Issue 2: Hartikainen’s Progress

Teemu Hartikainen has been knocking on the NHL door for two years now. An NHL team that “talks” about size and grit with skill has a candidate staring them in the face.

The Edmonton Oilers are probably going to spend a lot of money on someone like Jordin Tootoo this summer. We know that the management group in place subscribes to the theory that protection is required and that’s the reason RNH fell into the boards and hurt himself.

I think it’s reasonable to assume the following at this point in time:

  1. The Oilers and Ryan Smyth will hammer out a deal.
  2. The Oilers will find a way to wiggle out of the Eager contract via trade.
  3. The Oilers will be on the lookout for a bottom 6 winger like Tootoo, who will take a job labelled for Paajarvi or Hartikainen.

I have some questions for the group:

  1. Does Hartikainen bring enough skill, size and battle to be considered for an eventual role as a top 6F, or is he destined to be a role player?
  2. Is Hartikainen a better option in 12-13 than Tootoo?
  3. If forced to choose–say a trade is about to happen–would you pick Hartikainen over Paajarvi?
  4. Would you consider it a mistake if the Oilers signed Ryan Smyth but sent back Hartikainen and Paajarvi?

Thanks.

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44 Responses to "Issue 2: Hartikainen’s Progress"

  1. Henry says:

    1. Hartikainen has enough skill etc to play in a poor top 6. He and Paajarvi could play well in a loaded top 9. I would prefer Hartikainen on the 4th line and moving up as he learns how to defend well at the NHL level.

    2. Yes. Tootoo is a wildcard that could distract the team.

    3. No. Paajarvi has too much going for him. He’s a kid that has to learn a few things in the O zone and was put with slumping guys that weren’t going to help him. Hartikanein played on the first line in his showcase. MPS didn’t get the chance there. Why?

    My friend bought a BMW M3, tried it on a race course and turned it sideways cause he didn’t know what he was doing. No real damage, but embarrasing. Then he sold it a month later. The Oilers shouldn’t trade Paajarvi because they botched his second season. They should play him with Smyth and Horcoff.

    4. Yes. Keep all of them unless someone clearly better shows up at camp or Eager becomes a clear deterrent. Didn’t see that happen last year.

  2. Starving_Student says:

    1. Harski has enough skill and size to be a top 6, but is probably more suited for top 9 work. I don’t see why he can’t follow the same career path and Johan Franzen and start out in a bottom 6 role and earn his stripes the traditional way.

    2. Depends. If Tootoo can get back to his pest ways and draw penalties, he may be more valuable at this moment than Hartikainen. The way the Oilers PP was clicking this year, I want every chance they can get.

    3. Again depends. Who are you drafting this year? If Yakupov than yes. Paajarvi has enough speed but just doesn’t use his size enough. We need someone in the top 9 who’s not afraid to lean opponents. If not Yakupov, no. Magnus still has top 6 value.

    4. Yes if it meant sending back both. No if it meant sending back one of them.

  3. Jesse says:

    1. I think that I would like to eventually see PRV and Hartikainen maybe be interchangeable in either the 2 or 3 line LW spot. I think hartikainen has enough offensive upside to warrant occasional time in the top 6, and Magnus certainly has enough defensive acumen to be able to alot into the 3 line role. If they need to change up the lines that’s a good oscillation.

    2. I’m not sure. I sure hope that 56 would be a better option than tootoo by 13-14, and if a tootoo signing screws that up I’m not sure if it’s worth it at this stage of the rebuild.

    3. This is tough because it’s definitely. It easy to find 56′s player type — people are always talking about how this is exactly what the oilers need — but offense is always harder to find, and despite the tough year for PRV this year I think his offensive upside is significantly higher than hartikainens.

    4. I think it depends on what role Smyth plays, but I feel like if PRV and/or harski are given a legitimate chance in top six roles (especially considering what the first half of the season could look like for Hall) then I don’t have a problem with a Smyth resigning.

  4. LMHF#1 says:

    1 – Yes. Eventual “top six” creating room for everyone else, winning pucks in the corners and finishing when given the chance.

    2 – I’m thinking this is not a serious question, but instead a barb at management’s approach to the issue, as well as those who believe you need a pack of goons. The obvious answer is that yes, Hartikainen and probably at least 100 players from the AHL are a better option than the moron from Nashville.

    3 – Keep Hartikainen all the way.

    4 – I don’t see that as a realistic scenario given a new coach who will likely see that guys such as Jones, Belanger, Eager and Petrell would be worse options than #s 56 and 91.

  5. Jonathan Willis says:

    Great line about RNH.

    1. If I’m betting, I say role player. The door is by no means closed to a higher role, but looking at his AHL-level offense I have real doubts he’ll make the leap.

    2. Depends on what kind of year Tootoo has. Tootoo’s not really a bad fourth-liner and if he has a good year drawing penalties, I’d say no. Of course, Hartikainen’s in-house, cheaper, and has better upside, so if it’s a straight up choice between the two… ah, who am I kidding. I like having depth; Harti as 1st call-up and Tootoo in the lineup is better than Hartikainen in the lineup and Vande Velde (say) as first call-up.

    3. No.

    4. Depends. Does Lander make the team?

  6. oilswell says:

    1. Role player. Not a scout, but he seems too slow (both meanings) for a lot of tough minutes, and I can’t see him bringing a lot of offense. Hopefully he’ll be able to stop the bleeding on the Oilers’ knuckle-dragger line.

    2. It might be close.

    3. No.

    4. No. Smyth probably is still a good bet to be better than both, and the AHL will not hurt either.

  7. Traktor says:

    Trade Hemsky and Gagner for D.

    Promote MPS and Harty.

    Sign Tootoo and shed Horty.

    Waive/trade/buy-out Horcoff and Belanger.

  8. fuzzy muppet says:

    1. Skating is a big issue. I don’t think he can handle a top 6 role. If Sutter is brought in, he likes a pressure forecheck. I remember a quote of his while coaching NJ: Something to the effect that forwards should always be skating forwards, not backwards. This may effect Harti’s ability to crack the lineup.

    2. Bringing in someone willing to lay the body time after time is a must(i’d like a move for a guy like Chris Stewart if possible). The Oiler’s are easy to play against and have been for years.

    3. No

    4. i’m Torn. Smyth is pretty much done. he’s good for about 30 games and then the bottom falls out. It’s happened 2 straight years. That said, he is more capable than Hartikainen and Paarjarvi at this point.

    Unless Tambo actively tries to make this team better in a hurry this off-season, this team’s got another bottom 5 finish written all over it.

  9. fuzzy muppet says:

    Traktor:
    Trade Hemsky and Gagner for D.

    Promote MPS and Harty.

    Sign Tootoo and shed Horty.

    Waive/trade/buy-out Horcoff and Belanger.

    If you trade Gagner and waive Horcoff, who the hell is going to play Center?? This team has 1 prospect at that position. They pretty much must keep Gagner at this point.

  10. Ducey says:

    I’d like to see the Oilers leave camp without any of Pitlick, MPS, Lander, or Hartikanen on the roster. I’d let them simmer in the AHL for most of another season. Hopefully they (along with Hamilton) kick out the jambs there and force their way onto the roster in case of injury or at the trade deadline.

    I’d have VDV (who has to clear waivers) as the 4th C and get someone useful to be the winger on that line with Eager/Jones. I don’t think that guy would be named Tootoo. Someone who can PK, move up and down the lineup, fight, and hit would be swell.

    I couldn’t care if they signed Smyth or not.

  11. bsmart says:

    Tootoo is a definite improvement on hordichuk. I like having some toughness in the lineup and tootoo can still play the game.

    Some hits need to be thrown and stirring the pot is a good thing. If we have no fight back and the kida are getting run over, the fans will be clamouring. IMO Hartikainen will not provide this.

  12. stevezie says:

    1. Well Hartikainen’s looked good, but he hasn’t actuall delivered an big league offense. I have no problem starting him in the bottom six and telling him to work his way up.
    2. I’m with JW, depth is a strength. I have no problem signing Tootoo and having him battle Hartikainen for ice time. Tootoo is coming of a career best season, Hartikainen has five career goals. As long as Tootoo’s contract is benchable if Harty lights it up, we’re better off hedging that bet.
    3. No. Harty look dynamite on the boards but Paajarvi has more raw tools.
    4. No. Signing Smyth is a good idea; loading up on NHLers is a good idea. If PRV and Harts are the real deal we will find a way to get them on the team, won’t we? I don’t see the wisdom in positioning ourselves so that if PRV and Harts don’t deliver in a way they never have before we’re screwed. I’d rather have the problem that one or both is surprisingly good and we now have to give away a vetern. One problem kills us, the other helps.

    fuzzy muppet,

    I think we could pick up Chris Stewart on the cheap, and I think he would be perfect, as long as we don’t trade so much that we’re screwed if he is nothing more than a bottom six banger. Teams have have regretted counting on Chris Stewart in the past, but if he can be put in the position to succeed as a complimentary role than he a Cars song.

  13. Traktor says:

    fuzzy muppet: If you trade Gagner and waive Horcoff, who the hell is going to play Center??This team has 1 prospect at that position. They pretty much must keep Gagner at this point.

    I don’t see it that way. Right now our center position is lagging with or without the current players. I think we could find a player via waivers that could put up Gagner’s numbers if we gave him the same opportunity.

    I think Vande Velde and Lander can both play center on the 4th line. Ryan Smyth has played center for us before and he could play that 3rd line role. Both MPS and Hall could likely play center for us as well and I think Eberle has played center in junior as well. Lots of options. I would love to trade for someone like Ott or Dubinsky though.

    I think that Hunter Tremblay is the new Pisani as well.

    BTW Forsberg ranked #2 by ISS today. Lowetide doesn’t seem to be giving him any mentions at all but Button says that he can play center and compared his game to Shanny. Forsberg would hit 2 birds with 1 stone if he is Landeskog type.

  14. Ducey says:

    May ISS:

    1. Nail Yakupov
    2. Filip Forsberg
    3. Ryan Murray
    4. Mikhail Grigorenko
    5. Jacob Trouba
    6. Matt Dumba
    7. Morgan Rielly
    8. Teuvo Teravainen
    9. Cody Ceci
    10. Griffin Reinhart

    Murray up a spot. Grigorenko down one.

  15. Ducey says:

    I don’t see it that way. Right now our center position is lagging with or without the current players. I think we could find a player via waivers that could put up Gagner’s numbers if we gave him the same opportunity.

    I think you are outsmarting yourself on that one.

  16. Gerta Rauss says:

    Galchenyuk #14 on that list. I’d like to see the Oilers try to get another pick in the first round…see if they can turn our 2nd round pick into something in the mid teens. With the volatility in this years draft there could be some real steals outside the top 10.

  17. VOR says:

    1. I think Hartikainen can be a top six player because he can score inside which is a talent the Oilers desperately need. I can see him starting on the fourth line with the odd shift with RNH and Eberle. Run him out on the power play to stand in front of the net. If he has true top six potential it will be clear quite quickly.
    2. Comparing Tootoo and Teemu is apples to oranges. I’d take Hartikainen every time but it is a stylistic choice. I prefer guys’ with focus over loose canons.
    3. I’d trade Hartikainen, we know far more about what he will be than we do about Pajaarvi’s long term future. He is a banger with hands who has worked like a demon on his skating and scores by going to the hard areas. That is what Hartikainen will always be. Pajaarvi on the other hand keeps looking like he has no offense until he skates on bigger ice where he is deadly. Guys who thrive in open ice sometimes figure out how to make it work in the NHL. Trading Pajaarvi carries the risk of not getting adequate return on a player who ultimately lives up to his very large potential.
    4. I don’t think it is a problem keeping Smyth as long as whoever is coaching understands they can’t ride him hard and put him away wet. Make the kids earn their spot by beating him out. Just make sure the coach understands that it is all right to press box Smyth even if he is hard working, a legend, and making $3.5 Million.

  18. stevezie says:

    Traktor,

    I love Forsberg’s scouting reports but am having a hard time getting past his numbers. People complain we should never have taken PRV at #10 because of his scoring, and now Forsberg is going to go number 2?
    I’ve never watched the kid play so I don’t want to spend too much time setting myself up to look stupid if he succeeds, but in the words of Billy Beane, “If he’s so good at hitting, how come he don’t hit good?”

  19. VOR says:

    Traktor,

    You actually just said that we could replace Gagner with somebody on waivers.

    In free agency there are a total of two centers who can outscore him. Wellwood and Jokinen. Only Jokinen can do it while playing tough competition. Gagner is in the top 50 centers in the NHL in offense while playing 2C minutes, not 3C. He is also still very young and already holding his own against top 60 competition. In fact, he is becoming a first class 2C. Very hard to replace at all never mind with a center off waivers.

    Please provide one example of a center taken off waivers who has outscored Gagner during Sam’s years in the NHL. So then you are going to trade for Ott to replace him. Please feel free to compare their Relative Corsi, points per 60, and then show us all how that makes the Oilers a better team. As for Dubinsky he is not exactly seeing the ice a lot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

  20. Traktor says:

    VOR:
    Traktor,

    You actually just said that we could replace Gagner with somebody on waivers.

    In free agency there are a total of two centers who can outscore him.

    How many of those free agents played the same role as Gagner? That’s the key.

    How many points would Gagner produce on the 4th line with no PP time?

    You can’t look at production without assessing the role and opportunity. Gagner’s production given his opportunity is mediocre at best.

    127 players scored 45+ points last year but that doesn’t mean there is only 127 player capable of producing that number. Most of the 127 bring more to the table than Gagner as well.

    Ryan Potulny would produce Gagner’s numbers given the same role. Hell, he put up 0.5 PPG for us before with less opportunity than Gagner is accustomed to.

    Not that I want to build a team with Potulny as my 2nd line center but you can find 40 point scorer in every garbage bin if give them the opportunity to do so.

  21. Traktor says:

    TJ Hensick is another player that could put up 40 points with top 6 opportunity and PP time.

    You deal Gagner for the equivalent of Gagner on D and them replace Gagner with Hensick and you are a better team. You lose nothing at center and gain something on D.

    Again, I don’t want to build a team with Hensick as my #2 center but I think I could replace Gagner’s production rather easily.

    Yes, Gagner is still young, which is exactly why Edmonton could get a decent return for him.

  22. VOR says:

    Traktor,

    I am not sure what mythical role it is you think Gagner played last year.

    He was 49th in Total Time on Ice amongst centers. He was 45th in TOI on the PP and he was 41st at ESTOI.

    He was 34th in even strength scoring, 44th in power play scoring, and 39th overall. He was all top fifty in relative corsi.

    In other words he out performed expectations for his “role”. You want to replace him with guys you think can do that. Well none of them ever has and so we are just supposed to trust your crystal ball and replace an outplayer who exceeds expactations with an unknown.

    Brilliant asset management.

  23. Traktor says:

    Vor:

    Trading Gagner for the equivalent of Gagner on D is not poor asset management. Hypothetically it shouldn’t make us a worse team. Given that most people around here think our D is the biggest weakness there would actually be a greater chance of us improving.

    I’ve already shown you that Ryan Potulny chipped in with 0.5 points per game for us (32 in 64) with less opportunity than Gagner normally receives so I stand by my assumption that finding a 40 point scorer would be easy. As said before, opportunity is key.

    Again, we improve on D without taking a big hit at center.

    Brilliant asset management indeed.

  24. Traktor says:

    Matt Moulson – 3 time 30 goal scorer – waivers
    Michael Grabner – 54 goals the past 2 years – waivers
    PA Parenteau -67 points this year – waivers

    None of these players are special but because the Islanders were so bad they were put in a position that they wouldn’t have received on most teams.

    They key is opportunity.

  25. bendelson says:

    After a successful campaign working under the Trotz game plan, has Tootoo proven himself to be a ‘real hockey player’? If the answer is yes, then subtracting Eager and Hordichul and adding Tootoo could be considered a small improvement.

    Similarly, by subtracting Barker and Peckham and replacing with Methot could be considered a reasonable move.

    Do these moves drastically improve the team? No. But it does likely add two ‘real hockey players’ to the lineup.

    Assuming Yak is the pick and we somehow add Schultz into the mix, thats not a bad summer.
    Two impressive looking rookies and a couple of role players hopefully willing to play to their strengths.

  26. bookje says:

    Interesting series of events.

    1. Steve Smith offers $200 to whomever can show how Schultz is a UFA in the CBA.
    2. Many attempts put forth and Steve pops up quickly to refute.
    3. Gotdot pretty much figures it out and I add some clarity and/or further the argument – it seems like a solid ‘win’
    4. Steve Smith has not been heard from since – 2 days – his longest period of time not commenting on LT’s site in two decades.

    I think we got a runner – send out the Sandmen!

  27. Moosemess says:

    The questions seem loaded LT and I don’t know that the procurement decisions need to be that complicated. The team finished dead last in the league. They should be adding depth at every position then letting the players fight it out in camp to determine who fits where. That should be job 1 in the rebuild, as opposed to mgmt assuming that all the birds they have in hand will magically mature when needed. Isn’t that the mindset that got the club in trouble in the first place?

    Sometimes it seems as if Oiler fans (and possibly mgmt) are far too enamored with prospects and not as nearly enamored as they should be of proven NHLers.

  28. Moosemess says:

    Sorry, second from dead last. Obviously getting too used to being cellar dwellers.

  29. bendelson says:

    bookje,

    Considering he hasnt professed his personal distaste for ‘Bendelson’ after my last few posts I would suggest something is seriously wrong.

    Opportunity lost SS.
    Hope all is well old friend.
    :)

  30. Southern Oil says:

    Anybody seen the little video about the new arena on the Oilers website? WOW – looks impressive.

  31. godot10 says:

    No to Tootoo. Eager has two more years on his contract. It would be moronic to have both of them. Eager is a better player and agitator if used properly. Renney didn’t use him properly.

    If Eager were gone, I would be less opposed to bringing in Tootoo, but I don’t really see the point. The Oilers shouldn’t want to get into cheap shot contests now that they have actual elite talent.

  32. Cactus says:

    4. There’s no mistake in sending MP and Harski to the AHL. By Christmas every season, there’s someone crying about how the Oilers simply don’t have enough depth to sustain themselves over the rigours of 82 games. Granted, this usually pertains to the defence, but the same problem potentially exists for the forwards. Make them earn it.

  33. Rondo says:

    How is it with all these rankings in the draft, how do players move up and down without playing for weeks?

    http://nhlnumbers.com/2012/5/16/2012-nhl-draft-top-100-may-update

  34. Woodguy says:

    Traktor,

    You often use +/- to rate players.

    Now you are advocating trading the +/- leader of the Oilers (tied with Sutton)

    Are you now not going to use +/- to rate players any more or does it not matter to you now?

  35. stevezie says:

    bendelson:
    bookje,

    Considering he hasnt professed his personal distaste for ‘Bendelson’ after my last few posts I would suggest something is seriously wrong.

    Opportunity lost SS.
    Hope all is well old friend.

    Classic Bendleson.

  36. rickithebear says:

    Woodguy: Are you now not going to use +/- to rate players any more or does it not matter to you now?

    Woodguy your one of my favorites.

    But you are dying on the wrong island!

    +/- is way more accurate than Corsi.

  37. Ryan says:

    Traktor,

    Well, I’m for trading Gagner for a d. The stats missing from VOR’s list are unimportant items like zone starts and qoc. The fact that Gagner doesn’t expend energy pk’ing or hitting combined with the slope given to him means that the Oilers may have unwittingly inflated his value. Trading a player after he’s been juiced with offensive zone starts and the soft parade IS good asset management.

    Oh and there should be a new metric called “slope.”. Just combine zs with qoc / qot.

    As for this blog post, why is the damn interview with Alan interviewing Lowetide missing? :)

    As for Tractore, I don’t thing dumping Belanger is a huge priority. I’m fine with a guy who can win draws and pk as a 4c even if he just had a subpar season. Belanger is not the problem.

    Last I heard Smyth is holding out for a 4 by 2 which is no thanks. Last year many of the numbers guys here were freaking out demanding that Tambo sign Smyth.

    You can have nostalgia or build a winning team, but I’m not so sure it’s a good idea to try to do both at the same time.

    Speaking of numbers, the dirty Russian is finished. The buyout cap hit sucks, so just promote him to captain of the okcb. Done.

    As for Harti and svensson, I’d like to see both work on their game in okc next year, hopefully under the tutelage of the dirty Russian, Horcov.

  38. Woodguy says:

    rickithebear: Woodguy your one of my favorites.

    But you are dying on the wrong island!

    +/- is way more accurate than Corsi.

    I will always listen to reasoned arguments.

    A wise man knows what he does not know.

  39. Woodguy says:

    Ryan,

    Last year many of the numbers guys here were freaking out demanding that Tambo sign Smyth.

    You can have nostalgia or build a winning team, but I’m not so sure it’s a good idea to try to do both at the same time.

    Last year his cap hit/salary didn’t matter.

    The Oilers had cap space and Batman owns the team so its like Monopoly money and he fit.

    Going forwards his cap hit is an issue, vis a vi his ice time and production (a.k.a. “Role”)

    Especially since he’s a +35 contract.

    Not a lot of 35+ get offered a multi year contract.

    Unless you are the OIlers and don’t understand the CBA.

    Good thing a new one is coming out, they never understood this one.

  40. Gret99zky says:

    Ryan:
    Traktor,
    Last I heard Smyth is holding out for a 4 by 2 which is no thanks.

    Is that 4 years @ $2M or $4M @ 2 years?

    Either way I say no thanks.

    Smyth has made his millions and is at an age where one year deals only should be offered.

  41. Ryan says:

    Woodguy,

    I do get that. But it does create a bit of a situation. Kind of like a guy who has a one night stand with a woman who wants to be in a relationship with him. When he wakes up the next day,He either says thanks for the good time and leaves or he feels guilty and gets trapped in a relationship. Either way, it was fun but never ends well.

  42. Woodguy says:

    Ryan,

    That guy doesn’t know how to say no then.

    Its very liberating.

  43. Ribs says:

    1. Does Hartikainen bring enough skill, size and battle to be considered for an eventual role as a top 6F, or is he destined to be a role player?

    Only he if he finds a way to crash the net the way that he crashes everything else. Bangers don’t usually get past the third line unless they can either score the odd goal ala Bad Ryan Jones or crash the net and have an affinity for tip-ins/rebounds ala Ryan Smyth.

    Is Hartikainen a better option in 12-13 than Tootoo?

    If it’s a rebuild year it couldn’t hurt to play him. If it isn’t, I can’t really say. I haven’t watched enough of Tootoo to figure out his (in)consistencies.

    If forced to choose–say a trade is about to happen–would you pick Hartikainen over Paajarvi?
    Paajarvi. Not even close.

    Would you consider it a mistake if the Oilers signed Ryan Smyth but sent back Hartikainen and Paajarvi?

    Not at all. Both could still use some seasoning. Isn’t that how the Red Wings do it?

  44. Oilertown says:

    Holy Crap what were the questions

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