One of the first moves made by Craig MacTavish last summer was signing big Finn winger Jesse Joensuu. It spelled the end of the line for Teemu Hartikainen, another Finn, and for Joensuu it represented a strong opportunity to re-start his NHL career.

2013-14 oilers forwards

Joensuu is in the “less sheltered” part of the graph, and we can see his offensive zone starts aren’t stellar. Dallas Eakins hasn’t given him a push in that way, and he also isn’t facing tough opponents.

joensuu extra skater

This is his player card from Extra Skater. There isn’t much happening, but he’s not terrible compared to his own linemates (Corsi Rel is -1.3%) and he’s batting late in the order. Joensuu has a two-year contract, and that might be his best chance to make next year’s team, plus the fact he’s had injury troubles this season. Joensuu needed to score, but his 5×5/60 total (0.68) is poor. How does it compare to Hartikainen?


2012-13 oilers forwards

This is last season, Harski’s bubble is in about the same spot on the map as Joensuu this year. Harski had a slightly more favorable zone start, but it’s a tiny difference.

hartikainen extra skater

Here’s Hartikainen’s player card from extra skater. Hartikainen didn’t score at evens, but his Corsi for 5×5% and his Corsi Rel are better. This  is a small sample size, but the previous season also had some nice signs. Hartikainen may not be an NHL player, but he looks like a better one than Joensuu based on this small sample size. 

Alas, Hartikainen’s Corsi events resulted in no goals at all.



I think you can make a case that despite the small sample size Toronto now has possession of the better Finn. It doesn’t matter. Jesse Joensuu has the NHL job, and another year on his deal.

  • “The year we went to Cup final [2006] we had lots of guys who could contribute offensively and last year we really didn’t,” he said. “We had a lot of one or two or zero goal scorers who were out there and really the best you could hope for was they were a non-negative factor. We have to let the core players continue to develop and we have to build that supporting cast around them.”

    Non-factor players, and we wait.

  • Muji

    For me JJ has been meh. I just don’t see him as a keeper moving forward. he is a big body. But way to passive for me. I am more a Matt Hendricks kind of guy. Big body that bangs and brings energy.JJ does not do that. At all.

    Lowetide did you catch Gregor’s show today. He was talking to a reporter out of Vancouver. I did not know Burrows was so pathetic. The Nucks are in deep poop right now. Daniel has not scored in 16 games. What?

    With the trade deadline fast approaching would you think the Nucks would do a deal with the Oilers?
    I am thinking they need a top 6 forward. We have a guy in David Perron who would fit that bill nicely. They have Alex Edler.Who is as bad as they get this season in terms of plus minus. I think of him as a top 4 dman. Good PP guy. I could see a deal that includes Edler and a pick/prospect coming our way for Perron and a guy like Potter.

    The Nucks just signed the Sedins to another 3 years.And Lou is signed tillforever. Bieksa is signed and is a core guy.

    The time is now to rape the NUCK’s and get an NHL dman in return.

    • Lowetide

      The one thing I’ve always maintained is that you have to give a man 500 at-bats (or about one season). Hartikainen got pretty close, maybe 400. I liked him, but don’t think there’s much quarrel about sending him away. Pouliot same thing. Sooner or later, you have to score a little.

      • **

        Where does that leave Lander?. I just read Jason Gregor’s interview with Nelson and have been reading a few articles rooting for him, based mainly on his scoring as of late, point per game. OMark was also scoring at point per game, and look where that ended up. I know Lander is supposed to be more responsible two way and kills penalties, but his scoring never translated to the NHL either, yet there’s a lot of rooting for him here. Lander has had almost a full season (79 games) in the NHL and has mustered 2 goals and 7 points, with a -15 to go with it.

        I think it is time to let Lander go. It would be very easy to find a better veteran 4c, no need to keep carrying another “what if” around. This team has had enough of those.

    • GVBlackhawk

      LT, I’m not sure that the physical injury affects the ability to play hockey this long after the injury has occured. I think the psychological part of the injury affects some players more than others.

      There are several examples of players who have returned from a broken jaw without a decrease in performance. Sidney Crosby and Jeremy Roenick are two examples who maintained their pre-injury performance. Rick Tocchet, played the 1992 Stanley Cup playoffs with a broken jaw and even got into two fights.

      If you are afraid to engage physically after the jaw is (mostly) healed, your performance will suffer.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Yes, I think Teemu is probably a little better, but neither player will ever be more than a depth guy on a contender, unless one of them finds something within themselves at this late date that lifts them to a higher level. If either one was a bit nastier they might have bottom six potential, but I don’t see that emerging now.
    We all know precisely where the holes are and MacT needs to focus on filling them using our saleable assets, our very high upcoming draft pick and a UFA or two.

  • Lowetide

    wishy washy article.

    this is what i dont like about corsi articles. they represent supposed cold hard facts (percentages/numbers) but then when you review its results, the best anyone can come up with is “I think…”

    nobody needed a corsi stat to declare that one guy is slightly better, but maybe not, than the other guy.

    • Lowetide

      I think there’s some real conversation that can be had around this decision by MacT. He clearly felt Joensuu would add more, and, in an admittedly small sample size, the results aren’t there.

      Your “wishy washy” is my “in fairness, let’s keep sample size in mind” and I’m fine with it.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        well with Joensuu v Harti, neither can score but JJ plays more physical, so despite some fans protests when they see good numbers in Europe (like Omark, eh?) that seemed to imply Harti should get another shot here, i’m OK with him being dealt. Lander might follow him out the door, despit his AHL numbers coming alive because he seems to be just a step too slow to play in the NHL.

      • Lowetide

        Im not trying to single you out, Id just like to draw attention to the fact that corsi articles, for the most part, are wishy washy because they only ever tell a small fraction of what the player does, and people go with it as bible.

        Joensuu had 15pts in 67 games before joining the Oilers this year. Hartikainen had 13pts in 52 NHL games. Thats .22 vs .25.
        That is a sample size, a relateable sample size, and a very similar number. I agree that a player has to play 100+ games for a real sample size, but MacT was forced to choose and personally I think he went with the right one. It wasnt a risk to take Joensuu IMO.

        • Lowetide

          I agree that stats (any stats) are only part of it and you shouldn’t use Corsi numbers in this small a sample size as anything more than a curio. It is interesting, though. Oilers are using them in a similar fashion, with similar results.

          If you asked me ‘how much difference is there between the two’ I’d suggest it’s well short of one point in the standings.

          Is that because they’re non-factors? Maybe. Is it because they were used in this fashion? Perhaps. You could suggest that Joensuu’s injury had a greater impact than any of the rest of this stuff and be correct.

          Still, an interesting glance of these two doing the same job and getting similar results. Does he crash and bang more? Probably.

          • Spydyr

            You know what?
            You are quite a bit more enjoyable to debate with than a certain someone else who blogs on here (Jason Gregor).
            I appreciate the fact that you don’t take a rebuttal to your opinion as a personal attack!
            You take it like a pro!

  • gr8one

    I don’t mind the miniscule risk of signing Joensuu, but I do really hate the flushing of Harski and Rajala.

    I understand you can’t hold onto prospects forever but man I’m just getting fed up with this team flushing players for nothing or something worse.

    Harski may never be an NHL’er but his potential upside is way higher than Fraser’s terrible-ness.

    As far as Rajala goes, was there really no some way, some how that we could have found a way to retain his rights?

    It’s just awful seeing 50 man roster spots being wasted year after year on players like MacIntyre and letting players that at least have the talent to potentially contribute positively some day be thrown out.

    Harski I really find to be the head scratcher. He showed signs at times of having small flashes of offense even if it never translated to points, he actually has the holy grail of size that gets Oilers’ management’s blood flowing, and after some very small cups of coffee in the NHL he goes to second best league in the world and starts putting up offense and that’s when they decide to trade him for a terrible defenseman?


  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    JJ has 2year contract with the Oilers. Is he a OKC guy next year? I’d say for certain he is.

    Tony Rajala looks at the Oilers lineupand thought Where do I fit? The answer was in Europe. He choose wisely.

  • gr8one

    On an unrelated note….

    My wife had the opportunity to see Lowetide as the guest speaker at a basketball tournament on the weekend (she was coaching). She texted me and said, “you’ll never guess who’s doing the keynote!” as she was well aware of my man crush on 1260’s best personality. I have to admit I was a lot jealous….

    In her words – “He nailed it”. Great job LoweTide. Thank you for your contributions to our youth and minor sports, and keep up the good work on 1260, your blog and OilersNation.

    • pkam

      Why? So they can watch live the OKC play?

      Even Acro has to sit out during the Olympic break because he has too many NHL games on his belt. Who currently on the Oilers roster has less NHL games than Acro?

  • Lowetide

    Time to get better European scouts.
    Hartikienen, Ladner, Pajarvi,Joensus,Petril, none really adding up to sucess in the NHL. These are all pretty big guys, with not much jam or scoring ability. [ I realize Joensus came via Islanders.]

    If you can’t score, you better be good at something else, which these guys are not.

    I dont mind the team giving some of these guys a shot, but enough of Hartikein, he hasnt got it , so lets move one.

  • Spydyr

    “Toronto now has possession of the better Finn” and Edmonton has possession of a defencman who is not a chicken $hit like most of the defencmen on the Oilers.

    Someone to clear the front of the net,protect his goalie and stand up for his teammates.It makes me sick to my stomach when an opposing player runs the goalie and the Oilers reaction is to look at the ref for a penalty.

    All of that does not show up in Corsi.

      • Spydyr

        The “some” it is lost on are “some” people who have never played competitive hockey.

        Or if they did play competitive hockey they patterned their game on the J. Shultz be a pussy model.

        • YEGFan

          Steve MacIntyre,
          Kurtis Foster,
          Ryan Jones,
          Mark Fraser,
          Matt Hendricks,
          Jerred Smithson,
          Mike Brown,
          Mark Fistric,
          Andy Sutton,
          Jim Vandermeer,
          Colin Fraser,
          Ben Eager,
          Jesse Joensuu,
          Darcy Hordichuk,
          Theo Peckham,
          Zack Stortini,
          JF Jacques,
          Mitch Moroz,
          Kale Kessy,
          Colten Teubert,

          But yeah, the Oilers have just ignored getting big or tough guys. I’m sure the team’s problem is not its continued acquisition of terrible players who happen to have reputations as “gritty” or “tough” or having some “growl.”

          Mark Fraser will not make the Oilers better. A ridiculous majority of the goals scored on the team since he was acquired have been his fault. The sooner he goes to the AHL and the sooner the team replaces him with an actual NHL defenseman the better.

  • Lowetide

    Interesting that we are talking at length about two players who have had little or no impact on team results. These two players are, at best, borderline 4th line players on the 29th place team. Neither can score a lick or have any other impact on the team and yet we are analysing them to death.

    Both players fit in the bottom six black hole that MacT described – the most we can hope for is nothing negative.

    Until the Oilers acquire a legitimate 2C and a top pairing man all other discussions are of little consequence. That is why our 2014 first rounder is so critical. It must be used to acquire a 1/2C (Bennett, Reinhart), acquire a potential 1D (Ekblad) or be used in a trade package to acquire the Centre or D man we need.

    • S cottV

      While great prospects – Bennett, Reinhart and Ekblad will take 4 or 5 more years to start reaching their prime.

      The time has probably come for MacT to use this pick in a trade that makes an immediate difference.

      You could probably make an argument that there are only so many of these young high end prospects that can be part of any successful team.

      These guys are high skill – high potential, but also tend to be high ego projects to deal with.

      There are only so many projects that a club can mess around with, at any one time.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        the pick is too high to trade and we would likely not get what we want in return for it. a high pick like this would continue to fill holes we have on this team and the top 5 seem to be pretty high end players. as well, how many of these guys may be able to step into the lineup? who knows? believe me, soon we won’t be able to get these high end players because we won’t be picking in the top 5 forever….the time is coming soon when we won’t, so we may as well get as many as we can now!

        • S cottV

          I understand the argument and general status quo that its hard to get an appropriate return for a top 3 pick.

          However – you have to give up something to get something.

          If the Oilers want to make the playoffs within the next 3 years, we better get some substancial pieces that can play at a high level now.

          High end ufa’s wont come here until the team is poised to challenge for the Stanley Cup and that appears to be a long ways away.

          So – trading is the only short term solution and what do we really have to trade, that you would give up? Hall – RNH? No. Gagner, Eberle, Yak, Schultz? Maybe – but you would need a big parcel to go with one or two of them, to bring back anything substancial. A parcel that might have to include a top 3 pick.

          Otherwise – how does this club make the playoffs next year or the year after that? It is 3 years away, unless something “bold” happens.

          That all being said – I agree, a trade involving the top pick probably wont happen, but it means we are all in for the long haul, before a playoff game ever presents itself in the new rink.

      • Keg on Legs

        Team that give up on first round draft choices do so at their own expense………this is what stupid teams even the NYI have figured this out. Keep the draft choice and make a trade with the players you have or later round draft choices.

        • Zarny

          Not necessarily. NJ traded the 9th overall pick for Cory Schneider. That certainly wasn`t a stupid move.

          A lottery pick would return significantly more value. Suggestions of Kyle Clifford or a package of 3rd liners coming back are ridiculous.

          A package with a lottery pick could return Couturier and Simmons or Coburn. Or perhaps Yandle and Hanzal. Or perhaps Ryan McDonagh.

          If the Oilers can get that level of return for the pick they should. This is not a deep draft and none of these kids are a generational players like Crosby, Stamkos, Tavares and Hall who were talked about going #1 since they were 14.

          If that level of return isn`t available then use the pick. But that should be plan B. The last thing the Oilers need is another 18 y/o.

  • Spydyr

    I don’t think we can judge MacT too harshly on this one. He must have spoken to Harti and they both realized it wasn’t a great fit i.e. one way versus two way contract, role on the team etc. At this point in time, he wasn’t part of the teams’ plans or the Oilers weren’t part of his plans. Either way, it is much ado about nothing. We need real NHL’ers. I’d rather have a Hendricks in the line up any day.

  • Spydyr

    feed me all the stats u want……my mind was made up after first ten games of the year, and i would take jj any day over harti. jj is a bigger body,a way better skater, and a better 2 way player than harti. all this and suffering from back problems all yr. before the back problems he was effective for edmonton but has yet to regain that extra step in his game that he had at seasons start. hopefully he can get back to how he started the season, stay healthly, and hes got a good cshot at taking jones spot!

  • Keg on Legs

    To brighten your day, go to the SI website, they have a photo gallery of the Dallas ice girls. Now that I think abot it it’s depressing because they kick the crap out of or ice guys!!! lol

  • S cottV

    Meh, Mac T took on a no risk contract to try and upgrade on a guy who couldn’t transition his game to the NHL / develop on a team already chock full of young inexperienced players. The amount of this player type we’ve had through the Oilers roster in the last few years is staggering.

    And soon we get to add one of Clifford or King to that list. The search for the elusive Lucic continues.

    On a different note, I know everyone is pulling their hair out at the idea the Oilers might not get Ekblad, but really, their is no clear cut number one prospect outside of the top three or four this year, and two of those guys are big centers, and one of them is being called another Nuge.

    So really, we’re either getting another prime defensive prospect to add to the growing list (Klefbomb, Nurse, Marincin). Or possibly we’re going to solve the problem with our second line center and add some size in the top six. That’s fantastic.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Joensuu is a decent 4th line winger. He should never play above the 4th line generally speaking but I don’t have a problem with him and Jones, Gazdic etc. Subbing in and out on that 4th line to keep them fresh and fighting for a permanent slot in the line-up. While Joensuu hasn’t shown the kind of play that would warrant mass amounts of playing time, I have seen him drive the net on a few occasions and create a scuffle in front of the other teams net. How valuable of a commodity is a big body who creates problems in front of the other teams net? Well, that’s a matter of some debate.

  • Zarny

    Meh. Maybe Toronto has the better Finn. His corsi is marginally better with a different team and different competition.

    Not every move a GM makes will work out. Hartikainen didn`t look like he was part of the solution so MacT found a replacement who is cheap and signed short term.

    What I like about MacT so far is he doesn`t let ego prevent him from correcting a mistake. LaBarbera didn`t work out and now he`s gone.

  • Rdubb

    I don’t like taking jobs away from anyone, especially these days, but, from what I saw in the graphs/charts I’d have to say that neither guy is an NHL calibre player. Thus TOR doesn’t have the better guy, they’re both not good enough players, even for the Oil…