Teemu Hartikainen has traction in his efforts to win a job as an NHL regular, so an injury at this point is entirely unwelcome. Coach Ralph Krueger was not ruling Harski out for tomorrow night’s game against the LAK, but the big Finn missed a lot of Saturday night’s game after being hit by Colorado’s Patrick Bordeleau in the 2nd period (shoulder). Hartikainen’s injury is just one item that could impact the Tuesday lineup:
- Ryan Jones is very close to returning from his eye injury.
- Lennart Petrell–who was struck in the temple during warmup Saturday night–is a concussion worry.
- Theo Peckham’s rehab is either done or done soon.
The timing is poor for Hartikainen who was getting 10.5 minutes a night and some special teams opportunities. Time away may allow veteran Ryan Smyth or Jones to grab his position, and Hartikainen has not established himself as an NHL player. He’s been physical (leads Oilers forwards with 16 hits) and has posted a couple of assists in the first 14 games.
Petrell’s injury allowed Magnus Paajarvi to draw into the lineup, and he ended up scoring the game winner in a classic ‘Black Ace Makes Good’ story. Paajarvi is about where Hartikainen is–in the NHL but not established in the NHL–and helped his cause with his second game winner of the season while also matching his goal total for all of last season (2).
Ryan Jones’ return will require a transaction, the roster looks like this currently:
- Goalies (2): Devan Dubnyk, Nikolai Kabibulin
- Defense (8): Ladislav Smid, Jeff Petry, Nick Schultz, Justin Schultz, Ryan Whitney, Corey Potter, Mark Fistric, Theo Peckham
- Center (4): Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner, Eric Belanger, Chris VandeVelde
- Left Wing (5): Taylor Hall, Ryan Smyth, Nail Yakupov, Teemu Hartikainen, Ben Eager
- Right Wing (4): Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky, Magnus Paajarvi, Lennart Petrell
In order to get Jones onto the roster, Edmonton will have to IR someone (Petrell unlikely, Hartikainen unknown), send someone down (very few candidates, VandeVelde, Hartikainen and Paajarvi the obvious ones) or send away someone (Peckham or Whitney possible).
We should find out some of this today.