BRING BACK HARSKI?

Lowetide
January 21 2014 06:58PM

 

We're at a point in the season where we can safely begin looking forward to summer activities. The procurement of players to help win hockey games in 2014-15 has to be on the mind of management. One internal option for the Oilers this off-season: bringing back the Finn!  Harski's winter in the land of Dr. Zhivago could end with a one-way ticket to good old our town. Is he better than Joensuu? Ryan Jones? Can he win a job over Tyler Pitlick?. 

UFA SCORING (KHL)

Hartikainen is second on his team in scoring, and is getting a ton of playing time (16:28 a night on average). Most of it comes at even strength (he has just two power play goals on the season). 

WHY DID THEY SEND HIM AWAY?

When Craig MacTavish took over, he talked about third and fourth liners being (and I quote): "in today's NHL, even marginally, you have to be a threat to score." The club called him up, he didn't piss a drop at even strength, and then he was sent down to games before the end of the season.

  • Ralph Krueger (as Harski was sent down with two games left): "He's trying to figure out what a gritty, strong power forward does and what's connected to that. What's important for him is to continue to manage the puck in all three zones."

WHAT HAPPENED?

Apparently, he wanted a one-way deal and the Oilers were happy with a two-way, meaning Hartikainen might have either been lost on waivers or returned to the Barons. Instead, he found another job, and the Oilers let him walk to the KHL while retaining his rights. They signed Jesse Joensuu, Ryan Jones and others to take cover off the 3 and 4 lines 

  • Neal Livingtson: "You take the pieces of Hartikainen’s game, throw in the human element, realize he has the rest of his life before him, and suddenly you understand why he’d choose to play KHL hockey. Not because he gave up on the Oilers, didn’t work hard, or even prove he had things that people want – it’s because he lives life by his standards. Rather than allow his NHL club to throw him to the waiver wire in the upcoming season, he’ll choose his own path. At least for now. That’s admirable, and chances are, you’d do the same thing."

MacT's first item of business after being hired as GM was to call Hartikainen and Anton Lander up from the Barons. He didn't get anything done, but for the time he was in the NHL overall, Hartikainen did:

  • play about 78 minutes with the man advantage and manufactured 2-3-5. That's 3.85/60—not outstanding, but maybe he can be the guy who stands in front of the net (no one seems able this season). 

IS HE BETTER THAN JOENSSU, PITLICK AND JONES?

Here are the numbers for each player at 5x5 during their Oiler careers:

  • Ryan Jones 32-20-52 in 2506 ev minutes (1.24 points per 60/evens)
  • Tyler Pitlick 1-0-1 in 29.17 ev minutes (2.06 points per 60/evens)
  • Jesse Joensuu 1-0-1 in 252.22 ev minutes (0.24 points per 60/evens)
  • Teemu Hartikainen 4-4-8 in 595 ev minutes (0.81 points per 60/evens)

News flash: NONE of this is good, but the only guy we can be sure of is Jones. Based on linemates, minutes and opportunity, Jones has done okay by the Oilers as a depth 5x5 player. That's probably one of the reasons MacTavish signed him over Hartikainen last season—he had better numbers, and was more proven.

One year later? I think Joensuu is the man with a target on his back, despite the two-year deal signed in the summer.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?


Hartikainen played about 50 minutes for the Oilers after the callup, didn't score, and was sent down with two games to play. I said at the time it wasn't enough of a sample size, and Hartikainen has shown well in the KHL. Edmonton is going to be adding a lot of players over the summer in an effort to get better, I think they might want to have another look at big Hartikainen. Judging any player on 50 minutes of sample size is not a good idea, and Hartikainen is now a mature hockey player. Jesse Joensuu was signed instead, and hasn't been better.

Edmonton can flush all of these guys and give the job to Pitlick, or they can bring back Hartikainen and see if a season in the KHL has helped him "figure out what a gritty, strong power forward does and what's connected to that."

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Oiler Al
January 21 2014, 07:18PM
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Would like to see more of what Pitlick is all about. He certainly has more jam than Hartikeinin, and Jonnsu has not shown hes an NHL player.

Harti was not the greatest skater. Jones only shows up when he feels like it and sees he is not the same player after the eye injury.

I would bet on Pitlick, but he too needs to work on his skating.

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#2 PimKing
January 21 2014, 10:19PM
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J. Schultz, i i i just cant believe you get dollars. blows my mind. i shoulda been a p*ssy in minor hockey growin up, oilers woulda signed me too. we could go shopping. i bet your real good at that.

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#3 Cynic
January 21 2014, 09:49PM
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Wow. 27 points in a glorified beer league. Just what the Oilers need.

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#4 Retsinnab5
January 21 2014, 07:02PM
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As long as Little Acton never plays another game with the Oilers i'm happy.

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#5 bigguy13
January 21 2014, 07:18PM
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I disagree, that ship has sailed. He plays well in a league comparative to the AHL. Lets move on and take our loses. We over value our players way too much.....

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#6 Zamboni Driver
January 21 2014, 10:20PM
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I love the blind faith people mashed up with stats nerds staring ONLY a the horrific bellybutton that is the Edmonton Oilers.

The ONLY idea that anyone ever has is...

"We should bring back...."

Because, you know.....

THE OILERS HAVE FINISHED LAST, SECOND LAST, FOURTH LAST in the last four years. Missed the playoffs forever.

But these guys, who were too God-awful to play for this crap-sandwich never got a fair shake.

Do yourself a favour Alan.

Watch another team from time to time. Comment on better players.

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#7 Sid
January 21 2014, 10:13PM
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Oilers would not win in the AHL.

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#8 Serious Gord
January 21 2014, 09:03PM
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Hartikinen? really?

Lt why not do features on all the middling or better players in the ahl who aren't owned by other nhl teams? They are the same rubbish as hartikinen.

Like picking through the dumpster behind the macdonalds.

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#9 Young Oil
January 21 2014, 07:15PM
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Why isn't there room for both Harski and Pitlick? Both are likely an upgrade on our bottom 4 wingers right now. Could we not sign Winnik in the off season, bring back Harski, and run a third line of Gordon-Hartikainen-Winnik, and a 4th line of Lander-Hendricks-Pitlick (in C-L-R form)? That seems much improved to what we have now, and has a good mix of speed, aggressiveness, and defensive responsibility.

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#10 Yep
January 21 2014, 08:05PM
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Stop recycling guys that have already washed out, he was already here and he already failed, stop wasting time on what a guy *could* be. This team is full of guys that *could* be NHL players (Belov, Grebs, Jooensuu, Larsen, Bryz, just on the current roster). The problem is that when they dont work out you WASTE ANOTHER SEASON because you think you can get something for nothing instead of getting actual NHL players. What makes you think you know better than 30 NHL teams worth of coaches, scouts and GM's on Harti?

JUST STOP THIS CRAP.

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#11 Lawrence
January 21 2014, 07:24PM
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Until Oilers management can prove they know something about hockey, I will stick with my assessment Oilers management have no idea how to build a winning team. Facts are in my favour.

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#13 Slanto
January 21 2014, 07:05PM
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Bring him back and bring out his inner torts and watch the goals and teeth fly.

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#14 Woogie63
January 21 2014, 07:14PM
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We bring up Lander, Harti, OMark and Pitlick to a new city, put them in a hotel, place them on the 4th line with questionable NHL line mates, play them 5 minutes a game, 2 minutes of that on the PK and wonder why they don't score?

At this point of another losing season if Lander played 15 games with Hall and Eberle as his line mates

And

Pitlick played Gordon and Perron as his line mates

would they been more legit NHLers at the end of the season?

The guys who would lose the play time to Lander and Pitlick, would be Gagner and Hemsky... Who appear to gone anyways.

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#15 Old Timer
January 21 2014, 08:41PM
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Harti? No thanks.

Lots of others out there who offer just as much offence with more desire and heart.

I'd take Pitlick any day of the week over Harti.

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#16 Walter Sobchak
January 21 2014, 07:46PM
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LT

I've had this debate with you since I can remember, Hartikainen is an NHL regular along the same lines as Omark is a regular NHL player.

I know you think there's a player here, I just don't see it, never have.

If your not scoring, you have to be doing other things right, Hartikainen wouldn't engage, play tough, be hard on the puck, even throw the occasions hit when needed, for his size and make up he's a fairly soft player.

He's easily one of the most replaceable players on a roster, MacTavish can't keep overpaying forth liners to play 8 minutes a night.

On the other hand Eakins would have another whipping boy.

Hartikainen belongs in the KHL where he will have a fine career.

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#17 Drowning in Oil
January 21 2014, 10:08PM
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j. Schultz...... 2 cough ups in the last 2 minutes. Is this kid ready?

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#18 Fresh Mess
January 22 2014, 08:29AM
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Hartikianen was a useless NHL player, much like Lander is. He had numerous chances.

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#19 VMR
January 22 2014, 08:46AM
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Eh maybe but then again we could also bring back Patrick Thoreson and Linus Omark. They did well in the KHL so why not here?

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#20 Reggie
January 21 2014, 07:31PM
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The last meaningful game Oilers played was Monday, June 19 2006.

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#21 Chris!
January 21 2014, 07:31PM
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That soccer GIF reminds me of Patrick Stefan.

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#22 hockeycrazed
January 23 2014, 07:15AM
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I agree. Hartikainen has improved a lot during the time he's in AHL, and Oil do need a big guy in front of the opposite net for screen shots, and he has proven to be useful that way! He is like a Kenny Linsman type except bigger. Why not? He's not going to cost the Oil anything but cap space!!!

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#23 toprightcorner
January 21 2014, 08:36PM
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Harski playing in the KHL will not teach him to be a power forward, it will only instill that he can score without using his size.

Keep Pitlick in the AHL next year to further develop and flush the rest. Since nobody is exceptionally better in the group, the team won't get better by keeping them.

To improve as a team, MacT need to bring in players better than they have in that position, that means current 3rd liners get pushed to the 4th line and current 4th liners are sent down or sent packing.

I also believe that a successful team has 2 players on the 4th line that can kill penalties, 1 avg 2+ min/g the other 1+ min/g. Then the top scorers use their energy try to score goals instead of trying to prevent them.

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#24 Mr common sense
January 21 2014, 11:52PM
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We need Steve Ott

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#25 Spydyr
January 22 2014, 08:01AM
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I have a unique ideal for the Oilers. Leave him where he is and bring in a real NHL player. A big guy with skill who can play top six.

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#26 hankthetank
January 21 2014, 09:27PM
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Arco's brain in Harti's skull = great 4th liner.

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#27 Cynic
January 22 2014, 01:36AM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

I love the blind faith people mashed up with stats nerds staring ONLY a the horrific bellybutton that is the Edmonton Oilers.

The ONLY idea that anyone ever has is...

"We should bring back...."

Because, you know.....

THE OILERS HAVE FINISHED LAST, SECOND LAST, FOURTH LAST in the last four years. Missed the playoffs forever.

But these guys, who were too God-awful to play for this crap-sandwich never got a fair shake.

Do yourself a favour Alan.

Watch another team from time to time. Comment on better players.

Hey, I'm winning converts.

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#28 konst16
January 22 2014, 01:48AM
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Lowetide wrote:

I agree. Would like to see both.

I get Gordon, Hendricks and Winnik. All help balance what we currently have in the top6, not to mention each is a versatile "gadget" guy. Assuming the likely 7+ mil cap hit they will carry "fits", and other more drastic changes are not made.

Penciling in the other three, who have a combined 15 games played and 1 goal so far this season in the NHL, only makes sense if the end goal is McDavid. Get more actual NHL players please.

I wouldn't bet on all three being ready to contribute as useful NHLers (history suggests none are there yet) by the start of next season. Jeeze, even trying gauge the chance that happening for just *one* of them feels awfully close to a dog.

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#29 wintoon
January 22 2014, 07:59AM
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All this talk about bringing back Hartikainen seems to forget one critical point. This player is a marginal or borderline player on the worst team in the league. That does not speak well to the contribution he can make.

Rather than expend time and resources worrying about him, matbe the Oilers scouts should be working harder at identifying legitimate player options that have some experience and can actually upgrade the team.

It seems that the scouts often overlook UFAs with value and try to find a 'diamond in the rough'. By definition, these types of players are rare finds.

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#30 Mack Strong
January 22 2014, 10:56AM
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@Yep

Belov, Grebs, Bryz - Agreed

Joensu, Larsen - Do not agree. When Joensu is healthy he looks good. He hasn't been health and has been hampered by his back injury. He plays a physical game and when healthy is hard to move from in front of the net.

Other teams develop their young guys…we throw them up on the tight rope with no safety net and chastise them when they fall - dump them to 4th line and or the barons.

Example: Blackhawks

Saad is big and young. Plays with Handzus and Kane - Learns and leans on those guys. Andrew Shaw drafted in the 5th round 2011 and plays with Bickell and Versteeg. Legit Stanley Cup Champions and 3rd line mates. We stick Joensuu with Arco and Gadzic What kind of mix is that? Two bangers with a fast skilled guy who is also learning the NHL game. How is that line in anyway good for development for Arco or Joensuu or even Gadzic for that matter? Or Larsen with…well any one of our D 9 are liabilities…The whole lot of them are brutal!

Im not slagging your post brother but our new guys are asked to make chicken salad out of chicken $hit….and in less than 5 mins.

The real problem is our management is worried about writing letters instead of making moves to bring in the things we need.

Nash aside from yesterdays game is having an off season. Why not pounce on a situation like that? We did that with Perron and that turned out ok. Granted I don't like Nash's cap hit but we need big up front. Make a move for a guy like Lucic. Yes it will take a few of our young group and picks but you can't tell me that that will not remedy "some" of our problems. And i would hardly call bringing in size and experience (SC champ and Olympic Gold Medalist hopefully x2) mortgaging the future. Skilled big guys…..all SC champs have them. in our top 6 Hallsie is our biggest guy!!

I bet Kassian was shaking in his skates with our retribution for Gags cheap highstick…..or not. Not scared at all…seems to be a common feeling coming into Rexall - aside from our new guys being scared to screw up and get demoted.

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#31 nunyour
January 22 2014, 11:19AM
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Enough rookies,bring in experienced NHL players,OKC is the place for rookies.

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#32 Tikkanese
January 22 2014, 01:13PM
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Bring back a guy who couldn't land a regular spot on the worst team in the NHL? Sounds like a winning plan!

Enough with the hope. Sign actual players. Preferably ones with size that actually regularily play with size. Not Harski or Joensuu or Penner.

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#33 The rookie
January 22 2014, 02:44PM
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Because bringing in guys that look good across the pond has worked so well lately. Grebeshkov, Belov, Omark, ... Maybe hartikainen will want to be next coach.

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#34 brackenbury
January 23 2014, 01:30AM
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Its getting stale guys. We obsess over third and fourth liners. C'MONN… these really are not the players that drive A hockey club. Until we can ice a quality goalie, at least a legit TopD pairing,and a stronger more diverse group in our Top six forwards...u can roll out any combo of all the Pluggers mentioned in this forum, and it won't change the Results much at all.

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#35 Sisyphus
January 22 2014, 06:03AM
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Hate to say it, but we were at a point where we could "safely begin to look forward to summer activities" in November.

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#36 oobespoons
January 22 2014, 04:10PM
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Enough about the 4th line! Lets look at what the real problem is........

DEFENCE!!!!!!!!

and that we don't have any NHL goalies signed for next year! Until these problems are solved the 4th line is hardly a priority!

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#37 J.R.
January 22 2014, 09:00PM
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oobespoons wrote:

Enough about the 4th line! Lets look at what the real problem is........

DEFENCE!!!!!!!!

and that we don't have any NHL goalies signed for next year! Until these problems are solved the 4th line is hardly a priority!

No kidding...all the fourth line tweaking in the world will not solve anything.

The issue might be that we can't make a deal for anyone who slots in above the fourth line...exception Perron who was a nice addition.

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