THE OILERS AND THE REPUBLIC OF FINLAND (2017 DRAFT)

The greatest Oilers team God ever made contained foundation pieces from Finland. If you cast your memory back to the 1980s, Finnish men like Matti Hagman, Risto Siltanen, Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen were building blocks to glory, and later Reijo Ruotsalainen arrived to join the party. In later years, Janne Niinimaa, Jussi Markkanen and others continued the tradition. The Oilers have never played in a Stanley Cup Final without a Finnish player to represent his country.

The Oilers slowed their Finnish drafting earlier this decade, and then stopped it completely. From 2012 through 2015, during four draft weekends and 29 picks, no Finlander playing in Finlandia was chosen by the town who counts several as hockey heroes.

And then, just as a spring thaw is signaled by a ray of sunshine and a beautiful songbird, the Oilers returned to Finland with flourish. Two new men from Finland were chosen, and each of them has something to bring to an organization badly in need of their substantial skills.

PLAYERS/PLAYERS FROM FINLAND DRAFTED BY YEAR

  • 2016 NHL draft—211 total players, 12 from Finland
  • 2015 NHL draft—211 total players, 11 from Finland
  • 2014 NHL draft—210 total players, 7 from Finland
  • 2013 NHL draft—211 total players, 9 from Finland
  • 2012 NHL draft–211 total players, 9 from Finland
  • 2011 NHL draft, 211 total players, 10 from Finland
  • 2010 NHL draft 210 total players, 7 from Finland
  • 2009 NHL draft, 211 total players, 7 from Finland
  • 2008 NHL draft,  211 total players, 6 from Finland
  • FINAL TALLY: 1,897 total players, 78 from Finland
  • PERCENTAGE: 4.1%

TOTAL PLAYERS/FINLAND PLAYERS DRAFTED BY THE OILERS

  • 2016 NHL draft—9 total players, 2 from Finland
  • 2015 NHL draft—6 total players, 0 from Finland
  • 2014 NHL draft—6 total players, 0 from Finland
  • 2013 NHL draft—10 total players, 0 from Finland
  • 2012 NHL draft–7 total players, 0 from Finland
  • 2011 NHL draft–9 total players, 2 from Finland
  • 2010 NHL draft–11 total players, 0 from Finland
  • 2009 NHL draft–7 total players, 1 from Finland
  • 2008 NHL draft–5 total players, 1 from Finland
  • FINAL TALLY: 70 total players, 6 from Finland
  • PERCENTAGE: 8.57%

The NHL drafted 36 players from Finland from 2012-15, none of them chosen by the Oilers. In 2016 the Oilers chose two of 12 players. I should mention that Finland has produced far more NHL prospects than these numbers imply, mostly because Finnish teenagers are cast all over the globe, from Sweden to the USA and in Canada in all three CHL leagues.

FINNISH FINLAND PLAYERS SINCE 2008

  • 2008—Teemu Hartikainen (52 NHL games)
  • 2009—Toni Rajala
  • 2010
  • 2011—Samu Perhonen, Frans Tuohimaa
  • 2012
  • 2013—
  • 2014—
  • 2015
  • 2016—Jesse Puljujarvi, Aapeli Rasanen

The five picks from 2008-11 produced just one NHL player, and Teemu Hartikainen played in fewer than 100 NHL games (generally viewed as the required level of ‘success’ for a draft pick). Of course expectations will be much higher for Jesse Puljujarvi, the highest Finnish draft selection in Oilers history, and the sixth highest in team history. The previous high was Jani Rita, No. 13 overall in 1999.

FINLAND’S BEST, 2017

  1. LD Miro Heiskanen, HIFK (Sm-Liiga). Puck-mover, excellent vision and speed.
  2. LD Uro Vaakanainen, JYP (Sm-Liiga). Fast two-way blue with a good shot.
  3. R Emil Oksanen, Espoo (Mestis). Skilled winger, great shot, he can scoot.
  4. LD Robin Salo, Sport Vaasa (Sm-Liiga). Two-way defender, mature.
  5. R Aatu Luusuaniemi, Karpat (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Winger with skill, excellent boxcars, zero buzz.
  6. G Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, HPK (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Impressive size and good results.
  7. RD Juho Korhonen, Karpat (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Small and very skilled puck mover. Great passes.
  8. LC Jesse Koskenkorva, Karpat (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Responsible two-way forward with speed, some offense.
  9. G Veini Vehvilainen, Jyp (Sm-Liiga). A .912SP, he has a solid resume and is draft re-entry.
  10. F Joona Luoto, Tappara (Sm-Liiga). Big winger who can win battles, has some offensive ability.
  11. RD Martin Bodak, Tappara (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Mobile two-way D who is a good passer.
  12. L-C Aarne Talvitie, Blues (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Impressive boxcars and not much else is known.
  13. C Santeri Aalto, Tappara (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Good size and speed, challenged offensively.
  14. W Juha Jaaska, HIFK (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Has the complete range, but not enough offense to be a high pick.
  15. LD Otto Leskinen, Kalpa (Sm-Liiga). Mobile puck mover posted big numbers in junior.
  16. R Lauri Pajuniemi, TPS (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Has some promising boxcars.
  17. RD Otto Latvala, HPK (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Huge 6.05 defender defense first, not a burner.
  18. LD Antti Palojarvi, Luuko (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Mobile defender, good passing. Aggressive.

OILERS PICKS AT THE 2017 DRAFT

  • First Round: No. 21 overall
  • Third Round: No. 78 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)
  • Third Round: No. 83 overall
  • Fourth Round: No. 114 overall
  • Fifth Round: No. 128 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)
  • Fifth Round: No. 145 overall
  • Sixth Round: No. 176 overall
  • Seventh Round: No. 207 overall

OILERS NEEDS BASED ON CURRENT DEPTH CHART

  1. Left Wing: The trade of Taylor Hall means the NHL team has no LW younger than 28 (Lucic, Maroon, Pouliot, Hendricks) on the everyday roster. Tyler Benson is an excellent prospect but can the Oilers count on him? Jujhar Khaira may offer an option for bottom 6F, and Drake Caggiula’s story is unfolding. Oilers need help here, and that help need to be a sure thing.
  2. Right Wing: Jesse Puljujarvi was a big get from last year’s draft, but this position needs more help at the draft in June. Anton Slepyshev could be a Godsend if he can grab a job on one of the skill lines and keep it.
  3. Right Defense: Aggressive procurement of Matt Benning, Ethan Bear and Ryan Mantha make this position a little stronger from what we were looking at this time next season. More needed, but the club is getting there.
  4. Goal: The trick here is to shore up the position without spending any high picks. Laurent Brossoit is in the NHL now, with Nick Ellis trending very well in his first year pro. Dylan Wells has been an excellent draft bet so far. We could see a goalie added fairly early in this year’s draft, lots of strong candidates.
  5. Left Defense:  At the big league level, the Oilers have youngsters Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse. Griffin Reinhart may or may not force himself into the lineup, but he better hurry because Caleb Jones and or Ziyat Paigin could be pushing soon. Edmonton can afford to pass on a LHD unless the value is extreme.
  6. Center: If you include Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, this is one of the deepest positions in the entire NHL.

OILERS TARGETS BASED ON THEIR OWN PAST

  • Miro Heiskanen, Emil Oskanen, Robin Salo

MY PREFERRED TARGETS

  • Miro Heiskanen, Emil Oksanen, Aatu Luusuaniemi, Veini Vehvilainen.

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39 Responses to "THE OILERS AND THE REPUBLIC OF FINLAND (2017 DRAFT)"

  1. Rondo says:

    Miro Heiskanen is a top 10 pick.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Grant McCagg‏ @grantmccagg 18m18 minutes ago
    More
    Grant McCagg Retweeted Lowetide
    Good stuff – one name missing from the 2017 DE’s as he’s been injured until recently – Santeri Virtanen. Was quite decent at Ivan Hlinka

    Mr. McCagg passed along another name.

  3. Seismic Source says:

    We need to add another pick in the top 90 somehow.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Seismic Source:
    We need to add another pick in the top 90 somehow.

    Agree. Second rounder for sure.

  5. Philosophil says:

    As St. patty’s day is early and often today, a heartfelt hat tip to LT – a talented artist that can make the most obscure Finnish draft picks intruiging and compelling. (Insert failed gaelic well wishes here).

  6. Lowetide says:

    Cornell and Union playing on TSN 2, a couple of Union players Edmonton may have interest in.

  7. stush18 says:

    Are we talking about dealing down to grab two picks, or sending a player away for another pick?

  8. Lowetide says:

    stush18:
    Are we talking about dealing down to grab two picks, or sending a player away for another pick?

    I think we are just talking. Do you like these ideas?

  9. thurmtim says:

    hunter1909,
    My memory fails me (happens a lot lately). I remember wavering between a death march number of 91 to 101 points or thereabouts. Can you remind me what my number was? I plan to celebrate heartily the day we pass my number!
    This years version of death march is too much fun. Previous years, too depressing.;)
    Thanks for checking.

    I apologize for posting this again. It was on near the end of last article’s thread so may have been missed!

  10. bsmart says:

    I’m still in disbelief that we need to surrender our 2nd rounder to Boston, it just defies logic and reason. To fire someone and furthermore to gain compensation in doing so is absurd.

  11. adamjames says:

    Edmonton has had some unreal performances from Finns through the years. And then some believe Finland itself isn’t real. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/this-dude-accidentally-convinced-the-internet-that-finland-doesnt-exist

    The internet is a funny place haha

  12. JDï™ says:

    Since it’s beatadeadhorse day, wouldn’t it have been great to have had a Finn on the bench in game 1, 2006?

  13. digger50 says:

    One good difference maker is more valuable than a heap of depth players. Thus it seems the best strategy (to me) is to trade up, not down, and try to secure at least one good player in the draft. After the first it really seems a gamble on who will emerge as NHL talent.

  14. N64 says:

    thurmtim: ). I remember wavering between a death march number of 91 to 101 points or thereabouts. Can you remind me what my number was? I plan to celebrate heartily the day we pass my number!

    You wavered.

    http://lowetide.ca/2016/10/05/just-who-is-making-this-team-anyway/#comment-567969

    Call me an optimist, I am guessing 91 points, please

  15. digger50 says:

    Lt; when discussing Aston-Reese you mentioned two other players who you stated could be arguably the best available. I interpreted that as potentially better than Aston-Rees. Any more thoughts on those other two, what makes them desirable, and any rumours Oil are interested?

  16. Professor Q says:

    bsmart:
    I’m still in disbelief that we need to surrender our 2nd rounder to Boston, it just defies logic and reason. To fire someone and furthermore to gain compensation in doing so is absurd.

    I still think they should petition. I think the wording is of you’ve already given up the puck you can’t get a compensatory pick.

    As they haven’t given up the pick yet however (out of luck for the San Jose one), couldn’t they weasel their way out?

  17. kgo says:

    Debrusk doing the flames broadcast? Is this a new thing? Why does this upset me so?

  18. JDï™ says:

    kgo: Why does this upset me so?

    Maybe because you’re watching the Flames?

  19. T0ML says:

    Debrusk is a national broadcaster now, he jumps between games frequently … makes watching the flames much easier when he is on atleast…

    kgo:
    Debrusk doing the flames broadcast? Is this a new thing? Why does this upset me so?

  20. Lowetide says:

    Patrick Russell from Scott Allen and Dillon Simpson, 1-0 Bakersfield.

  21. thurmtim says:

    N64,

    Thanks for checking! I was hoping I was more optimistic at the time, but this means I will get to celebrate sooner! In hindsight, that 101 points is looking better all the time — too bad I wavered.

    Tim

  22. Seismic Source says:

    Dallas doing us no favors i see.

  23. Pouzar says:

    http://ontariohockeyleague.com/article/ohl-announces-2016-17-coaches-poll-winners

    Most Improved Player:

    Eastern Conference:
    1. Brandon Saigeon, Hamilton Bulldogs (21)
    1. Ryan Mantha, Niagara IceDogs (21)
    3. Zach Gallant, Peterborough Petes (16)

    Best Shot:

    Eastern Conference:
    1. Owen Tippett, Mississauga Steelheads (41)
    2. Ryan Mantha, Niagara IceDogs (17)
    3. Dmitry Sokolov, Sudbury Wolves (15)

    Best Offensive Defenceman:

    Eastern Conference:
    1. Vili Saarijarvi, Mississauga Steelheads (40) – finished second in Western Conference in 2015-16
    2. Ryan Mantha, Niagara IceDogs (15)
    3. Matthew Timms, Peterborough Petes (14)

    Best Defensive Defenceman:

    Eastern Conference:
    1. Ryan Mantha, Niagara IceDogs (24)
    2. Stephen Desrocher, Kingston Frontenacs (19)
    3. Jacob Moverare, Mississauga Steelheads (15)

  24. Evilas says:

    LT,

    You forgot about Markus Niemelainen…..

  25. gogliano says:

    Sabres win in an extended shootout, Ducks get the Bettman point.

  26. kgo says:

    JDï™,

    Touche , though I swear the cadence was a bit lower in debrusk’s voice.

  27. LubeOil says:

    With the advancement of analytics in recent years, a team’s roster composition is becoming more critical than ever before. Analysis allows teams to be far better prepared for opponents than they were historically, so time and space for making hockey plays is limited. Having the left/right handedness of the roster balanced should be an advantage for a team, imo. That extra micro-second to release a one timer in the game today can be a difference maker on a lot of nights when the defensive structures are so tight.

    Bearing that in mind I wouldn’t be upset if the Oilers only drafted RC’s and RD’s in the upcoming draft. Before the trade deadline this year I searched through the NHL rosters looking for potential acquisitions for those two holes on the Oilers, and that was a bit of a rude awakening for me…there is not much out there, unless you are willing to pay a hefty price. With the value that good righty’s have, you can find anything you need to fill your roster around them.

    And yes, the Oilers should try to acquire another draft pick for this year if they can do it. If they use it on a RH Finnish player, so much the better. If our Finn had been on the bench as JDÏ noted above, 06 could have had a different end result. Moar Finn!

  28. Centre of attention says:

    Evilas:
    LT,

    You forgot about Markus Niemelainen…..

    glad I wasn’t the only one to notice 🙂

  29. jp says:

    Evilas:
    LT,

    You forgot about Markus Niemelainen…..

    This is players drafted out of Finland. Niemalainen is on the OHL list since he played there during his draft year, despite being Finnish (pretty sure).

  30. Chachi says:

    Jonas Gustavsson got a 27 save shutout tonight for the Condors. I assume it is the first shutout ever recorded by a goalie who is incapable of actually facing a shooter. I bet he made half of those saves with his butt.

  31. Lowetide says:

    jp: This is players drafted out of Finland. Niemalainen is on the OHL list since he played there during his draft year, despite being Finnish (pretty sure).

    Yep.

  32. thurmtim says:

    Things are setting up for maximum drama, hooray!

    ANA loses after reg today, we are 1 pt up on CAL and 2 behind ANA going into tomorrow. ANA plays SJ tomorrow, we play VAN. A win and we could squeak 1 ahead of CAL and tie ANA.

    CAL, SJ and EDM then 11 games left and ANA with 10. In game 72 for the rest of this bunch, SJ gets DAL (we won’t catch them barring a miracle run), EDM and CAL both face LA for their 72 game. This could leave EDM 2 up on ANA and 1 up on CAL after 72 games.

    game 73 match ups:
    ANA gets EDM. EPIC.
    CAL gets WAS. Tough opponent.

    If we win in OT/SO, we would be 3 up on ANA , anywhere from 1 to 3 up on CAL after 73.

    And it just gets better from there, but lets not go more than 3 games ahead as the sands they are a shiftin’…

    WOOT.

  33. thurmtim says:

    Also of note:

    If you classify opponents into 3 categories: Playoff faves, Playoff contenders/bubble teams, and also rans, the remaining schedule breaks down as such:

    (Call them Easy Medium and Hard opponents for brevity),

    EDM 5 easy, 5 medium and 2 hard
    ANA 3 easy, 5 medium and 3 hard
    CAL 1 easy, 7 medium and 3 hard.

    Some of the real fun comes in the Central:

    NAS 4 easy, 7 medium and 2 hard.

    STL 10 easy and 2 medium. NO HARD. 6 of their 12 remaining games are ARI and COL, 1 with VAN , 1 with WPG, 1 with FLA , 1 with CAR, and their two medium games are 1 each with CAL and NAS. PILLOW SOFT OPPONENTS.

    I think STL passes NAS like a house on the side of the road, EDM gets second n PACIFIC, CAL and ANA depends on the breaks for wild card or not for each. Forget about LA – too far back and not enough blacktop left to catch up. 6 left against CAL and EDM and they need to almost run the table on both to have a good chance to catch NAS (STL wont let them get close as per schedule above).

    This playoff thingy is FUN!

  34. JDï™ says:

    Chachi: Gustavsson got a 27 save shutout

    Turns out AHL goalies are best off in the AHL.

    Huh…

  35. trencan says:

    All respect to Finns. This very small country and they are able to produce so much taleneted young players. They have really good development programs. I remeber in early 90s it was very often they lost by 5-6 goal difference by other teams and now they are #3-4 in the world. Good job…

  36. GMB3 says:

    Pouzar,

    Wow that makes Mantha stand out to me.

  37. spoiler says:

    GMB3:
    Pouzar,

    Wow that makes Mantha stand out to me.

    Me too.

  38. 106 and 106 says:

    spoiler,
    Another sleeper chiarelli add that could shore up the RD position if pans out.. Makes the team next year out of camp ala benning?

  39. Yeti says:

    106 and 106:
    spoiler,
    Another sleeper chiarelli add that could shore up the RD position if pans out.. Makes the team next year out of camp ala benning?

    A full year in the AHL and then we’ll have a better idea of where he sits. He’s a beast among boys at the moment.

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