Teemu Hartikainen is at the end of his entry level contract and is waiver eligible. Has he done enough to warrant an NHL job? Is he destined for yet another season in the AHL, or is there evidence he can play in the NHL?

 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

Teemu Hartikainen 12-13

  • 5×5 points per 60: nil
  • 5×4 points per 60: 3.91 (6th among regular forwards)
  • Qual Comp: easiest faced among regular forwards
  • Qual Team: 13th best available teammates among regular forwards
  • Corsi Rel: +0.1 (5th best among regular forwards) (-7.95 CorsiON)
  • Zone Start: 41.5% (13th easiest/3rd toughest among forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 51.8% (5th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 21/4.76% (11th best among F’s>20 shots)
  • Boxcars: 23, 1-2-3
  • Plus Minus: -8 on a team that was -15
  1. What do these numbers tell us? Hartikainen’s offense came via the PP, his even strength total (zero) was disappointing. He did have a nice CorsiRel (in the black, not many of those), but was -8 because THERE WERE NO EVEN STRENGTH GOALS FOR WHILE HE WAS ON THE ICE!
  2. WHAT? I know! It’s crazy, one of the weirdest stats I’ve ever seen. In 196 even strength minutes this season he was 0GF and 8GA–and this despite a Corsi chance total of 153-178! (source is here).
  3. Is this something he’s done in the past? No. Last season his Corsi chance totals were 173-228 and he was 9GF and 8GA in 221 EV minutes. That’s a ridiculous item and the timing couldn’t be worse.
  4. Why? New GM coming in, coach having just seen very little result and of course there’s a desire to turn over the bottom half of the roster. Bad, bad timing.
  5. MacT and Krueger will see through that. Well, they are tracking scoring chances but the GM quotes (like this one: “in today’s NHL, even marginally, you have to be a threat to score”) suggest that Hartikainen’s EV season was at the very least ill timed.
  6. But it was bad luck! Here’s a thing I know: Whether it is hockey, baseball, football or any major sport, when a poor team loses and loses the chances of survival are not great for the support group. The Oilers since 2006 fall have been fertile ground for the end of NHL careers: Robert Nilsson, Zack Stortini, Marc Pouliot, JF Jacques, Liam Reddox, Taylor Chorney, Ryan Potulny, it’s a long list. Some of these guys got a cup of coffee elsewhere, but the bottom line is this: NHL teams do not pursue role players from pitiful, losing teams.
  7. Do you still like him? Absolutely, believe in this guy and his ability to fill a role. The Oilers want him to be more physical, and the offense is a concern  (Teemu Hartikainen has played about 595 minutes of even strength NHL hockey over three seasons and is 4-4-8 during that time). I think he deserves a full season on the 4line and a chance to get into the PP now and then.
  8. Is there a pulse on the PP? Yes. In his three NHL seasons, Hartikainen has played 78 minutes with the man advantage and manufactured 2-3-5. That’s 3.85/60 with the man advantage–not an outstanding number but then again we’re talking about just over an hour and likely most of it spent on the 2PP. Ryan Smyth has apparently been working with Harski on standing in front of the net, and that may be his ticket to NHL regular status.
  9. Among the bottom 6F’s, who would you keep? If the top 6 is Nuge-Hall-Eberle; Gagner-Stalberg-Yakupov (and Hemsky is sent away), then my bottom 6 forwards would include Horcoff, Smyth, Paajarvi, Hartikainen. I think MacT will add two centermen to that group–he likes to give the coach plenty of options–so we’d be looking at those 12 plus a 13 and 14F–one of which might be Mike Brown.
  10. So, you think MacT will add Stalberg and TWO centers? Yes. A pure center for the 4line and then a Rem Murray type who can play center or wing. If you look back through MacT’s coaching career (and Louise reminded me of this) the 4line often had two centers (Kilger, Zholtok, Pittis in his first year were all depth guys who could play C, and in 2006 spring he had the following guys who could play C: Horcoff, Stoll, Peca, Rem Murray and guys like Reasoner and Pouliot during the season).
  11. Maybe Hartikainen can play center? If it’s going to happen it’ll be this fall (same as Hall). MacT converted Ryan Smyth and Fernando Pisani at times to center, suspect that’ll be in the conversation with a few guys in training camp.
  12. Would that help? Anything that makes him more valuable to the coach, to give him a wider range of skills, will help.
  13. Why did they send Hartikainen down before the end of the season? He got sent down two games before the end of the NHL schedule, Krueger saying “He’s trying to figure out what a gritty, strong power forward does and what’s connected to that. What’s important for him is to continue to manage the puck in all three zones.”
  14. Is that code for something? No idea. Was his conditioning poor? Was he losing a lot of battles? Did they want a final look at Jones? Don’t know.
  15. How is he doing in OKC? He’s tied for 7th in AHL playoff points. Hartikainen is a very good AHL player, that’s established. It’s the next step that’s the loo-loo.
  16. Why this song? I chose it because there’s a lot of the things we’d associate with a player in Hartikainen’s position: confusion about his role, about how to prove he can execute the role, doubting oneself, anxiety about what happens next and maybe some resignation that the outcome will not be satisfactory. I also think the final line (“God have mercy on the man, who doubts what he’s sure of”) may apply to Hartikainen.

Photo by Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved

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  1. LMHF#1 says:

    If Teemu could play 3C competently, it would be a bloody miracle for this team. Sadly I can’t see it happening.

    Hope he actually gets his shot to play a reliable shift this coming season. He’s deserved it the last two and been Jonesed and Petrelled out of that chance…which is just wrong.

  2. Lowetide says:

    I had a conversation the other day on Hartikainen and about his career progression. Basically, the discussion was about how he had yet to crack the top 6F since arriving in 2010. I mentioned the following rookie arrivals:

    1. 2010: Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi and Omark
    2. 2011: Nuge
    3. 2012: Yakupov

    That’s a helluva young group, and of course the Oilers had Hemsky, Penner, Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, etc when he arrived too.

    Hartikainen has played 52 NHL games so far. If they give him 50 more this season and it doesn’t work out, then it’s all good and send him down the line. I expect he’ll deliver enough in those games–should he get them–to establish himself.

  3. Hammers says:

    I see him as a 4th line winger with a chance in a year or so to go to a 3rd . It may not be with us but potential is there . Still say McT need the real grit in his top 9 probably top 6 . Hartski & Lander should be on the 4th maybe with Smyth / Brown . The top 9 have to bring it next season .

  4. Ducey says:

    He is pretty tough to get the puck off of when he is down low. Looks like a guy might need some bigger friends who could cycle and bang down low.

    Didn’t initiate enough physical play this year. Needs to rack up 4 hits a game and the occaisional face wash.

    Also needs to go all Ryan Smyth in front of the net.

    He has to clear waivers?

  5. Rondo says:


    Have you read this article regarding Steven Santini. He would be an excellent pick for the Oilers in the second rd from what I have read.


  6. mustang says:

    I think that quote from coach K had something to do with that time he got belted into the boards and there was no push back. Not sure if Harti played again after that. When you get smashed like he did , you should have the desire for pay back. Harti had no response what so ever. He’s a big man and he better start standing up for himself and his team mates or his future in the NHL will probably be over.

  7. Lowetide says:


    Have you read this article regarding Steven Santini.He would be an excellent pickfor the Oilers in the second rd from what I have read.


    Rondo: Yes. Luedeke mentioned him to me awhile back and I’ve read up on him. Agreed, he’d be a very nice addition.

  8. fifthcartel says:

    Not 100% sure about this, but wasn’t Harti drafted as a center? Who knows, maybe he can be that 4C that they could use, while letting Lander marinate in the minors.

  9. speeds says:

    Hartikainen is the kind of guy the Isles might try to sign for a 3-4 years at low money, somewhat before he’s completely established himself and before he’s made a ton of money (see Matt Martin, Andrew MacDonald, Brian Strait).

  10. cabbiesmacker says:

    Glad you’re showing some love to more recent Springsteen albums. I’m probably alone in thinking he’s been better since Tunnel of Love than his earlier compilations. The Rising, and Devils and Dust are just very very good imho. Always loved Springsteen in ballad mode more than full band form.

    Best pleasant surprise was finding the Essential Bruce Springsteen at Costco one day only to discover that my long search for a copy of Missing from the movie the Crossing Guard was on it. That only took 3 years.

    As for Teemu. If he’s the Oiler’s 4th line LW I won’t be disappointed. doesn’t deserve to be higher though.

  11. godot10 says:

    Hartikainen isn’t a centre, and will never be. rant/peeve mode ON: Doesn’t anybody ever watch the player play before proposing to make him a centre? (Hall, Paajarvi, Hartikainen, etc.) rant/peeve mode OFF:

    Hartikainen’s weakness has always been his skating. And he has always been a better offensive player than a defensive player. His strength is cycling. i.e. He is totally unsuited to being a centre because of his skating and defensive abilities, and playing centre would eliminate the only thing that he is superior at (cycling). He now skates well enough to be an above average AHL winger.

    From where Hartikainen started, each step forward now is like climbing the final stretch of Everest…well maybe not quite that. For Hartikainen to transition into an NHL winger, he needs the same two things that he need in the AHL initially. 1) He needs to play with a player who can get the puck up the ice, and 2) He needs to play with at least one player who is strong on supporting the cycle. i.e. He needs to be put in a situation initially ideally suited to his strengths, where he can establish himself, and gain a level of confidence so that he has time to continue to work on his deficiencies (skating and defensive play) or figure out ways to compensate for them at the next level.

    i.e. I’d like to see Paajarvi, Gagner, and Hartikainen as a line. Put Yak with Horcoff, and the big shiny new left wing MacT is going to acquire. I think Gagner will be more effective as a “half-court” player, where he is playing with two guys who get the puck in deep, cycle, and let Gagner’s “big brain” make and improvise plays. At the NHL level, I think Gagner is somewhat miscast playing with rush attackers like Hemsky. Gagner’s strength is give and go passes in a “half-court” cycle game.

    Hemsky and rush type players are also prone to blueline turnovers, which force Gagner to play to much read and react defense. If the other team is attacking off of breaking up a “half-court” Gagner offense, Gagner will and the Oilers will be in a much more structural defensive posture, which helps weaker defensive players like Gagner and Hartikainen.

  12. striatic says:

    Here is how I see Hartikainen fitting into next year’s lineup, after MacT trades the 7th OV.

    D Sedin – H Sedin – Eberle
    Hall – RNH – Yakupov
    PRV – Gagner – Hartikainen
    Smyth – Horcoff – Brown

  13. cabbiesmacker says:

    and let Gagner’s “big brain” make and improvise plays.At the NHL level,

    I think Gagner is somewhat miscast playing with rush attackers like Hemsky.Gagner’s strength is give and go passes in a “half-court” cycle game.

    Gagner’s big brain? Hardeehar. Sorry but smart players don’t do the small brain things he does, nor do they take 7 years learning how to win faceoffs.

    As for him being miscast. I’ll say. As a second line C you meant right?

    BTW….Cory Conacher?? So much for that hypothesis.

  14. asiaoil says:

    The bizarre 5×5 number probably relates to the putrid Qual Team – dude is a complimentary player – and how can you compliment the crap he was stuck with. Seems reasonable given the decent 5×4 numbers obtained while playing with talent. The guy is ready but needs help and not anvils like the Oilers bottom 6 last season.

  15. prairieschooner says:

    How many Big Physical Edgy Skill Players (BPESP) do the Oilers need to add, to not be the small skilled soft team that they are right now?
    We can not keep our house pet dogs around no matter how much we love them.
    We need some scrap yard dogs who we will come to love in a different way

  16. misfit says:

    Hartikainen is an ideal 4th line winger. The problem is, we seem to use our 4th line for a lot of own-zone draws, when they really shouldn’t be out for any. These guys should be sent out when the puck is going north, where they can use their size and physicality to keep the puck in the offensive zone until you can either get a line change or force the opposition to ice the puck, allowing you to get your offensive guys out against a tired opponent. Hartikainen is tailor made for that kind of role on our hockey club. The problem arises when we use our 4th line as a defensive unit, in which Hartikainen simply isn’t suited for.

  17. gogliano says:

    I like Hartikainen but I think he is miscast as anything more than 4th line winger / 12th/13th forward at this point in his career. He is a puck possession cycler who can bang and crash but his work in the defensive zone is subpar and his offense needs some time before it translates.

    We need to fix the bottom six on this squad but i see much easier targets (Jones, Belanger, Petrell, Smithson) than a potential power forward coming out of his 22 year old season. He is the exact kind of guy that you don’t give away in trades — he won’t get you anything in return but he might turn into something really useful.These kinds of players usually don’t show everything they have until a little later in their career.

  18. cc says:

    In the 2010 off-season the BlackHawks identified a 24 year-old as a bottom 6 option and signed him to a 3 year 1.625 million dollar contract. The player covered the bet as an NHL bottom 6 option and is now in line for a nice raise as a UFA. Prior to signing the contract Bickell had 4 points in 16 games and was averaging roughly .5 PPG in the AHL.

    If the Oilers feel that Hartikainen (age 23) is a bottom 6 NHL player they should offer a contract similar to what the Hawks offered Bickell. 3 or 4 years for roughly 600 – 650 K per year. Then hopefully he outplays his contract. It’s a proactive approach.

    Personally, I think he’s at worst a 4th line player that can play on the power play. He’s a useful player.

  19. RickDeckard says:


    As long as Teemu will sign that it is a great deal for the Oilers. Literally no down side.

  20. cc says:


    It might be a bit optimistic signing at that price and term. But essentially that is where I would start the negotiations.

    You could make a case for Hartikainen greater than Bickell. Bickell scored at rates of .47 AHL PPG prior to the contract and .26 PPG in the NHL, whereas Hartikainen scored at a rate of .79 PPG in the AHL the season prior to the contract and .31 PPG in the NHL and he is a year younger. But signing him to a 3 year deal means that he’s essentially an NHL player, unless he craps the bed. Even if he craps the bed, he would still be no cap burden if he was sent to the AHL. So if they could get a deal in the range of 3 years 1.8 – 2.25 it could be a good deal for both sides.

    I wouldn’t go higher than 800K on a long term deal because right now Hartikainen is a replacement level player, where they should be able to find anywhere on the open market.

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