Joni Pitkanen. Why isn’t he signed? Is he waiting for the summer? Has Kevin Lowe tried to sign him? If so, what were the results? How far apart could they be? We know Pitkanen and the Flyers had their issues, are those things issues in Edmonton as well? We know Kevin Lowe said Pitkanen likes it here and all is well, but there were issues bubbling for Chris Pronger we didn’t know until June either. DOES Pitkanen like it here? Has anyone asked him? What did he say?

Joni Pitkanen. Why isn’t he signed? Other rfa’s are getting their three year deals now, why isn’t Pitkanen? The Oilers aren’t exactly getting set to load up for a Stanley run, what is management doing?

Joni Pitkanen. Why isn’t he signed? Has anyone asked him about his future?

I’d like to know.

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31 Responses to "Pitkanen"

  1. Dennis says:

    Too much noise for him NOT to be dealt.

    Just today, for instance, Stauffer, who BTW is becoming an even bigger Lowe schil than David Staples-Lowe-BobCOOK-error, was once again greasing the skids for the departure of 25.

    Him and Brownlee were talking to Gene Principe and asking about 25′s status for tonight and then after that segment was over Stauffer launches into this tirade about how Pitkanen isn’t buying in and Moreau and the other leaders have to take him aside and tell him to make his mind up either way.

    What do we make of all of that?

  2. doritogrande says:

    Team elected arbitration. I don’t care if he gets pissed off, he’ll have a contract to honour. Pronger fucked with Lowe and wanted out, but Lowe’s not going to get fooled twice.

    As of right now, he’s worth about 3M. He’ll probably get 3.5-4 with an arbitration award for a year. That’s enough for him and gives us enough money to sign Gilbert Gilbert to what he actually deserves.

    If in fact he wants out, then trade him next season.

  3. Bohologo says:

    I’m not as worried about the non-signing. Here’s why:
    -Pitkanen’s not had the kind of season that gives him the incentive to sign now, like Mike Richards did, for example. If he can have a strong last quarter, he’s got more negotiating traction. Why would he sign now?
    -if he merits an offer sheet over the summer, Lowe can match if it’s good value, or walk with draft picks if it’s not.

    Colour me sanguine on this issue.

  4. PunjabiOil says:

    LOL. Nice entry LT. For a moment I thought Stoll2Hemsky hacked on to your account.

  5. Gord says:


    The team does not have the option yo elect arbitration since Philadelphia already requested it (does not matter if they reached a contract prior)… That is my understanding.

    So the Oilers just need to see what other teams offer then match if the price is right…

  6. godot10 says:

    He wants more money than Hemsky and Penner probably.

    Jay Bouwmeester isn’t signed yet either.

    I don’t think PItkanen has demonstrated he is worth more than $4.25 million.

    What are Pitkanen’s options? He can choose arbitration, which I don’t think the Oilers have to fear. He doesn’t have the numbers.

    If he attracts an offer sheet for more than $4.25, we can take the draft picks.

  7. speeds says:

    Gord is correct Dorito, Pitkanen is not eligible for team arbitration.

  8. doritogrande says:

    So they’re only allowed to be taken to arbitration once? Shit. Thanks, I guess.

    Given that, I’d say keep him for the now, and take our chances in the summer.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Lowe always signs his defensemen and OFTEN gives them too much money. If Pitkanen is asking for too much and or if what Stauffer is saying is true, how much of that is known throughout the NHL about this player?

    Meaning: Are the Oilers going to get 100 cents on the dollar? IS Pitkanen going into the summer hoping for a payday that will never come UNLESS Kevin Lowe gives in and oversigns like he did with Sheldon Souray?

  10. Dennis says:

    DG: Lowe’s been fooled many times; twice was a fuck of a long time ago.

    LT: In a world where Matt Carle signs a contract for 4 years ~14 mill, you’d think that some team Would pay for JP and that this payday is just around the corner.

    You know what though? Maybe it isn’t. Carle wasn’t a move that cost SJ futures so that means Pitkanen might have a comparable in terms of numbers, and honestly he’s beyond Carle IMO, but it’s one thing to sign a guy for money and another for money and picks.

    For all of Clarke/Kesler in ’06 and Lowe/Vanek-Penner in ’07, those are the only guys who’ve laid out offersheets. If DiPetro remains healthy then that was a great deal and why wouldn’t anyone lock up OV longterm. But as for the rest I’m wondering if teams have gone and built bomb shelters without checking to see how many of their fellow teams actually possess nuclear weaponry.

    I have a hard time believing there’s much of an appetite for that practice and let be honest; there will be even less of one if the Oilers wind up giving the Ducks a lottery pick because of Penner.

    I Want Pitkanen back because the memory of the ’07 Tim Horton’s Defense Corps, ie roll-the-puck-around-the-rim, remains fresh in my memory.

    Staples and everyone else without a clue or the yearning to watch hockey other than the Oilers but might believe Souray’s a first-pass guy but he isn’t. So if the Oilers let Pikanen walk or send him away for a forward, we’re back to Souray-Smid-Staios-Grebs-Greene-Gilbert
    starting out for next year.

    Is that a defense that’s gonna be able to lug and/or move the puck? No it’s not.

  11. Bruce says:

    I’ve had this guy in my keeper league pool his whole career. I have to say I’m not convinced at this point he’s got the royal jelly. With his size, speed and hands Joni is capable of dominating, and indeed he looks great on his good nights. He’s also capable of looking disinterested if not completely lost out there many nights.

    Pitkanen is second among Oiler skaters in TOI/G (behind Souray), but like Sheldon has proven to be injury prone, missing 16 games over three different injuries to date. In 41 GP he has 16 points which is well short of the offensive force he’s reputed to be. 1.74 PPP/60 doesn’t blow me away, nor does 0.82 ESP/60.

    Defensively he has just 24 hits which is down in Gilbert territory, but unlike 77 he doesn’t block shots either (just 44). His GV:TK ratio of 48:17 is among the worst on the club. His +/- is even, respectable on this club, but that combined with his PP ineffectiveness suggests he is less than a difference-maker on a consistent basis.

    Joni’s at least a mean streak away from being the “Finnish Pronger” he seemingly fancies himself (anybody else notice the number switch form 44 to 25?) I’d like to see this guy compete a little harder, and back up his teammates a little more.

    I agree with bohologo’s line of reasoning: let the market decide. To my eye he’s less than the sum of his parts.

  12. PDO says:


    Does he add up?


    What should you keep in mind?

    He’s younger than Grebeshkov, Greene AND Gilbert.

    Pay the man. We found money for Sheldon freaking Souray, we sure as hell better find room for a 23 year old defenseman who can skate like the wind, is strong, and can move the puck.

    Hell, bring in Jari Kurri if we have to in order to talk some sense into him. Maybe he can help the PP out to boot.

  13. Bruce says:

    I see your point. To be accurate Grebeshkov is the youngest, and all four of them have 1983 birthdays, but yes he is AS young as those guys. And with 24-year-old defencemen patience is the watchword I guess, with Joni and with all three of GGG :). However, given Pitkanen is a four-year veteran with almost as many GP (247) as the other three combined (277) and with huge salary expectations, I expect a little more out of him. Make that a lot more.

  14. PDO says:

    Guess I should’ve checked my facts… that was just off memory and a quick scan at nhlnumbers.com had 2 of them listed as 24, and then both Grebs and Pitk as 23 so I assumed I was right ;).

    That said though, we’re getting a lot more out of Pitkanen than any of those guys. He’s on the top pairing (as is Gilbert), but he’s producing. He’s only been on the ice for 80 minutes or so on the PK (roughly 2 minutes a game), but during that time he has only been on for five goals against… and we got one of our shorties with him on too. His work on the PP has been well documented… and obviously has to improve. I wonder how much of this is a language barrier?

    5v5 is where he’s been money though. Desjardin has his rating the highest among Oiler D. His Corsi is second only to Grebeshkov, despite much tougher minutes. His ESP/60 is .01 lower than Gilbert, good for 2nd on the Oilers. He’s a +2, at +33/-31 (Desjardin… so I think EN’s are included, correct?).

    And.. he just has such a wonderful skillset. It’s not all adding up yet, but he’s still 5 years away from his prime. I have to think the lightbulb is going to go on at some point, and I sure as hell hope he’s an Oiler when it does.

  15. DBO says:

    I think the issue with Pitkanen is what can you get for him? As has been said here, his skill set is huge if his head puts it all together. He is only 23, and I actually think with a guy like Huddy mentoring him, he’ll only get better. What could you expect if you dealt him? Would we get an impact player back? Because I would assume we’re all not looking for more picks/prospects. a top 3 or 6 forward? Who is available?

  16. Dennis says:

    I guess you’d deal him for a top 5 pick but who’s gonna give that up? It would be funny if that’s how he went out of town though considering that’s how he went from TB to Philly.

    I’m falling in love with Staios all over again these past few gamse and especially after tonight. And I keep thinking about Cerebreal’s thread over at HF and how it will be hard to find another Staios for what we’re paying him now.

    We needs to shed money somewhere to keep both Joni and Staios but I think it’s worth doing.

    14-16 and one of 18-34. We can move some of those.

    Really it all depends on how big of a prick Lowe decides to be with Horc.

  17. jon k says:

    To be concise, Pitkanen isn’t the same player since a series of injuries in Philly.

    Unless he can be signed for under 4.5 mill per season I’d prefer to move him if his value is still high.

  18. Gord says:

    I would offer Pitkanen a maximum of $4 million on a one year contract. If perchance he wants to test the free agent market, let him…

    If a reasonable offer comes in, we match…. If a ridiculous offer comes in, we take the draft picks…

    As he “ducks for cover” then goes to bed…….. LOL

  19. Jonathan says:

    Hopefully Lowe has the patience to deal with Pitkanen. Think about all the big-name defenceman out there- usually it takes awhile for their stats to come around, and Pitkanen certainly has the pedigree and the toolbox to succeed.

    Chris Pronger, (as he was mentioned) for example, was a minus player his first three NHL seasons. His GP, +/- (an imperfect stat, but you don’t always go to war with the army you want;) ) and points production from his first season on:

    81,30,-3 43,14,-12 78,25,-18 79,35,+15 81,36,+47 and so forth.

    With very few exceptions, the really good defencemen take time to develop.

    The Oilers are in rebuilding mode, and with all do respect to the triple-G gang, Pitkanen is far and away the most likely to be a #1 impact defenceman for the next decade. If he’s traded for anything less than another potential #1 who can play at a high level right now, the Oilers lose this deal. He fills a role that needs filling, and is damn hard to find guys to fill.

    If he’ll sign in the area of 4mil per season, lock him up for 6 years.

  20. heed says:

    I guess you’d deal him for a top 5 pick but who’s gonna give that up?

    possibly los angeles. they are prone to bonehead decisions. i’m all for keeping pitkanen but it does sound like the “issues” that surrounded him in philly are surfacing here. his speed is mind blowing. his avoidance of the physical stuff is sometimes annoying but it looks like greene and smid are vying for that role. i want him signed but that is often the first sign that it’s a bad idea.

  21. namflashback says:

    For 08-09– I just don’t see the difficulty in getting Pitkanen fit in.

    - 09-10 is the first of the years they really want as the “compete” years
    - top-end UFA players won’t come here until they see that we are competitive

    Then no other drastic changes are required. This team is not very good right now, but if 06-07 and 07-08 was about development — you can see the elements coming together that make them better next year.

    The bigger issue is the space they would need for a Horcoff re-up for 09-10.

    However, they can deal with that at that time (move a Torres and/or Stoll if necessary).


    Folks also have to remember that a player’s leverage is higher the longer they leave the negotiation. Signing a 1-year deal to begin with, and waiting for the market to “set” is certainly a good negotiating strategy.

    He may very well like it here. He may very well want to continue here. Its negotiation.

  22. jon k says:

    Perhaps another explanation is that Lowe is not in too much of a rush to get Pitkanen signed. If someone were to throw him an offer sheet, it’d likely have to be at least 6.25 mill considering Phaneuf’s contract.

    4 first rounders (read: 4 assets) might be too much for Lowe to resist. ;)

    I could see a few teams in the east who might consider it. Perhaps even one who stands to lose their pucking moving D this offseason and have history with Lowe and offer sheets.

  23. Bank Shot says:

    What about any/all of the other RFAs?

    Lowe likes to leave his business to the last possible minute, before being cornered into making a decision.

    Also, I swear that I heard someone in the Oilers org. confirm that they still had arbitration rights on Pitkanen. Not that they’d be any more knowledgeable on the subject then some of the internet buffs..

  24. jon says:

    The RFA’s this year have done themselves no real favours going into the summer, which I think helps K.lowes cause for negotiating.

    Joni.P: This year was a step back for him as he is having a statistically worse year than then rest of young d-men in the league (phaneuf, whitney, burns, green, meszaros, J.Bo, the preds young stars) However, we have all seen glimpses of brilliance and he has a few good years to back it up.

    Here is my best guess

    1 or 2 years: 4 mill
    3 or 4 years 4.5 mill
    5 or 6 years 5 mill

    Gilbert: he is a fan favorite and has really stepped up this year; however, he is not having a Matt Carle standout first season.

    1 or 2 years 2.5 mill
    3 or up at 3 mill

    Jarret Stoll: K.lowe likes to sell high so I think he re-signs Stoll but only a 2 year deal around the same he is making now

    Robert Nillson: I do not see where he is going to fit into the lineup. I think Lowe and mactavish has decided to go back to a 4th line of scrubs and there is no room for him on the 2nd line so i expect a trade.

    Grebs: does not have that much negotiating power so expect a contract similar to M.Greene or he will be traded.

    I believe the only real way to achieve all these contracts is to trade Roloson to someone (Sharks, Caps, Florida, Hurricanes) and have the cap move to 55 mill.

    Lowe needs to sign Joni.P, Gilbert, Stoll and aim for the 09-10 season when Gagner, Cogs, and the young d-core come into their own.

    But this is K.lowe and he likes to live by the maxim “expect the unexpected” so who the F*!K knows.


  25. Jonathan says:

    //Joni.P: This year was a step back for him //

    That’s interesting. I’ve been wondering for a while what Pitkanen’s 06-07 season looked like compared to this one, so I went over to Desjardins site, and here’s what I found (all numbers 5v5):

    In 2006-07, at 23, Pitkanen played 16.2 min/game, and played the third toughest minutes, well behind that of Philadelphia’s shutdown pairing. On the whole, Philadelphia scored 2.6 goals/game and allowed 3.62 goals/game. When Pitkanen was playing, against middling opponents, Philly scored 2.74 goals/60mins and allowed 3.7goals/60.

    In contrast, this season, at 24, Pitkanen is just a hair behind Souray/Gilbert for toughest minutes on the team, and is playing 16.72mins/game. Edmonton as a team scores 2.48goals/game, and allows 2.9. When Pitkanen’s on the ice they score 2.99goals/60 and allow only 2.65.

    The fact that Pitkanen’s counting numbers are down adds incentive for us to sign him- he’s having a major impact on the team.

  26. LJ says:

    In my eyes, Pitkanen is the only guy on the team who has the mash to be a #1. If we let him go, who’s going to fill that spot? Souray? Gilbert? UFA? (Snicker.)

  27. Bruce says:

    I’m falling in love with Staios all over again these past few gamse and especially after tonight.

    Staios and Smid played a beauty game last night, didn’t they? Funny thing, the press was all raving about Staios and how physical he played (and he did), but all I can find in the stats line is 4 PiM, 1 hit and, uncharacteristically, 0 blocks. Smid was doing his share of the heavy lifting, with 2 PiM, 2 HT, and 2 BS. Meanwhile, Matt Greene, playing third pairing minutes with “bonus” time on the PK, delivered a very solid effort, racking up 5 HT and 4 BS and leading the team by 2 in both categories. Greene lost one battle to Michalek on the side boards which led to the 2-1 goal — in fact I assigned Matt a secondary error on that goal, although Pitkanen made the far larger error coughing the puck right in front of the (open) net — and wound up with an undeserved -1 on the night, but like Staios and Smid, this guy battled hard and won more than his share.

    All three of those competitors were huge contributors to a PK unit that won the Oilers this game. Interesting to see the SH TOI:

    Staios 6:33
    Smid 4:59
    Greene 3:38
    Gilbert 3:38
    Pitkanen 1:06
    Grebeshkov 0:38

    Joni of course led the way in PPTOI with 4:02, with Gilbert far back at 0:57 and the rest at trace amounts. The PP had an eventful night going +1/-1:
    in the first blew a 5-on-3 (when Ray Ferraro harshly and correctly criticized Pitkanen for missing the net and clearing the zone with a wayward shot);
    in the second opened the scoring on a rare down-low play among the forwards;
    then in the third blundered the way to a tense finish with a dreadful SHGA (on which I assigned Pitkanen another error, this one for poor positional play bordering on gross negligence). Let’s just say Joni wasn’t driving the powerplay, at least not the successful part.

    JP had a high event night in which he was on the ice for all five goals, and Oilers did score three of them, so he obviously did some things right along the way. But it sure wasn’t a $5 MM kind of performance.

  28. Dennis says:

    Jonathan: Folks usually only look at the counting stats and by folks, I mean the MGMT types well.

    Pitkanen isn’t a bruiser in his own end and he isn’t as a deft a finesse defender as say Gilbert but the man is good and has tonnes of promise. One of Stauffer’s latest harping points is how Pitkanen let Godard punch him in the face and didn’t react to it. That might be true but Joni isn’t exactly a shrinking violet either.

    The fact there aren’t that many guys out there who can make an outstanding first pass and then punch a fellow in the mouth all on the same shift. In fact I’d wager there’s only one and he’s playing in Ana now. Could Pitkanen be tougher in his own end? Damn right. But the reason why the stats that Jon referenced are in his favour is that he’s such an effortless skater and deft passer that the majority of time he’s on the ice the puck finds it’s way to the offensive zone.

  29. Jonathan says:

    //Pitkanen isn’t a bruiser in his own end and he isn’t as a deft a finesse defender as say Gilbert but the man is good and has tonnes of promise. One of Stauffer’s latest harping points is how Pitkanen let Godard punch him in the face and didn’t react to it. That might be true but Joni isn’t exactly a shrinking violet either.//

    That’s the thing- Pitkanen fills a role on the Oilers that needs to be filled, and that nobody else on the team is qualified to fill. Souray may be an offensive defenseman, but that has lots more to do with his shot than with passing ability. Gilbert probably comes closest, but even so he doesn’t have the same skillset as Pitkanen.

    Pitkanen doesn’t need to be a bruiser- there’s plenty of toughness on the blueline, with Souray, Staios, and Greene.

    I remember watching a Detroit v. Vancouver playoff series (the one where Cloutier established his playoff reputation) and the first two games Bowman had Lidstrom’s pairing against the Canucks’ top line (Naslund was injured, though, IIRC) and Bertuzzi dominated him physically. I remember him crossing the opposing blueline, putting his hand on Lidstrom’s head, and just shoving him out of the way, all without losing the puck. Anyways, the rest of the series, Chelios played Bertuzzi, played him awfully dirty, and kept him from having near the same impact. (Burke had a nice rant around game 4 about Bertuzzi wearing a red sweater because of the Wings players draped over him).

    Long, rambling story aside, Chelios filled his role. Lidstrom filled his. If Pitkanen’s dealt, there’s an instant need for a high-end puck-moving defenceman who can play semi-tough minutes. Nobody else on the Oilers can fill that role, and finding someone as a free agent or in a trade will cost the team dearly. Pitkanen must be resigned, or a player from the same family who can play right now must be part of the return package in a trade.

  30. Dennis says:

    That’s dead-on but let’s remember that Lowe always tries to zig-and-zag his way to a straight line and he’s a big fan of the moving target.

  31. Marchantfan says:

    I would do terrible, horrible things if it meant that Pitkanen would sign with the Oilers. Vile, disgusting, unpardonable things.

    There are two reasons to watch the Oilers this year: Hemsky and Pitkanen. The games they were both out, I didn’t watch. Asset management is all well and good, but the Oilers have plenty of assets–in fact, they have as many as they possibly can (50), and it’s killing them. There’s no reasonable trade you can make with Pitkanen where you end up with the best player in the trade. Sign this mofo! Hire a Finnish gal to take care of his every need–whatever it takes!

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