One of the unusual Craig MacTavish transaction trades a year ago involved two Finns. The Oilers turned their back on Teemu Hartikainen, rumored to be unwilling to provide a one-way deal like Anton Lander earned this summer. At the same time, the club handed a two-year deal to a guy who looked like a lesser player—Jesse Joensuu. One year later? It looks as unusual as it seemed.
JESSE JOENSUU 13-14
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.65 (12th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 2.91 (6th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 11th toughest faced among regular forwards (fourth line)
- Qual Team: 9th best available teammates among regular forwards (third-fourth line)
- Corsi Rel: -.2 (10th best among regular forwards)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 43.8
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -0.3
- Zone Start: 32.2% (3rd toughest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 45% (9th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 41/7.3% (9th among F’s >40 shots)
- Boxcars: 42, 3-2-5
RE 13-14 REVIEW
||JESSE JOENSUU RE 13-14
||JESSE JOENSUU ACTUAL 13-14
RE 14-15 PREVIEW
||JESSE JOENSUU RE 14-15
- You’re trading him? I’m guessing the Oilers will find different options for the 4line role. He may be dealt, or sent to OKC. I don’t see Joensuu as likely to be that guy on the 4line helping with the tough zones starts. If he is, the offense I’ve projected for him is about right—although he’d clearly play in more games.
- You don’t give him much slack for the crappy zone start. Boyd Gordon had more severe zs’s and scored more than 20 points. Gordon had a 20% ZS and scored 0.93/60 5×5, so I think we’d have every right to expect more from Joensuu—his line wasn’t facing tough opps. Joensuu was not a good hockey player in the 2013-14 season, and he won’t be playing ahead of Hall-Eberle, Perron-Purcell, Pouliot-Yakupov.
- Was there ever a time when he looked good? Start of the season, for sure. There were postgame moments. Eakins: “He feels that ice in front of the net is his and nobody else’s. Dustin is a big man and for Jesse to push him back is a great sign. I just think Jesse was around the net. Pushing Byfuglien back a few feet was impressive, though. He’s a big man.”
- What do teams see in him? Over to you, Doug Weight. “Very big kid, he will take the puck to the net; he’s going to compete. He came in and played a game in the playoffs for us and really competed, he played physical and he’s a big Finnish kid that’s going to score some goals around the net. You mix him with, I mean obviously the list of your talent up front is ridiculous with RNH and Eberle and Hall and Sam [Gagner] and now David Perron; you guys got so many guys, it’s crazy. He’ll be able to fit in there and be able to contribute.”
- But he never did. No. Injuries and then long stretches where he didn’t do a damn thing.
- We love the Finns. LOVE the Finns.
- How long have the Oilers been looking for a big winger as a solution? They were on the lookout for a Perron forever, and a Joensuu almost as long. In 08-09, MacT had Dustin Penner, Erik Cole, Ethan Moreau, and then guys like Stortini in secondary roles. In 09-10, Pat Quinn had Penner again but added (in a feature role) JF Jacques and Ryan Stone. Tom Renney came in for 10-11 and ignored it—and that was smart based on the available options—and then in 2011-12 Steve Tambellini gifted him Ben Eager.
- What about Ralph? Ralph Krueger decided Teemu Hartikainen was the guy. He played 16 games in January and February, but wasn’t putting together anything resembling offense, and it was down the road.
- Is Joensuu a better hockey player than Teemu Hartikainen? I don’t believe there’s evidence proving it.
- Do their NHL career stats compare? At this point, Hartikainen’s boxcars (52GP, 6-7-13 .250) are superior to Joensuu’s (109GP, 11-9-20 .183).
- Why didn’t they like Harski? Either he wasn’t in shape, he didn’t play with the aggression the Oilers wanted him to, he didn’t skate well enough to project forward or he had an attitude problem.
- Back to Joensuu. Why did you put so many wingers in front of him? Well, the guys mentioned above (Hall-Eberle, Perron-Purcell, Pouliot-Yakupov) are clearly better hockey players. I have Lander in front of him because he is going to be the utility forward—the Casey Candaele—and Gazdic is the enforcer. I also have Pitlick in front of Joensuu because he showed some things this past season and is a natural RW. I could be wrong on Joensuu, maybe he’ll come in and storm the beaches. There’s not a lot of room for him as a regular though, and I think the at-bats get chopped up.
- What did you think he’d be last season? You’re up, Tom Benjamin: It is very difficult to score off an offensive zone cycle without getting a player to the front of the net. That is a hockey truism that is not a myth.
- But he never got going? Nope. He was more J-F Jacques than Dustin Penner. Important role, but Joensuu did not fill it.
- He was okay 5×4. Well, 2.91 5×4/60 was good for second power play duty, but you’d like your screen to be more impactful.
- And the Corgis? Well, we do have to factor in the zone starts and linemates there. By the way, his pre-season Corsi was very good.
- Maybe you’re wrong about this RE. We’ll see. I think he had an enormous chance a year ago, but Perron and Purcell have taken his seat in the fast cars. He can work for a punishing defensive role, but that’s not his forte. It’s another Ryan Jones situation.
- This is the last forward? Last forward.
- When do we start the blue? Uh, some time this week. I usually take a day or two to address all the major happenings in Oilers Nation since the start of the RE.
- So, the RE continues tomorrow? Probably.
- Why this song? A couple of reasons. Like Amelia, I wanted you to hear it because maybe you haven’t and you really should. Mitchell has been so prolific in her career there’s no way to get all of the good ones in, so we’ll sample and this is a very impressive song.
- And why for Joensuu? It’s kind of a bookend song, a choice song, giving up something others value for something you value more. And I think it fits with Joensuu and Hartikainen—because they’re bookends, because they made choices, because we may (as a group) feel one is a fool and the other so right in his path. And we may be hopelessly wrong because we know so little about either.