The Edmonton Oilers are acquiring the hard stuff via #1 overall picks, but where are the role players going to come from. After the gold rush, how do they fill the roster?
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
Teemu Hartikainen 11-12
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.36 (13th among forwards but DNQ)
- 5×4 points per 60: nil
- Qual Comp: 2nd toughest faced among forwards but DNQ
- Qual Team: 5th best available teammates among forwards but DNQ
- Corsi Rel: -4.5 (11th best among forwards but DNQ)
- Zone Start: 56.0% (5th easiest among forwards but DNQ)
- Zone Finish: 49.0% (8th best among regular forwards but DNQ)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 24/8.3% (12th best among F’s but DNQ)
- Boxcars: 17gp, 2-3-5 +1
- Plus Minus: +1 on a team that was -26
- What do these numbers tell us? He’s about where he was a year ago, knocking on the door. Hartikainen shows flashes during his cups of coffee but they’re never going to really know about him until they see 500 at-bats in a single season.
- How could they be better? Ordinarily with young players in this situation I’ll say he needs to grab the job, do something that will get him noticed by the coach and a job as a regular. However, Hartikainen has done that both times he’s gotten a spring recall, so now I’m wondering if there’s something they see, a hitch in his giddyup.
- What might that be? Slow starts to the season and foot speed. He’s improved footspeed, but coach Renney likes guys who can skate well. I don’t really see any other reason to hold him back at this point, not with the guys directly in front of him. The slow starts are something you’d like to see him overcome, maybe come to camp this fall and force his way onto the roster.
- Is he ready? I think so. Hartikainen’s going to have lessons to learn when becoming an NHL regular, but at the minor league level he’s certainly established himself as a consistent player.
- Will he score enough? Great question, that’s why you give him 550 ab’s. Hartikainen has averaged over 20 goals per 82 games so far in the AHL, so there’s talent there. What’s more, of his 31 goals, 17 are at even strength, and his shooting percentage is between 11.75 and 12.8 in his two AHL seasons.
- What role would you like to see him in? There’s a few areas I think he could have a lash. The wingers clearly ahead of him are Hall, Eberle, Smyth (UFA), Hemsky and I’d suggest the Oilers will make every effort to save Paajarvi. So, with Nail also in the picture, Hartikainen might be able to grab a 3line job at times and could certainly be in the mix for 4line employment.
- I don’t understand your math. Who are your regular wingers for 12-13? Okay, if we assume they both sign Smyth and draft Nail, then the 9 wingers are Hall-Eberle, Yakupov-Hemsky, Smyth-Paajarvi, Hartikainen-Jones, Eager. I think Hartikainen has enough talent to move past both Eager and Jones, although both are veterans and have good footspeed.
- What about the enforcer? I think the Oilers will have to choose between the Eager and Hordichuk positions this summer if they ever have a hope of having a legit 4line that doesn’t bleed freely.
- So, just for my own curiosity, who are your 12-13 forwards at the moment? Sure. Nuge, Gagner, Horcoff, Belanger, Lander at center. Hall, Nail, Smyth, Hartikainen, Eager/Hordichuk on LW and then Hemsky, Eberle, Paajarvi and Jones on RW.
- Is he blocked if they sign Smyth? I don’t think he could fill Smyth’s shoes, so no. Hartikainen has to establish himself as an NHL player, but replacing a quality veteran isn’t his next step. He may eventually grow into a useful top 6 winger but we’re jumping a few steps.
- He isn’t a fighter. Yes, I know. Why they keep drafting these hockey players is a complete mystery.
- Don’t be an ass. They need ugly up front. No, they need hockey players everywhere. Hartikainen is a hockey player, and he can hit and be big and isn’t shy about contact. He’s an interesting prospect for this team.
- So he’d knock someone’s block off if they hit Eberle, Jones or the Russian ruble? I think he’d contribute to a scrum, but he’s not Lucic 2.0.
- How many hits did he have? No idea. The hits stat is not accurate and doesn’t measure effectiveness in any useful way. It’s like counting the number of seconds to the bench after the player decides to make a line change. Actually, that would be a more useful stat than hits.
- Well, the answer is 36 hits in 17 games. Is that good?
- Well it’s better than Ryan Jones. Is he the Gretzky of this stat? I honestly don’t know. Does the NHL have a “hits per game” or “hits per 60″ stat?
- No. Okay, who leads the league in hits?
- Matt Martin. Who?
- Let’s move on. Would you seriously take him over Jones? I think there are good reasons to believe Hartikainen would be a better match for the young cluster. He’s bigger, their offense appears to be about equal now and the Finn will probably push his 5×5/60 as he gets established.
- What role is his outer marker? 20+ goals while providing a physical element on the wing, playing with the skilled men and getting some PP time where he goes to the net and blocks out the sun.
- So, Ryan Smyth 2.0? I think people underrate Ryan Smyth, that guy has tremendous ability that gets credited to grit or hard work. Sure, he has those things but Ryan Smyth is an outstanding talent. I don’t think we can assume Hartikainen or anyone on or near the current roster can replace or duplicate it anytime soon.
- But Hartikainen is an option for some of the things Smyth does for a team. Certainly, and Smyth would likely be a wonderful mentor if the two played an entire season on the same team.
NHL Prediction for 11-12: 45, 7-8-15 (.333)
Actual 2011: 17, 2-3-5 (.294)