Of the three players still to come on this list, Teemu Hartikainen is the least gifted offensively. He makes the list at number 18 for secondary skills, so in that way he belongs to the same family of players as Riley Nash and Chris Vande Velde. Based on pure offense or Desjardins NHL equivalencies the ranking would be lower.
Why does Hartikainen move past the superior offensive players still to come? A few reasons.
International Scouting Services tells us he’s a “real warrior who hates to lose. Great work ethic, loves to play a physical style and when he’s on he’s unstoppable. Has a habit of taking bad penalties. Does not have a lot of offensive flair but does have the skill set to be a reliable defensive center at the next level.”
Hartikainen is just a kid, he won’t turn 20 until spring 2010. He clocks in at 6.01 and 198; he’s also scored pretty well in Finland’s highest league (SM-LIIGA), popping 7 goals (and 1 assist) in 31 league games so far this season. The 7 goals have him in a tie for 38th in the league (the leaders have 16) so he’s definitely down the batting order.
Kevin Prendergast: “His skating needs to improve a little bit but he’s six-foot-two, 200 pounds and he uses his size. He should be on the Finnish junior team at the world championship. I really liked him when I saw him this year. He’s almost a poor man’s (Tomas) Holmstrom. He competes all over the ice.” Redline likes his size and strength but says he has “heavy feet.” I also read that he’s good along the wall.
No word yet on whether or not he’ll be on the Finnish WJC team but Guy Flaming suggests he will.