Career Probabilities: Teemu Hartikainen

Jonathan Willis
November 26 2012 11:22AM

With gloomy pictures of Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton painted over the first two parts of this series, for the third piece I decided to focus on a player who I have generally felt has better career prospects. Teemu Hartikainen is stylistically a good fit for the needs of the current Oilers – does he have enough game to take a spot on a scoring line?

Career Probabilities is a new series that attempts to place a likelihood on Oilers’ prospects reaching a given career threshold. For the concept, please see the first post in the series.

First, a quick note on this series: despite the fact htat I'm presenting a range of probabilities on the bottom, there's nothing terribly complex about what I'm doing - ultimately I'm just looking at a bunch of guys with similar career arcs and then stating my opinion. I don't claim that this is the definitive way to do this sort of evaluation; it's simply one of the methods I use.

I expected to find a number of players comparable to Teemu Hartikainen, but was quite surprised not to discover a single one that followed his career curve over the 12 years I looked through. Ultimately, I was forced to compromise and include any player drafted out of Europe who came over to North America at the same age and had broadly similar scoring totals.

The following list shows Hartikainen’s production over the past three seasons along with imports who had similar AHL scoring totals:

Criteria: Drafted after the 100th overall selection between 1995 and 2007, height greater than 70 inches, broadly similar scoring rates at the same level at the same age.

The list is an interesting one because even at this stage of these players’ careers – we are looking up to four years after they were drafted – a variety of outcomes are possible. Three of these guys ended up having worse NHL careers than Hartikainen’s already managed. On the other end of the scale are bona fide NHL’ers like Jannik Hansen, Patric Hornqvist and Martin Erat.

Because we’re dealing with statistical comparisons and looking at broad totals, the players on this list aren’t good stylistic comparables – Martin Erat, for example, is a substantially different player than Teemu Hartikainen. Hornqvist, Hansen and Vladimir Orszagh are better stylistic fits, though Hansen’s a better skater and Orszagh wasn’t as good with the puck as Hartikainen is.

Hartikainen’s unique skill-set and career path make him difficult to pin down with this sort of exercise.

With that said, here is my assessment of his career probabilities:

The best case scenario from the short list is a career similar to Martin Erat’s, though I tend to dismiss that simply because Erat does not compare well stylistically to Hartikainen. Among the players that do compare fairly well, Patric Hornqvist stands out – he’s now 263 games into his NHL career and has scored 20+ goals in each of the last three seasons, including one season with 30 goals and 51 points. Hornqvist is a higher-volume shooter than Hartikainen but Hartikainen’s a better percentage shooter at the AHL level. I like Hornqvist as a reasonable outer marker for Hartikainen.

My expectation, however, is that Hartikainen comes in halfway between Hornqvist and another guy who spent time in Nashville, Vladimir Orszagh. Hornqvist has been a 25-goal/45-point scorer for the Predators; for three seasons in the early 2000’s Orszagh was a reliable 15-goal/35-point man. I picture Hartikainen scoring at a 20-goal/40 point pace in his prime.

Most likely outcome: Big forward whose scoring makes him a strong fit for a top-nine NHL-role; somewhere between Vladimir Orszagh and a more physical Patric Hornqvist.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 ItsTheBGB
November 26 2012, 11:27AM
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FINNISH FIST!

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#2 RexLibris
November 26 2012, 11:46AM
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Funny how his career probability chart is almost the inverse of Hamilton's.

I think you left off the part where Teemu scores the game-winning goal in OT to knock the Flames out of the playoffs as the Oilers cruise to their 7th (yes I'm skipping ahead) Stanley Cup, then runs for political office in Finland, winning by a landslide, climbing the ranks of government before taking over stewardship of the EU and eventually strong-arming Russia into apologizing for all past invasions.

But I can see how that could be easily overlooked.

On a serious note, I wonder if Hartikainen's career probabilities improve because of the timing of his arrival as well as his skill set "meshing" with what could be a number of talented players. The right complimentary player on the right line can make a world of difference, similar perhaps to Alex Burrows having the good fortune of playing with the Sedins.

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#3 John Chambers
November 26 2012, 12:19PM
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Harski might do well riding shotgun with Eberle and RNH for a couple of seasons. If that actually happens, management would be wise to trade him similar to the value the Oilers got from dealing Semenko after a couple of years on Gretzky's wing.

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#4 Sanaa Montana
November 26 2012, 12:47PM
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Teemu will be like Teemu because Teemu is Teemu.

Could you do a few follow ups and compare him to a few other random players, please? Try using five players that aren't from Europe, then another five that are allergic to peanuts, five that prefer blondes over brunettes and so on.

I got a great suggestion for an article for you. Seeing as there is no hockey(because the players feel they deserve more) to talk about, you love stats and traffic here needs a hot topic, it will only be right to talk about Horcoff. Horcoff is one of the players that is making a lot of money and is pushing for more, and him as a topic has been a hot one in the nation for years. Put something together that compares and includes; dollar/value per point, d/v per shift, d/v on penalty kill, d/v plus-minus etc. You can start with Horcoff and then move to other overpaid failures in the league.

*~~

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#6 Sanaa Montana
November 26 2012, 01:59PM
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@Jonathan Willis

What.!..? Are you crazy? Why would I do that?

I don't want to think. I like reading your thoughts, you have stats to back your thoughts. What do I know? I'm just some @$$hole with Wi-Fi and a keyboard.

Keep up the good work.;-')

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#8 Dave Manson
November 26 2012, 02:53PM
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Horcoff is slated to make $6 million in 2012-13 before his salary drops dramatically to $4 million and then $3 million. He's not going to get $6 million again; every day that's lost to the season is real money that he'll never get back. From a personal financial perspective, the difference between 57% or 50% or 43% for the players - and we're talking about much smaller differences now - will never make up for the money he's already losing.

....THAT'S IT! The lockout is all Horcoff's fault! The entire league is trying to clawback what would be paid to him this year.

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#9 Harlie
November 26 2012, 07:57PM
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Mortifying, fortified, bonafide champion War supply, over-sized, more than gargantuan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AASBbbtNMHE

I think one of Teemu's greatest skills is his fearlessness.

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#10 Woogie63
November 26 2012, 10:31PM
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Josh if he is going to play +250 NHL games he needs a better number, are there any good players with a number in the fifties?

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#11 Woogie63
November 26 2012, 10:32PM
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Josh if he is going to play +250 NHL games he needs a better number, are there any good players with a number in the fifties?

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