch. Most of you guys sound like you’re pining away for the days of chocolate bars for a nickel.

    Personally, I don’t like player development through total crushing failure. (see black dog’s current forward lines for an example of disaster) I think it adds considerable time to the back end of the rebuild. Once you get the pieces together you need to spend 1-2 seasons getting rid of the losing culture. You don’t have that kind of time with a UFA age of 27 yrs old. I’m convinced the days of sucking for 5yrs to rebuild are completely gone.

    I have been in favour of 1-2 year deals and the acquisition of expiring contracts for months now and I stick to that. It’s the best way to keep your customers happy while staying on track.

    (Aside: Yes, Mike Johnson would be a fantastic pickup as well.)

  34. Big T says:


    You know, now that you mention that Riv I think you have a point. The slow rebuild that lasts a long time is done.

    Still think that Nylander on a contract term over 3 yrs is ridiculous but maybe Lowe had him at $5.5MM per for 2yrs and thats the contract he backed out of to go to play for $4.75MM per for 4 yrs.

    I disagree with you about Murray as he scored 28 last year on a bit of an off year. He’s signed for 2 more years at $4.1MM so it’s not like he’s way overboard.

    I’s rather pay the extra $2.1MM or less above what Raffi will make to have his experience, size and shot.


  35. Big T says:

    Wow, the Oilers just released a statement regarding Nylander and it sounds like Lowe is pissed.

    Also sounds like they’ll be pursuing legal actions against Nylander, his agent as well as the Caps.

    Brings up a few questions. Do they assume that they have the right to force him into the contract he may have agreed to with the Oilers? Do the Oilers want him now?


  36. uni says:

    I’s rather pay the extra $2.1MM or less above what Raffi will make to have his experience, size and shot.

    That would be all well and good if this team was built to win now, which of course it isn’t. Torres has much more of a future and value in 3-4 years when the Oilers are set to ‘win now’.

  37. Black Dog says:

    Well, by my count the Oilers are now spending around 36M, that’s with Pitkanen coming in at 2.75, let’s say.

    I know what you’re saying Riv – I guess the question is – where do you go from here? I would like a guy like Markov or Hejda, at least, because that D looks a little too Greene. Who plays top four minutes with Staios and Pitkanen? Greene and Tarnstrom? Jesus.

    Mike Johnson would be a terrific pickup – at least you’d have two lines that could play tough minutes I think.

    But nobody on this team is going to put the puck in the net unless a couple of guys really figure it out.

    It is going to be ugly.

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