A FALSE SPRING?

Teemu Hartikainen is "in the window" where he needs to step up from "quality AHL player" to "NHL regular. It’s a massive step, and one I’m sure Edmonton would love to see the big Finn make this fall. The question I have is this: will Harski provide enough offense?

At the minor league level, Teemu Hartikainen is more than a face in the crowd. The young man has managed some impressive things in Oklahoma since the fall of 2010, and that is reflected in his AHL points per 82 games boxcars:

  • 82, 23-33-55, 173 shots on goal

That’s a nice boxcar for the big Finnish player. If we estimate he’s playing 15 minutes a game (total), that would be 2.68 points per 60 minutes of AHL play (combined EV/PP). I think it’s a reasonable guess that Hartikainen’s offense in the AHL suggests he should at least be capable of filling a 4line role and (to quote new GM Craig MacTavish) " In today’s NHL, even marginally, you have to be a threat to score."

THE NHL PERFORMANCE

However, the NHL numbers give a person pause about how much Hartikainen can help. If we use simple TOI and EV scoring over his three seasons in the NHL, we get this number for Harski:

  • NHL EV/60 2010-13: 0.81

The numbers by year:

  • 10-11: 1.04
  • 11-12: 1.36
  • 12-13: 0.00

A quick note: the NHL/EV number above uses the NHL.COM data for TOI and EV points, the season by season breakout is behind the net. They are not directly comparable, but do give an indication of what he’s been doing at even strength/5×5 in the NHL.

IS THAT ENOUGH?

No. However, each of these season’s is a small sample size. Teemu Hartikainen played 196 EV minutes this season and had zero EV points–that’s not a good thing for a young player trying to impress a new General Manager. However, history tells us that minor league succes can predict major league ability, and Hartikainen’s AHL numbers tell us that there may be a player here.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Teemu Hartikainen has played about 595 minutes of even strength NHL hockey over three seasons and is 4-4-8 during that time. That’s below par, and the fact that he managed zero even strength points this past season may mean his opportunity has passed with the Edmonton Oilers. 

A losing team is the most likely team to flush underperformers (Steve Tambellini aside) and despite my own personal feelings that Hartikainen should get a full season to show what he can do, it may not be in the cards for Harski.

Bad timing.

  • Mitch

    Hartikainen, Lander, Paajarvi none of them have enough jam in there game to warrant needing to be on this roster next year. In yr 4 of Lowe’s 8 yr rebuild you need to make the playoffs(but there is no need to count the yrs job security is a none issue) that is why Mac T has mentioned bold moves.

    It will even become increasingly tougher to make the playoffs next year playing in the new Pacific division. The oilers have the world class skill although it is very young, what needs to be acquired now is the grit and depth that go towards the second and third lines and 2 really good dmen.

    The real question is how long does a team wait on players to develop and understanding the mix isn’t correct if we keep most of the current roster around we will be a minimum 2 more yrs before we see the playoffs.

  • DSF

    Stats indicate only Horcoff and an improving Paajarvi should remain on bottom 6 . The rest all need upgrading in one form or another , and have become non factors offensively at least . Smyth a big drop this last season , and Brown was only effective as a fighter . Yes , even Hartekainen needs to be upgraded . Hartekainen ,however , is still improving/developing and will probably remain in system . That’s 4 spots open for veteran newbies that match MacT.’s shopping wish list . Who might that 4 be is the question ?

    Rajala unlikely to unseed top six (same type players on the smaller side ) and thus should be a good bargaining chip .His improvement is vast , but we have maybe too many of that type already . OMark and Reddox another group that fits that same category . Put them together and see what we can get .

  • DSF

    Prognosis : HEMSKY THE KEY : If we can upgrade on Hemsky with a forward that more fits the MacT. wish list – then we move forward . I’m a fan of Hemsky , but we have to do better unfortuneately .

  • RexLibris

    Should Oilers try for center B.Sutter in bottom six ? Good in faceoffs , grit , offence and defence , etc . and carries a reasonable $2.05M contract . What might it take in trade scenario ?

  • DSF

    The organization patiently developed him in the minors and have given him numerous opportunities to show his stuff in the NHL.

    Despite getting more chances than most middling prospects ever do, he has shown absolutely nothing. Time to move on.

  • DSF

    Who says Rajala cant take a top 6 spot?

    One of the reasons we suck so badly is that all forms of competative dynamics have been removed from the teams developmentel system.

    Lets really be honest about who is outperforming whom,lets put some pressure back into the equation before we are in NHL games with real opponents.Why cant Hall or Ebbs or Nuge be replaced by an up and comer?I dont see why not,if things are based on competition is should be cut and dried.A team that posesses an adequate systemic influence should see players coming from seemingly out of nowhere and making the team,knocking others out of position with better system understanding and less mistakes overall.System knowledge and ability should be trumping skillsets about now in the top and bottom six.

    Half the deadbeats the team carried last year were not up to par,it is hard to believe we couldnt have gotten more out of farm guys getting their first tastes of the NHL.

  • Czar

    If a team decides to put together a third and fourth line, it should be done on the basis of required skills and job description.

    Our basis of a third and fourth line seems to be which ever players can’t play in the top six get moved down to the third and fourth lines……..such as Horcoff, Smyth, PRV and so on.

    Time to get serious about putting together lines based on job description.