August 20 2010 07:47AM
It is a well known fact that the Edmonton Oilers are a better team with Finns.
When the Oilers were running with the big clubs (actually they were CLUBBING the big clubs) Finland was well represented on the roster. Jari Kurri to Jussi Markkanen, Edmonton has a bond with that wacky Republic.
It hasn't hit the MSM media yet, but the Oilers have apparently hired former SM-Liiga GM Matti Virmanen as a scout. The report is here, and is about one month old according to that article (and known to readers of Kiekkolehti). Added to the reported signing of Pelle Eklund as a European scout, the team does appear to be addressing European scouting after the loss of Kenta Nilsson and the relocation of Frank Musil.
Stu (Magnificent Bastard) has used Europe quite often since taking over as scouting director. Edmonton has called 23 names since MBS took over, and 7 of those names were playing in European leagues: Johan Motin, Teemu Hartikainen, MPS, Anton Lander, Toni Rajala, Martin Marincin and Kristians Pelss represent a very nice group of draft picks and pretty much all have their arrows pointed in a good direction.
The report suggests that Virmanen (a great possible nickname just sitting there) will also be looking for players at the pro level, meaning some Jan Hejda's could be coming this way. All in all, a solid choice.