Photos courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved. I’m not sure when Oilers Nation became devout fans of the Finns, but surely it was around the time Risto Siltanen missed the net by a mile. Or maybe Jari Kurri’s glorious rookie season, or maybe we waited until the apostle Esa arrived from the Tower of Babel.
Either way, for the last 30+ seasons a Finnish prospect drafted by the Edmonton Oilers excites the fanbase like catnip at a feline convention.
Its early but our guy is playing with skilled men and posting nice numbers:
- October 2010: 12, 4-1-5 (.417ppg)
- October 2011: 9, 4-3-7 (.777ppg)
- October 2012: 4, 1-3-4 (1.00ppg)
By my count, none of the numbers this season have come via special teams, which means all 4 points are at even strength. Lets have a look at EV offense from the “big 6″ young men in OKC so far this season:
- Teemu Hartikainen 4, 1-3-4 1.00ppg
- Ryan Martindale 3, 0-3-3 1.00ppg
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 4, 0-2-2 .500ppg
- Tyler Pitlick 4, 0-2-2 .500ppg
- Jordan Eberle 4, 1-0-1 .250ppg
- Magnus Paajarvi 4, 1-0-1 .250ppg
Only one powerplay point from the top 6F so far, and that an assist for MP on a goal by Mark Arcobello.
Jonathan Willis had a nice read on Hartikainen’s early season in OKC in an EJ article the other day:
- Jonathan Willis: After two games of Magnus Paajarvi on the top line, and one period of Josh Green, Teemu Hartikainen finally got a shot at playing with Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins and he made the most of it. His goal was a case of going to the right spot and finishing off a beauty pass, but he looked good otherwise too – he created chaos in the crease and added a physical presence to the line. Missed chunks of the second and third with what were reported as equipment problems.
I’m sure the Oilers would like to see progress with all of their young wingers on the farm during this time when the gifted kids take a detour. Having said that, it makes sense that both Hartikainen and Paajarvi get a little push–Hartikainen because he does have some of the elements we associate with a powerforward, and Paajarvi because the organization (correctly) can’t allow a top 10 selection to fail without making every effort to save it.
Its early, but now is the time for Hartikainen to seize the day. He’s in the final year of his entry deal, is averaging 21.6 goals per 82 AHL games and has many of the skills Oiler management is searching to add when the lunacy ends.
The young man has put himself in a pretty good position. This season is going to be a massive tell for him and the other men vying to play alongside Hall, Ebs, the Nuge, the Yak, Hemsky and Gagner.