IIRO THE HERO

pakarinen ferguson 1415

Not much was known about Iiro Pakarinen the day he signed with the Edmonton Oilers, beyond he’s a Finn and that’s a good thing for the Edmonton Oilers (ALL of the good things that have happened in franchise history included a Finn in the Fotto).

He camp to training camp, impressed, and was sent to the minors. Where he’s raising hell.

THE SCOUTING REPORT

Before he was signed by the Oilers, a couple of trusted sources had information available on Pakarinen. Elite Prospects (from 2012 via Matias Strozyk) and Kirk Leudeke from the period before he was drafted:

  • Elite Prospects: A large winger shooting from his
    right. An energetic player with good skating and a nice frame. Possesses
    a good sharp, wrist shot and is a solid finisher. A hard worker and
    versatile player who can also play as a defenceman.
     
  • Kirk Luedeke: Has nice size, should add some bulk and get
    stronger. Heavy feet with a choppy stride, but decent straight-line
    speed. Needs to pick up the initial burst to have a shot at the NHL.
    Keeps his stick on the ice and goes to the net well. Opportunistic
    scorer throughout; managed to be in right place at right time and made
    his opportunities count. OK defensively; doesn’t do anything to stand
    out in his own end. 

Pakarinen was chosen by Florida in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He played parts of five seasons in the SM-Liiga and signed a two-year deal in June. Earlier this week, I had a chance to ask Eric Rodgers (who covers the Barons) about Pakarinen:

  • Eric Rodgers, Tend The Farm: “He is a beast. He has that scoring touch you want to see in a bigger forward. He has a lot of similarities to Teemu Hartikainen, bigger body—using it very well—but certainly has that scoring touch.”

The mention of Hartikainen by both Luedeke and Rodgers may raise some concern in regard to foot speed issues. Neal Livingston (also from Tend the Farm) has this to say:

  • Iiro Pakarinen is a forward, wide-shouldered and gruff, but boy does
    he have skill. If you thought Hartikainen had skating problems,
    Pakarinen clearly doesn’t. He has a thick shot, is highly energized to
    buzz the net, and has the ability to know exactly where to stand in
    front of opposing goaltenders. His
    defensive game is probably my favorite talking point, however. He is the
    definition of “defensive responsibility”, and is eager to quickly pump
    his legs the other direction to hornswoggle a forward or two. This might
    be the one thing that sets Iiro apart from previous Finns, and
    certainly from Teemu Hartikainen. Better player? To be triumphantly
    stated at a later date, but I think we are on to something.

Source

I believe Livingston may have coined the nickname ‘Iiro the Hero’ but can’t confirm.

THE NUMBERS

Pakarinen is enjoying a massive start to the AHL season, scoring 5-3-8 in 6 games to start the year. He’s an early contender for top scoring rookie in the league:

ahl rookie scoring

THE FUTURE

The Oilers don’t need a winger currently, but Pakarinen is impressing
and should the opportunity arise, it’s certainly possible he’s edging
ahead of men like Tyler Pitlick and Steve Pinizzotto (who played in the
NHL last season) for recall. The signing by the Oilers absolutely added to their pro depth, and they may have found a future NHLer in the SM-Liiga for only dollars. It could be a massive bargain and is certainly a good bet. 

(Parkarinen photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).

  • Cain

    He is also an effective pest, which is something the Oilers have not had in a long time.

    With the inevitable injuries that occur during the season, I hope he gets a long look from management as a call-up. It would be nice to have a productive $h!t disturber on our side for a change.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    he’s in good company with Pastrnak and Laughton. it almost seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? the Oilers just haven’t been able to find guys like this, and certainly have had trouble finding them at the draft.

  • Great news.

    Finns win.

    The Oilers may be good on wing depth today, but they are very shy on center depth.

    Its time to sell from abundance (wings) to address the need (center).

    Pakirinen can move up to fill the void created on wing by the trade and he’s the type of forward they currently lack.

    He sounds like a faster version of Hendricks with much more offensive ability.

    Get this man to the Oilers!

    • Kevwan

      Maybe less Hendricks + and more Perron light?

      I love that he’s found money, but I also love that he isn’t that old. Pretty rare to pick up a freeby, who was drafted, with this skill set, who isn’t 27.

  • Rdubb

    I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but of what i read from the gents who gave their thoughts on this Finn, i more or less had them saying things basically opposite of eachother. It would have been nice if @ least 2 of them said the same things, but they didn’t. I did however take away that this young player has all the tools to be a possible 3rd or 4th liner. And with him being better than a point game player thus far, he has adapted very well to the North American game and should be the 1st call up when an injury occurs on the Oilers.
    Even though i do not recall this player @ all from rookie camp or the pre-season, from what i read i am excited to see him come up to the big club and play as it sounds like he has very good hands and a very good offensive sense, along with a very good work ethic as he hussles to get back and help the D defend. It also sounds like he has a good frame (although hemay need to add some muscle) and uses it well, not too mention that he has a somewhat “pesky” side to him, all of the above which are very good and needed on this Oilers team.
    Since we have a plethera of wingers right now, perhaps MacT can bundle a few players for either a studly defensemen or perhaps a legite 2nd line C (a real 2nd line C from a good team, not an Edmonton Oiler 2nd line C) thus be able to move LD down one position and thus allowing him to play against “weaker” competition…
    I guess i better try and catch a few OKC games on the pc and see what this Finn can do with my very own eyes thus making my own opinion of him instead of going off of others opinions, and i look forward to seeing LB in goal too…

    • YEGFan

      The only way to let LD play against weaker competition is to send him to the minors. And really? Typing @ instead of at im pretty sure that takes longer which kinda negates the point of doing it. Do you really need to shorten a two letter word?
      I agree with everything else though. The scouting reports do seem to contradict eachother, especially when they talk about his defensive play. And we do need a second line center and top d man. The only problem is we arent likely to get those peices by simply bundling spare parts.

    • Dr. Drai is outplaying Arcobello already. Keeping him up was the right decision. He is ready… He improves every game. Arco too is good enough for this year. I sure hope Yakimov will be ready next year to fill in the 3rd line center position. If not, MacT will have more room to maneuver next year. Especially if we don’t embarrass ourselves this year, and based on play so far this year, I don’t thhink is going to happen. I still think we have a shot at the playoffs.

      Ebs and Yak have got to get it going though. Yak and Ebs were pretty bad last night.

      • Randaman

        Playoffs? You are delirious if you think we have a shot. 0 & 5 against the west.
        Yes, Yak was not at his best last night but he is not getting enough time to get into the game.

        Ebs on the other hand gets another point on the backs of Nuge & Hall. He needs to be packaged for that #2C that we so badly need.

        We don’t need another Gagner or Hemsky scenario. Trade him while value is high and maybe somewhere that he can be protected because in my opinion he is unmotivated and playing scared.

        • YEGFan

          How can you say his point was on the backs of Nuge and Hall? That’s just a plain ignorant statement. You’re taking huge liberties with the series of events to deliberately degrade Eberle’s value on the play. He made a smart simple play to get the puck around a defender and spring Nuge on a breakout. It was a perfect second assist. You’re trying too hard to write a twisted narrative.

          • Randaman

            You have an opinion and I have my opinion but please don’t call me ignorant. I played the game, am a former season ticket holder and have watched this game since probably before you were born.

            Yes, you are correct in that it was a nice chip pass to Nuge. On the other hand how many times did he get knocked on his ass when he was along the boards in the offensive zone. Twice by my count and then he stayed out of the fray for the rest of the game.

            I pay close attention to Eberle and he is on the outside looking in on most nights so far this year. he is staying out of the way and it is showing.

            How is that for a twisted narrative.

          • YEGFan

            “Yes, you are correct in that it was a nice chip pass to Nuge.”

            Thanks.

            He got a point for a good play. Twisting it to imply he didn’t earn the point is obviously a twisted narrative.

            You can have an overall opinion about his contribution, but claiming his point last night was not earned, did not indicate legitimate contributions to a goal, and was another example of how he actually isn’t a contributing player despite his production, was ignorant.

        • Randaman

          Yak is getting the same ice time as all the other forwards on the team, aside from the top line. If Yak can’t get into the game with 13 minutes, that is his own weakness.

          West/East has nothing to do with anything, it is coincidence, and the fact that the west does have good teams in it. If we can beat TB and Washington, we can beat mid pack western teams… Just hasn’t happened yet. Way too much is made of that by the media. Eberle is not Gagner or Hemsky, that is for sure.

  • YEGFan

    Don’t trade a legit first line winger. Eberle is too rare to be dispensable. If the Oilers decide they want to trade for a second line centre now they should trade Draisaitl. His value is high, he is nowhere near as useful as Eberle is right now, and he is at least two years from being there. Quite frankly, it is entirely possible Draisaitl never becomes anywhere near as productive as Eberle, but his potential still holds a lot of value.

    • Spydyr

      So the Oilers are getting walked on in the west in a large part because they are too small.So your suggestion is keep the small one dimensional (offensive)winger something the team has plenty of and trade your biggest centre who may be a complete player one day and happens to only be 19.

      You must be part of the Oilers “braintrust.”

      • YEGFan

        I’m going to highlight the key part of your statement:

        “your biggest centre who may be a complete player one day ”

        He is their worst centre. He is their worst player at their weakest position. MAYBE that changes (I’ll agree it probably will). I assume you aren’t suggesting we trade Eberle for a small one dimensional centre, you should also assume I wouldn’t campaign to trade Draisaitl for a small one dimensional centre. The Oilers get worse or improve slightly by trading a first line player for a second line player, they get much better if they trade a currently bad third line player with high value, for a second line player. There are literally 20 teams who don’t have a better RWer than Eberle, he is not an easily replaced player.

        If they trade Eberle for a short term solution at centre to bridge the gap until Draisaitl is possibly able to fill the role, they are a worse team for the 4+ years after that (compared to if they kept Eberle and waited for Draisaitl). If you seriously want to make the team better short and long term, you trade Draisaitl. Otherwise you have to wait and hope he is adequate.

        • Spydyr

          Who said trade Eberle for a short term solution I said trade him for a “legit NHL top two centre.”

          You said “There are literally 20 teams who don’t have a better RWer than Eberle.”

          Offensive right winger sure,defensively or complete right winger not so much.

          To suggest trading the nineteen year old kid you just drafted before he or you realizes his potential is how you keep yourself in the infibuild(™)

          • YEGFan

            Yeah… don’t give me vague assessments like “defensively or complete right winger.” You need your wingers to score and not burn you in your own zone, he does that better than almost every other RW in the league. To suggest Eberle has been a huge defensive liability while playing against the Western Conference’s elite first lines is just not true. Call it Hall and Nuge carrying him if you want, you’re just writing a story to suit yourself. He was a Lady Byng candidate, it’s not exactly the highest honour the league bestows, but it generally goes to complete players.

            Eberle already is a long term solution to first line RW. Why do you act like that’s meaningless? The fact is, that is important.

            You want to improve now? You give up something of value. Draisaitl is not helping this team as much as Eberle is right now. Still, for all the reasons you’re using to argue that we keep him, he has value. Trade him for a long term solution at 2C. Don’t create a new problem for yourself.

          • YEGFan

            In fact, you shoot your own argument in the foot! If you trade Eberle for a “legit NHL top two centre” you don’t need Draisaitl. Furthermore, you have a hole a first line RW. Why do that!?

          • YEGFan

            “I bet given the chance the would do alright on the first line”

            That is not exactly the most compelling statement…

            I bet given the chance Arcobello would do alright as a first line centre between Eberle and Hall. We should trade Nuge!

            Yeah, Draisaitl has potential, if you think he is this team’s long term answer at 2C then you have to continue to be patient with the rebuild. If you want the team to make a trade that creates immediate improvement you trade the high value prospect, not the borderline elite 24 year old winger.

          • YEGFan

            Ok… why are you so set on keeping Draisaitl then?! Yeah, having 3 good centres would be a fantastic luxury, but with the salary cap it is hard to justify keeping them when they have to share the same finite amount of ice time. My point is that the overall benefit to the team will be greater if you keep Eberle and trade Draisaitl for an older long term solution.

            Take your own advice and try understanding my argument bud.

          • Randaman

            I actually wanted Bennett at the draft but I would keep Draisaitl because he is 19 and a center as opposed to a winger that we have an abundance of. I do understand your arguement. Eberle is a good palyer. I have never said different but he has the most value and in a package could get us a bonafied #2C for the long term. Drai would make a great #3C if MacT wants to go with this 4 line offence machine that he spoke about (Chicago model is what he referenced).
            My thoughts…

          • Spoils

            But Draisaitl has the one thing this team needs over all other things. SIZE.

            What about Perron and a package of picks/prospects. We are deep on the wing, and he’s coming off a career year…

          • Phuryous George

            I wanted Yakimov in the middle on line 3 to start the season. It probably would have been bad, but i just wanted as many BIG guys as possible dressed for a change.

  • Spydyr

    “He was a Lady Byng candidate”

    You can have all the Lady Byng candidates you want.Give me big, mean,fast and skilled players lets see who wins in the playoffs.

    • YEGFan

      I don’t disagree. You want him this year? Get him by trading Draisaitl, otherwise you make the team worse definitely short term and possibly long term.

      You want to twist the point of that statement by taking it so blatantly out of context? Fine, don’t pretend you’re making a good argument.

  • Spydyr

    The thing I keep wondering about all the suggestions to trade Eberle for a 2C is what team would possibly want to give us a good centre for a good winger?

    Centres are basically wingers with an extra skillset. If you have too many good centres, you play some of them on the wing. You sure don’t just trade them away unless you are getting a huge upgrade in return.

    Nobody is going to give up a good centre for a good winger unless its to solve a cap issue, in which case they probably don’t want a $6mil contract coming to them.

    • Spydyr

      Yet somehow this trade happened.

      Boston and Dallas agreed to a seven-player trade Thursday, with the Bruins sending forward Tyler Seguin, forward Rich Peverley and defenseman Ryan Button to the Stars for forward Loui Eriksson and three prospects (Joseph Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser).

      Loui Eriksson is a right winger.

      • m@s f@s

        And one of those prospect(s) could be a pick(s)… YEG…man, I thought there was no worse GM option out there. This was way too hard to read without typing. Abundance: at C and W. Trade away your best, highest ceiling option, at 19 (just turned) for someone older, more expensive and filling the same position?
        I hope you run your own business. Maybe you’ll get it straight through bankruptcy someday.

        • YEGFan

          You left out the part where the replacement was better. Older, more expensive, filling the same position, and actually helping us win games. Draisaitl has a high ceiling, but potential is potential and this whole discussion is predicated on making a trade to improve the team today.

          Thanks for the warm wishes. I understand Draisaitl’s value perfectly, it’s pretty clear everyone is willing to ignore facts when determining Eberle’s.

          Maybe during my inevitable bankruptcy I’ll use the whole “never mind the facts and numbers, this is how I feel about it” strategy and see where that gets me.

    • Phuryous George

      Trading Eberle wont get you a young legit 2C. It’ll get you….. Patrick Berglund. To wit, an older 3C with experience that the Oilers would slot in at 2C. So your right, we would’t get a good C for a good W, at least not comparable in age and upside. Oil lose this trade.

  • YEGFan

    To those who want to trade Eberle for a 2C; two questions:

    1) Why trade a top 10 (maybe even top 5 by pts) LW for a centre 31-60?

    2) what team has an abundance of 2C’s that they would trade one?

  • Spoils

    I like to daydream about a team that has relentless size. Kings style – EVERY SINGLE PLAYER is big. Not to get the thread back on the physics bus, but i just sense there is something that happens when there is no escaping the size.

    Given our small skilled guys, it seems impossible to achieve that – but maybe that could be the long long term plan.

    post Eberle era.

  • BigOil

    Maybe a little off topic but, Perron was an absolute sh!tbag last year and we all loved him for it. That seems to be missing from his game this year and doesn’t seem to be as effective. Maybe giving this kid a shot to do that for a game or two might get Perron going again.

  • YEGFan

    Draisaitl’s size isn’t making him a better player than Eberle right now. Maybe it does in the future, it’s still uncertain. Trade Draisaitl for a big centre who is good now and has several years left in him.

    Of course saying “I want to have two awesome big centres on the team and trade Eberle” is going to sound like a popular idea and get you up votes. You’re ignoring the fact that it won’t happen until 2017, if it happens at all.

    Pretending that the loss of a legitimate first line right winger will be insignificant is just crazy.

    Obviously I’m assuming Draisaitl has similar value to Eberle on the trade market, but I think that’s a fair assumption, depending on who you trade to. If you trade either of them for Jordan Staal for example (I know, no trade clause) I argue this team will be better this season, next season, and for 5 years after that, if they trade Draisaitl instead of Eberle. I haven’t heard anybody give any reason that I’m wrong other than Eberle is small.

    • Randaman

      I hate to burst your bubble but Eberle is not a legitimate first line RW on a strong play-off team which we are not.

      He is small and a periferal player. He does not hit, is weak on the forecheck, weak on the backcheck and so far this year has looked disinterested.

      Don’t get me wrong, in the right situation he can be a dynamic 2nd line RW that is not depended on to play against the opposition’s best and will benefit greatly from that.

      Value is High NOW! We need a quality #2C NOW!

      Not all our so called core will be here when we finally start contending. That is the sad truth in my opinion

  • bwar

    Guys just settle down a bit, did you forget that we already have Will Acton with the big club? How could we possibly have a player in the system better than the coaches son?

  • YEGFan

    People miss the point. I understand how valuable Draisaitl is. I don’t really think the best thing for this team long term is to trade him.

    However, if you want to talk about trading a high value asset for a 2C to help us now I think it is counter productive to trade Eberle instead of Draisaitl.

    Honestly, the guy puts up points like a first line RW. He plays against the opposition’s first lines. He does not get killed on advanced statistics. He is 24 years old, just starting his prime. He has scored consistently in his short career. He has good chemistry with Nuge and Hall. Ignoring all of these facts or writing them off as negligible seems absolutely crazy to me! Why is he no better than a second line RW? Because he looks soft to you? Seriously? Looking kind of soft and being kind of small supersedes all of those facts and accomplishments?

    I guess there is no point debating if people agree Eberle has no value to us and doesn’t make this team better. I think that premise is completely wrong. Eberle is valuable and losing him on our top line would have a significantly negative effect on the Oilers. I think it is completely debatable whether having a strong second line centre would counteract that to an extent that it wins many games.

    You want to talk perpetual rebuild? Start trading Hall, Nuge, and Eberle. Want to wait FIVE years for Draisaitl to be 24?

  • YEGFan

    So you want to trade our top end pick last yr who hasn’t even played a full season in the big leagues?
    I fail to understand your logic.
    First of all, neither are getting traded any time soon.
    And if it were me and i HAD to trade between a winger or a centre who can play wing as well, i would trade the winger. It is hard to find centres with size and skill like draisitl which is why the oilers are having issues with the depth at C and u wanna trade one??? NoBOdy is gonna trade a stud centre for “hopes and dreams”. Wake up and refrain from commenting with gigantic idiocy. Giveyour head a shake