Iiro Pakarinen cut through the Oilers’ prospect hopefuls like a knife through butter. Aggressive, physical, talented, he rose quickly (quickly!) through the organization, making it all the way to the NHL before we knew how to pronounce his name.
RE 14-15: 7GP, 0-1-1
ACTUAL 14-15: 17GP, 1-2-3
- You liked him from the start. I liked that his scouting report (size, skill) and the fact he was pretty young and had a chance to help the team.
- Was he a better bet than the usual free-agent Euro’s? Yes, I think so, mostly due to age. Pakarinen was 23 and like an extra 2011 draft pick coming in to help. I think most fans like that kind of bet.
- He was an impact player in the AHL. Oh yeah, absolutely ripped it up in the minors and became a big story early in the season. In his first six AHL games, he went 5-3-8 and got everyone’s attention.
- And a recall to the NHL. Yes. Scored a goal too. “I don’t even remember. I was a little bit shocked. It was so fast of a situation. I jumped on the ice and the rebound was there and I tried to shoot as hard as I can.” Source
- Did he do enough to make you forget Lennart Petrell? Nothing will allow me to forget Lennart Petrell.
- Man, he was something. It was a ginger time.
- What are we dealing with here? A sturdy winger (6.01, 205) who can play a rugged game. Has enough skill to play with good forwards but not so much skill that he’d be a waste as a checker. A game rooster. Speed, toughness and attention span don’t seem to be an issue.
- But injury might. He suffered a knee sprain and missed the last 19 games of the season but I don’t think we’re dealing with an injury prone player in Pakarinen.
- What could derail this season’s progress? The obvious one is a new coach, but that cuts both ways. He might impress McLellan on tape this summer or live in the fall.
- Oilers coaches don’t watch tape in the summer. Well, I’m not sure what Todd McLellan will do to ready himself but he’ll be familiar with Pakarinen’s skill set by the fall.
- What job will he be applying for? Depth winger, it could be anywhere from 3L to 14F.
- Who does he have to beat? The roster is going to have a different look in the fall and their are rfa/ufa issues. However, among signed players Pakrinen will be in competition with Leon Draisaitl/Connor McDavid, Anton Slepyshev, Ryan Hamilton and Greg Chase. RFA’s who might be signed include Tyler Pitlick and Matt Fraser.
- Anyone else? Peter Chiarelli could bring in a veteran like Justin Williams or Carl Soderberg and that would push everyone down. Pakarinen is in the conversation for an everyday job now, adding a veteran like that turns him into a fringe player. They could also get extremely lucky and draft another NHL-ready prospect, but that’s a distant bell.
- If you could protect only one of Pakarinen, Pitlick, Fraser, Ryan Hamilton, Kale Kessy or Luke Gazdic, who would it be? Pakarinen.
- Why? Young, range of skills and you never know who he might develop chemistry with over time. As an example, he was effective (in a very short time frame) with Anton Lander, and maybe they have chem this fall with Leon Draisaitl and that becomes the kid line. That has terrific value, especially considering Pakarinen cost only money. He’s a very good procurement asset if he turns into Willy Lindstrom or Dave Lumley.
- Can he score enough? That’s what we’re going to find out. He looked good last year in the AHL and in spurts with the Oilers.
- Why this song? Lots of reasons. It’s obscure (not for Allmans fans, but regular people) and it’s a later song. Plus it’s a good song and the lyric has some nice lines (“night time sleeps, but not for long”) and when is the next time I get to bring a Desdemona reference to this blog? Plus, Gregg Allman’s vocal is fabulous and the guitar is outstanding. Love this band.