It was a late season game and the heart of the scheule was a distant bell. After thousands of listless shifts Edmonton fans were greeted with a stunning moment: a young man with determination, size and soft hands grabbed the puck in the corner, circled wide, drove to the net with an iron will and scored a goal.
Music! Where in h-e-double-hockey-sticks was this young man all season? Why in God’s name didn’t he get here earlier? What would keep him from being an Oiler, when minutes were being given out pell mell to any swinging dick who could stand on skates?
Teemu Hartikainen 10-11
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.04 (13th among forwards but DNQ)
- 5×4 points per 60: 4.21 (2nd among forwards but DNQ)
- Qual Comp: 16th toughest faced among forwards but DNQ
- Qual Team: worst available teammates among forwards but DNQ
- Corsi Rel: .9 (9th best among forwards but DNQ)
- Zone Start: 55.9% (2nd easiest among forwards but DNQ)
- Zone Finish: 60.8% (best among regular forwards but DNQ)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 21/14.3% (tied for 2nd best among F’s but DNQ)
- Boxcars: 12gp, 3-2-5
- Plus Minus: -3 on a team that was -52
- What do these numbers tell us? Hartikainen showed well when called up to end the season. His CorsiRel and total points suggest the Oilers might have a useful player here, although it’s in a very small sample size. I do like the Zone finish number.
- How can these numbers be better? More at-bats. This is a quick snapshot, and sometimes that’s a good thing (Tikkanen) and other times it isn’t a good indicator at all. We need more data, but the early ticker is good.
- IS he ready? We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves, but a reasonable timeline would have the big Finn compete for a 4line LW spot this fall. I don’t see any math reason to suggest he won’t be a massive upgrade over Jacques, MacIntyre and the other 4th line wingers we endured this past season. The Oilers might go out and acquire a useful 3line L to slide onto the roster and that could block Hartikainen but it doesn’t seem likely.
- Where can he play? Renney used him on one of the skill lines and although his 5×5/60 wasn’t splendid he did look comfortable playing with skilled men. He played with VandeVelde and Eberle (30%) and Cogliano and Omark (21%) most of the time and that was the cream of the available crop.
- What about PP? Why not? Look, the Oilers are beyond puke when it comes to the PP. I don’t care if Hartikainen spends the winter docked in front of the other net, if he helps score goals have at it. Hartikainen has a skill that’s useful on good PP’s, it would seem foolish not to at least try him in that role. Plus he has hands and an idea.
- He can’t fill Jacques role. What–and I need the exact wording here–what is Jacques role? Teemu Hartikainen matched JFJ in total points while playing 208 minutes. Jacques took 360 minutes. That’s two and a half hours skating around looking big.
- They need Jacques as an enforcer. I know coach Renney likes his knuckledraggers, but perhaps we can talk him into having just one (MacIntyre) denver boot for these poor bastards to drag around every night.
- Hartikainen can’t fight. Hartikainen is a big winger with good hands and an idea about how to get things done in tough areas. Hartikainen has a unique skill set compared to someone like Jacques and he might end up being a top 9 regular with the NHL team in 11-12. He tied for 10th overall in AHL rookie scoring, he paid his dues.
- So he’s better than Jacques. Big deal. We’re dealing in a small sample size here so it’s important not to go too far. Having said that, I would argue that Hartikainein is a better bet to help win games next season than Jacques, MacIntyre, O’Marra, Fraser, Brule, Reddox and Jones. And I’m not including people like Zack Stortini, Giroux and VandeVelde.
- So you see him as an Oiler next season. You bet. I see Hall, Eberle, MP, Hemsky, Omark and Hartikainen as the 6 best wingers on the roster. Should the Oilers improve the position there’s still plenty of room.
- You’d take him over Ryan Jones? In a heartbeat. The kids is 6.01, 215, 21 years old and carried that OKC team for stretches a year ago. This Finn can help and he’s far less expensive than Jones.