Iiro Pakarinen suffered a knee injury early in training camp and didn’t play an NHL game until Valentine’s Day. I would describe him as a replacement-level NHL player or slightly below, but Todd McLellan likes him and the Oilers recently signed the Finn for another year. The coach saw him good early in his Oilers career and that connection remains.
- McLellan on Pakarinen, January 2016: “We were all over the map trying to find players and trying to motivate guys, but Pak wasn’t one of them. I put him right wing, left wing, power play, penalty kill. He was very effective.” Source
IIRO PAKARINEN 2016-17
- 5×5 points per 60: 2.04
- 5×4 points per 60: 0.00 (in two minutes)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 45,5
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -3.6
- Shots on goal/percentage: 15 shots/13.3%
- Boxcars: 14GP, 2-2-4
- Numbers via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and Hockey-reference.com
He scored well in a very small sample size this past season but didn’t get to play much at even strength or special teams. He did play some on the PK in 2015-16 and had the lowest shots-against-per-60 among forwards. McLellan may see him as a possible replacement for Matt Hendricks among the group who played this past season.
Pakarinen’s signing probably puts Tyler Pitlick closer to the exit, but we’ll see how this rolls out. My RE for him derailed early due to the injury but it is here.
CURRENT 50-MAN LIST
At this point, he projects as 13F or 14F and those guys still play quite a bit. He played only one playoff game during the Oilers run, meaning Slepyshev passed on the depth chart and that probably stays the same. He can play LW, giving him some utility, and the PK portion of the equation gives him a chance to stick around all year. It’s also true that he has four power-play helpers among his 12 NHL assists. He lost an entire season but the Oilers stepped up and signed him. That’s a tell.