About 5.4 million people live in Finland, and at some level Oiler fans are probably connected to all of them. From Risto Siltanen to Matti Hagman to Jari Kurri to Esa Tikkanen to Raimo Summanen to Reijo Ruotsalainen to Janne Niinimaa to Jani Rita to Tony Salmelainen to Jussi Markanen to Joni Pitkanen to Lennart Petrell to Teemu Hartikainen and to the next, we Oiler fans have loved our Finns like they were our own. And those boys paid with their blood, sweat, tears, bones and cartilage, finding their way into our hearts with their character, talent and grit. I do not think it’s a stretch to suggest that Oiler fans don’t completely believe in an Oiler team without a Finn: we’ve never won a damn thing without a son of Finland pulling from our side.
NHL TOTAL PLAYERS/FINISH PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL
- 2012 NHL draft–211 total players, 9 from Finland
- 2011 NHL draft, 211 total players, 10 from Finland
- 2010 NHL draft 210 total players, 7 from Finland
- 2009 NHL draft, 211 total players, 7 from Finland
- 2008 NHL draft, 211 total players, 6 from Finland
- FINAL TALLY: 1054 total players, 39 from Finland
- PERCENTAGE: 3.7%
OILERS TOTAL PLAYERS/FINLAND PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL
- 2012 NHL draft–7 total players, 0 from Finland
- 2011 NHL draft–9 total players, 2 from Finland
- 2010 NHL draft–11 total players, 0 from Finland
- 2009 NHL draft–7 total players, 1 from Finland
- 2008 NHL draft–5 total players, 1 from Finland
- FINAL TALLY: 39 total players, 4 from Finland
- PERCENTAGE: 10.2%
The Oilers have drafted a higher than average number of players from Finland over the last 5 years, 10% of their own total and 10% of the entire number of Finns. We just like them pure and simple. The players Edmonton has drafted are Teemu Hartikainen, Toni Rajala, Samu Perhonen and Frans Tuohimaa. The Oilers don’t spend many high picks–Perhonen was in the top 100–and they have had some success (Hartikainen covered his draft number, Rajala may as well).
The Finns remain part of the Oiler draft map:
- WHL 11
- OHL 5
- Sweden 5
- Finland 4
- QMJHL 3
TOP PLAYERS FROM FINLAND, 2013 DRAFT
- C Sasha Barkov: Size, across the board skills and he’s playing in a pro league.
- D Rasmus Ristolainen: I stubbornly believe he’s the second best D option.
- L Artturi Lehkonen: Finland produces an outstanding skill W who could be underrated at this number.
- L Juuso Ikonen: Small, ridiculous skill and an elite passer.
- C Miro Aaltonen: 20 year old C with great skill. Undersized.
- G Juuse Saros: Impressive goalie.
- C Aleksi Mustonen Imp forward, skilled.
Strong at the top but not a lot of sustain.