Oilers Sign Goalie Eetu Laurikainen

Laurikainen

After missing out on the Matt O’Connor sweepstakes, the Oilers made a move to improve their goaltending depth by signing Finnish goaltender Eetu Laurikainen. First order of business: How do we pronounce this guy’s name? I’m going with (Eat-you). 

It’s no secret that the Oilers don’t have much in terms of goaltending prospects in our little prospect stable. You want wingers? We’ve got wingers. Various flavours of defenceman? We’ve got ’em. Goaltending is another story entirely. Aside from Laurent Brossoit, the goaltending pool is very shallow and in desperate need of some love. This move is just the beginning.

So who is our new goalie? From Soft Mitts, Heavy Hits:

Standing just 6’0″, Laurikainen isn’t one of the physical giants that have taken over NHL creases in recent years. However, he’s an extremely athletic, even acrobatic player with excellent instincts that give him sound positioning. As a fairly small late bloomer, Laurikainen has remained undrafted, but has the potential to be a work-in-progress for an organization that has room for a developing goaltender.

What are his stats like?

Whether or not Laurikainen will crack the NHL roster will be seen in time, but for now it looks as though Peter Chiarelli has started checking things off his to-do list. I can’t imagine this will have much impact on Chiarelli’s plans to address the NHL goaltending issues, but it is certainly a good start at plugging the hole in the organizational depth. In the very least, we should expect Laurikainen to challenge Brossoit for the starter’s role in the AHL and that kind of competition is a welcomed change.


  • The_Angershark_Lives

    Neato!
    I’ve never seen the kid live, but a buddy of mine who played in Swift has given testament to his athleticism before. Respectable numbers, glad to have another goalie in the system

    I demand he continues to wear those artic cat pads tho. (even off ice)

  • The Last Big Bear

    Dear Nations Network,

    Having three simultaneous video ads constantly streaming, each of which also inexplicably has ITS OWN video ads, is pretty routinely crashing my browser when I try to open your sites.

    Don’t know if this is a regional thing or what (I’m in the US), but just thought you guys might want to know.

    -The Last Big Bear

  • Gordie Wayne

    Building goalie depth in organization has been identified and started…nice work Chia!

    This is only the beginning. Expecting the following:

    – 2 more goalies for NHL (a starter and capable backup that has the potential to be future starter)

    – Scrivens out (this will be hardest to execute)

    – 1 goalie picked in draft: likely a Euro that will develop overseas

    • Joy S. Lee

      I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they drafted two or three goalies this year to build the stable… unless they sign a bunch of previously undrafted free agents. But drafting a few would obviously strengthen the potential of that position immensely for years to come.

      The thing about goalies is that there is only one crease, but it is the most important piece of real estate on the ice. We only need one or two to rise above the rest, but you can never have too many at the same time… they can carry incredible value in future deals, too. Look at Vancouver… they’ve restocked the youth of their team by dealing quality goalies, and they keep coming up with more. I hate Vancouver. Can we please do this aspect better* than them?

      * – ps: Saw Chiarelli go after Malcolm Subban in Boston. He likes athletic goalies. Me, too. Point is, he understands the value of having a top goalie. We should be fine with him looking after this, and as a final note, I find Eetu’s numbers and progression to be a promising sign.

      • Gordie Wayne

        I agree with all of your points except one…there is no way they pick up 3 goalies in the draft, it is not Chia’s style.

        One goalie in this draft is reasonable, two would be unexpected, three would never happen.

        Through 9 drafts with the Bruins, he only selected 4 goalies in total…so I highly doubt he uses the draft to re-stock the cupboards.

  • Gordie Wayne

    My buddy is a locally based finnish sports writer will have to get the lowedown on this goalie.Finland seems to be a goalie factory,maybe a possible gem here.We need goalie depth.
    Maybe the next Kipper or Pekke.Heres hopin

  • His peers results:

    Metsola (25) 5-10” .936 SV% 56.4gm (28.0 sh/gm)

    Laurkainen (21) 6’0” .933 SV% 36.68gm (29.3 sh/gm)

    Rynas (25) 6’5” .939 SV% 39.7gm (23.1 sh/gm)

    Karhunen (25) 5’10” .930 SV% 21.05gm (25.7SH/gm)

    Raanta (23) 6’0” 185lb .943 SV% 43.25gm (30.8sh/gm)

    Kilpelinen (25) 6’0” 185lb .933 SV% 53.7gm (28.7sh/gm)

    Riksman (31) 6’1” 190lb .940 SV% 44.97gm (29.4sh/gm)

    Rask (20) 6’3” 170lb .929 SV% 47.87gm (30.4sh/gm)

    Backstrom (25) 6’1” 190lb .936 SV% 42.87gm (29.5sh/gm)

    Ramo (19) 6’2” 203lb .929 SV% 22.67gm (28.3sh/gm)

    T. Thomas (30) 5’11” 200lb .946 SV% 54.45gm (27.6sh/gm)

    Voukun (28) 6’0” 194lb .940 SV% 19.13gm (28.4sh/gm)

    Lehtonen (19) 6’4” 216lb .929 SV% 43.92gm (25.5sh/gm)

    Lassila (20) 6’0” 181lb .928 SV% 17.98gm (22.2sh/gm)

    Nittiymaki (21) 6’1” 209lb .937 SV% 24.97gm (27.5sh/gm)

    Nurminen (25) 5’10” 216lb .935 SV% 49.53gm (31.0sh/gm)

    His numbers were better at 21 than Rolosson at 30!

  • MGD

    People forget that we have 6 professional goalie holes to fill -incl. ECHL – and until now only have 2 pro goalies signed for next year.
    I don’t mind pursuing Subban so long as the price is right…bearing in mind he has been good at the AHL level, but not at all impressive in his NHL debut this year. I think Jacob Markstrom is another good unproven option; but i would not sacrifice the #16 pick for either of them at this stage of their development. When Jersey spent the #9 on Schneider he was a proven commodity who could step in as a #1 goalie immediately.
    We have 2 seconds and at least 2 thirds ( 3, depending on Montreal reaching the Eastern Finals). I’d much rather spend 2 of those picks or 1 plus a decent prospect (Marincin??). The #16 pick should either be kept (depending on who is still on the board at the draft) or used to acquire defense or a proven NHL goalie like Anderson.

  • MGD

    I love acrobatic goalies. Also, I really want a nasty tender. I want a 80’s horror slasher in net. You know, like Roloson. I want players to fear the net-front!

  • pkam

    It’s tough looking at organizations like LA, Ottawa, and Vancouver and just see their goalie factories.

    It is nice to get some depth and as I’ve said before on here this seems like a big strength for Chiarelli (I spell his name different every single time).

    I think part of the problem was until Tambellini did the only good thing for the organization and set up a development pipeline, goalies were not improving at the next level.

    As such, the Oilers are without a goalie after casting off the only one they developed at every stage of hockey since the Dub. Thus, my hopes are still to get a tender on a reasonable term and cost to come in and play number one, with Scrivens backing him up for one more year. Let Briossoit and Eat You fight it out in the AHL, then have the best one come and back up for a few years.

    Again, I still say spending money or assets on defence is going to go way further than getting a goalie that we hang out to dry on a nightly basis, but that’s just me.

    For example, for argument sake lets say both Seabrook and Crawford come with the same cost. Reason being the team is cap strapped, but Chi has viable goal replacements in Darling and Raanta. And Seabrook only has one more year on the contract. Thus, Crawford looks expendable and the best place to save cap, Seabrook looks like they will need to trade him, and try and get as much value as possible. So again, assuming they cost the same, and again just for argument sake, assuming that cost is our 16th overall and Marincin, would you rather spend that on Seabrook or Crawford. Heck, lets even say Seabrook would resign and be our top pair right side guy for the next 6 years. Crawford is already on contract I think for the next four.

    Personally, I’d rather have Seabrook come in and be the right side mentor for Klefbom or Nurse, and then have PC go out and get a cheap number one.

    Just saying, Ramo, Sodoburg, Seabrook, and Franson, would be a hell of a summer.

  • The cupboards are bare for Oilers goaltending prospects so this definitely is a good move. I imagine he was heavily scouted and there must have been enough good qualities there to warrant a contract. So good on this kid for playing well and earning himself a shot.

    Lets hope he intends to challenge and earn an AHL position and continue to gain experience at the North American game. A couple years in the AHL will give him a good test and provide a good indication of whether he can make the show or not.

    The Oilers need to be a team that is harder to make and too achieve this you need competition and hungry athletes that push themselves and compete hard to make the club. Now with Bunz and Brossoit, one can hope they all work on their games and battle hard and Oiler fans will get atleast 1 good goalie to help turn the ship around.

  • Poke Check

    “First order of business: How do we pronounce this guy’s name? I’m going with (Eat-you).”

    I’m going with more of a Shakespearean take from the play Julius Schultz:

    Et tu, Laurikainen?

  • Johnnydapunk

    Well as for pronunciation it’s like EH-too LAWRICK-ainen with the capitals indicating the stress of the word (I think that’s what it is called)

    As for Finland and goalies, there is a lot more of an emphasis on goaltending coaching there, and teams have goalie coaches pretty early on. The other thing is the rinks are generally a hybrid size so they are one of the few countries that play on a rink that is the midpoint between NHL and international ice. It’s an interesting compromise.

    I do wonder what they will do with Tuohimaa as his contract expires this year. Again the biased Finn half in me would be happy to see him resigned as he had some good moments and is quite young still.

    As for Laurikainen I’m not worried about his size as the nets haven’t changed in like 40 years so it’s not like he is the only 6ft tall goalie out there. When you don’t have size, you need positioning and athleticism and it seem he has at least one of the two which is good.

    Hopefully he does do well either at the AHL level or he shocks and does something at the NHL level, either way it’s a good move by Chiarelli. Hope we hear more signings with the WC winding down.

    • CDNinATL

      Both Finland and Sweden make goalie coaching a priority. That’s just starting to change in Canada for this upcoming season. It’s being based on Finland’s model.

      Here in the US, USA Hockey does nothing. My son is a goalie going into bantam this year and it’s been a concern of mine for some time. We have to pay extra just make sure he gets the training he needs.

  • CDNinATL

    Saw the guy play live. Was impressed. Not sure if this is important but he was very good for me in NHL14. Like this signing. No such thing as too much depth(especially at such a need)

  • Gordie Wayne

    My bet is Chia targets the goalie depth via free agent signings and minor trades. We’ve already seen him grab Eetu for just money (who is athletic and fits the mold Chia likes), and I bet we see the following:

    1. NHL Starter (i.e. Andersen or Niemi) – Niemi is obvious choice since it only costs money and no other assets (not my favorite but does have starter capability)

    2. NHL Backup that may morph into a #1 (pick up a UFA such as Ramo/Hammond/Neuvirth/Enroth/Lindback etc) – again this will not cost any assets other than money

    3. AHL Tender 1A: Broissoit

    4. AHL Tender 1B: TBD (but won’t be Bachman as Chia will want an up and comer)

    5. ECHL Tender 1A: Eetu Laurikokinen

    6. ECHL Tender 1B: TDB

    The AHL 1B and ECHL 1B will be signed from Europe, signed from AHL UFA pool, or he will make a minor prospect trade with another AHL team. You can count on all of them being athletic, having potential to grow and not just guys that have been around for awhile and are proven AHL options.

    I even think we might see him target a top future goalie in a trade that can compete with Broissoit with in AHL such as a Malcom Subban blue chip goalie prospect.

    • gus1000

      I would call Ramo a bonafide starter now. He was spectacular in the playoffs, returning from a late season injury. I would take him over Niemi. Ottawa won’t trade Anderson with Lehner injured semmingly all the time. Not sure he will make a full recovery.

      Enroth is a gamer, I think he would look good here too.

      I hope Bachmann gets re-signed as well. He has been playing well.

      • R U Kidding Me!

        So what happens to Bachman. He is older but can be a decent call up in case of injuries to the NHL club. He would also be a good mentor for the youngsters in the A.

        Is brosoit ready to be a regular NHL call up?

  • Eetu Huisman

    “First order of business: How do we pronounce this guy’s name? I’m going with (Eat-you).”

    Wrong. “E” is pronounced in Finnish like in the English word “hen”. Double e is just a longer version of that. T is pretty much the same as the regular English pronunciation, U is pronounced as in the English word “full”.

    In Finnish, the main stress is always on the first syllable.

    There actually happens to be an audio sample on the web by a native Finn: http://fi.forvo.com/word/eetu/

    There’s no audio sample for “Laurikainen”, but since Finnish has a very regular pronunciation, it’s not actually that hard to learn, even for a foreigner (unlike all other aspects of the language, unfortunately): http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/finnish.pronunciation.html