Teemu Hartikainen is a fun player. Big, strong skilled, he’s the kind of winger who may end up posting some very good numbers as an NHL player. Should he be able to offer a skilled center both protection and a complementary scoring option, then the good times will roll in Edmonton (Edmonton never makes a Stanley appearance without a Finn).
Hartikainen offers a lot to a young NHL team looking for useful players. He looked good in his AHL debut and then looked at least as good in one dozen NHL games (3-2-5 -3).
I think Hartikainen is going to surprise us and land an NHL job sometime this season. Not out of training camp, but early enough in the season for us to get a good look at him in the NHL.
OKC Prediction for 11-12: 30gp, 10-12-22 (.733)
NHL Prediction for 11-12: 45gp, 7-8-15 (.333)
- No way he plays 45 games this season. Well, I’ve got him doing exactly that; this is a guy the Oilers are going to see in pre-season doing good things and playing a physical style. When he’s sent out they’ll notice he’s gone and Hartikainen should be the first injury callup.
- Who will he replace? Injured people. On LW, I think Hall, Smyth, Paajarvi and Eager will be the everyday setup with Hordichuk swapping stories with the other HS players most nights.
- What about RW? Well, Paajarvi can move over so if Hemsky, Eberle, Omark and Jones can’t stay healthy then Hartikainen gets the call and MP moves over. That’s how I see it, anyway.
- So Hartikainen is 15F opening night? No, he’d be 12F on my team–ahead of roster players Hordichuk, Jones and Brule.
- Oh, you’re just picking him ahead of Ryan Jones because everyone is mad at Jones now. Certainly not, good on Jones for getting the most money he can. However, back in the spring RE’s I said he’d be a better option than Jones–and a less expensive one.
- How should the coach handle him? I’d try him everywhere. You know, Hartikainen is exactly the kind of player who ends up hitching his wagon to a highly skilled center and finds chemistry and 20 goals.
- So they should play him with Nugent-Hopkins? No, I think RNH will get proven veterans (or at least Hall-Eberle) for much of pre-season. I mean maybe one night in pre-season Eberle or Hall move over to center and that line pops three goals in the second period. You never know with this stuff.
- What do you mean? I mean you can’t force chemistry, it just happens.
- Okay, cupid. For crying out loud, it’s true. When 99 was young, the Hockey News and the television told me over and over again about Raimo Summanen. Raimo Summanen this, Raimo Summanen that.
- So he’s Raimo Summanen? NO! He’s not Raimo Summanen. Hartikainen has soft hands, size and can do things along the wall plus generally beat people to things and places because he’s big. And strong. That has value.
- Who might he be compared to in Oilers history? Well, Mike Krushelnyski would be a comparable type but his offensive numbers were very good (in a high scoring era). Still, I’d say that’s a comp, big guy with enough skill to run with the pack.
- You really like the guy? I like him plenty.
- Is he blocked? Maybe, but these things work themselves out. It might come down to not signing Ryan Smyth next summer. If Hartikainen plays well enough, it might be an option. The easier plan is to flush Jones but he’s got a contract.