The Edmonton Oilers don’t love Finland at the draft table anymore. Their dual investment in goaltenders during the 2011 draft (Perhonen and Tuohimaa) are the last Finnish picks, and the club has chosen 23 players since then. Iiro Pakarinen’s signing offers some hope, but we’re in a down time for the Oilers and their Finns.
NHL TOTAL PLAYERS/FINISH PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL
- 2014 NHL draft—210 total players, 7 from Finland
- 2013 NHL draft—211 total players, 9 from Finland
- 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: 1475 total players, 55 from Finland
- PERCENTAGE: 3.7%
OILERS TOTAL PLAYERS/FINLAND PLAYERS DRAFTED BY YEAR AND TOTAL
- 2014 NHL draft—6 total players, 0 from Finland
- 2013 NHL draft—10 total players, 0 from Finland
- 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: 55 total players, 4 from Finland
- PERCENTAGE: 7.3%
The NHL has now drafted 25 Finns, or about one per team, since Edmonton selected two Finnish goaltenders back in 2011. Edmonton’s pro and amateur scouting is well represented by gentlemen from that country, so it would seem possible to draft another one should the quality be substantial. That, in truth, has been part of the problem these years.
THE FOUR FINNS
- Teemu Hartikainen, who was my favorite in this group. Had a fine season in the KHL (RE: 82GP, 16-27-43) and I think he can play in the NHL, but he’s signed for two more years in the KHL now. I’ll never understand why MacT cut Harski loose so he could play an inferior Finn (Joensuu).
- Toni Rajala, who had a legendary run as an OKC Baron but MacT sent him away the first chance he got. Rajala had a strong season in the KHL and SHL (SHL RE: 82GP, 20-19-39) but he signed with Luleå about a week ago (via Patricia Teter, link in Harski line).
- Samu Perhonen, the huge goalie recovering his career a little with a solid SML run with Kalpa (17GP, 2.06 .911) and we can hope he has a productive career.
- Frans Tuohimaa, who played in NA in the Oilers system this year, accomplishing little. As per Patricia, he is signed in Leksands and the Oilers have no drafted Finns in their organization at this time.
TOP PLAYERS FROM FINLAND, 2015 DRAFT
- R Mikko Rantanen, TPS Turku (SML) Has a wide range of skills, good size.
- C-R Roope Hintz, Ilves (SML) Intelligent two-way W, fine skater.
- C Julius Nattinen, JYP (Fin 2). Big skill C impressed at U18’s.
- L Sebastian Aho, Karpat (SM-Liiga). Smart, skilled offensive player.
- D Veeti Vainio, Espoo (Fin Jr). 6.02, 170, mobile D who can pass the puck and defend well.
- G Veini Vehvilainen, JYP (Fin 2). 26GP, 2.57 .917
- L Aleksi Saarela, Assat (SM-Liiga). Small skill winger, good skater but has a growing injury list.
- D Joni Tuulola, HPK (SM-Liiga). Smart defender, makes good decisions and can move the puck.
- W Juuso Ikonen, JYP (SM-Liiga). He’s 20 and has been a good player for three years now.
- R Jonne Tammela, Kalpa (SM-Liiga). Two-way winger, terrific speed, good passing. Raw.
- D Sami Niku, JYP (SM-Liiga). Offensive defender, mobile, calm, creative.
- C Frank Gymer, Jokerit (Fin Jr). Small, very skilled a 1996 but has offensive talent.
Rantanen may go in the top 10 overall, suspect Hintz and Nattinen will be second or third-round picks. Aho and Vainio could go fourth round or not at all and after that it’s anyone’s guess. Oilers need some Finns! I like Ikonen, always have.