WHAT’S BETTER THAN A FINN?

Players from Finland hold a special place for Oilers fans, dating back to WHA times. Names like Juha Widing (Swede born in Finland), Risto Siltanen, Matti Hagman, Jari Kurri, Esa Tikkanen, Janne Niinimaa and Jussi Markkanen represent some of the best (and most popular) players ever to don the Oil drop. The latest Finnish addition is Lauri Korpikoski, veteran two-way winger with a rich NHL resume. What could be better than a Finn? You’ll never guess!

Lauri Korpikoski was born in Turku, Finland on July 28, 1986. He was drafted into the NHL, first round of the 2004 Entry Draft, No. 19 overall to the NY Rangers. At 22, he hit the NHL running and played all but one season (his rookie year) in the desert with the Coyotes.

Korpikoski’s reputation is a speedy two-way player who won’t cheat for offense and plays an aggressive style. He can score goals but isn’t going to be a feature offensive player. His last two seasons have been uneven (last year was poor by his own standards) but the Oilers like him even with the struggles.

Edmonton’s forward group should be strong enough to play Korpikoski on the third or fourth line, but in a pinch Korpikoski could move up. If there’s a slump or injury, or a young player in need of a night in the pressbox, he might be able to slide up and help that way.

HERE’S THE KICKER….

Jouni Nieminen is a Finnish journalist who lives in Edmonton. He’s a freelance NHL writer for Finnish publications and has the BEST stories about Finnish hockey players who have played for the Oilers (his Janne Niinimaa stories alone will have you laughing and crying at the same time). Jouni passed along an interesting item to me and it’s definitely worth sharing:

  • Nieminen: Lauri’s father Jaakko is a Canadian citizen. Jaakko’s Mother and grandma were born in Timmins, Ontario. Lauri’s uncles still live in Northern Ontario, his family came back to
    Finland. So he drives F-150, and Dad is a Canadian. Regular Edmontonian.

Music! What’s better than a Finn! A Finn with Canadian ties! Korpikoski is at something of a crossroads after two seasons with some difficult moments, but there’s an opportunity to be part of an exciting young team in Edmonton. He could serve as mentor as well as getting his own career back on track.

  • Reg Dunlop

    After seeing what McDavid accomplished in the scrimmage, perhaps the following line combos might work…

    Korpikoski McDavid Eberle

    Hall Lander Draisaitl

    Pouliot RNH Yakupov

    Hendricks Letestu Klinkhammer

    each of the first three lines has a play maker, a shooter and a worker bee. The fourh line has honest, full effort chaos on it.

    I believe this would create serious matchup problems for any team.

    • oilerjed

      I gotta say that as odd as these lines seem, they look like they would be effective.
      If really needing a goal TM could bust them up and overload one maybe even two lines late in the game.

      It would be an interesting experiment for pre-season.

    • CMG30

      The Oil have created a money generating machine.

      All they need to do is:

      1) Take the worst player on their roster.
      2) Throw him alongside Hall and McDavid.
      3) Watch him score 50 goals that season.
      4) Talk about how you had this feeling that he was ready to “Pop” and how you would sure like to keep him if only it wasn’t for that darned cap…
      5) Trade him to Calgary for ALL THEIR PICKS!

      Repeat next year!

      • Joy S. Lee

        Korpikoski on a 1-year deal, may be that guy! Imagine getting an additional 1st round pick every year for the interim RW on that line? Eventually, you get to stick one of those first-rounders on his line, because we’ve traded all our 3rd and 4th liners for 1st round picks!! Lol.

        Actually, the real beauty of it is that this isn’t so far from the realm of reality as we might be thinking. Could be more like a high draft pick generating machine, ha ha. Makes reclamation projects – like Korpikoski – much more appealing.

  • CMG30

    From the article:
    “Korpikoski’s reputation is a speedy two-way player who won’t cheat for offense and plays an aggressive style.”

    I wouldn’t mind if he was set up with McDavid. It almost seems like the most rational thing to do…at least when McDavid is starting out in the NHL with less than 20 games under his belt.

  • oilerjed

    6 Goal scorer with Hall and McDavid because he can skate. Sounds like a Pat Quinn thing to do. Like putting JF Jacque with Horcov and Hemsky because he was big. How about hoping he can rebound from 2 bad years and be a 8 goal scorer on the fourth line. Lets have some reality.

  • oilerjed

    Lowetide one glaring omission,#29 Rexi Ruotsalainin.Won 2 cups.Was a key addition at playoff time.Correct me if I am wrong I think Tommy Salos mom was finnish.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Better? Easy – a sad but common misconception, it was never the Finns!

    Consider:

    1982-83 No one of note on the roster. No Cup.
    1983-84 Added McLelland. Cup.
    1984-85 Added MacTavish (and McSorley in the offseason). Cup
    1985-86 No Cup but there should have been. Anomaly.
    1986-87 McLelland, MacTavish and McSorley. Cup
    1987-88 McLelland, MacTavish and McSorley. Cup
    1988-89 Traded McSorley (and some Gretzky kid). No Cup
    1989-90 Added Norm McIver. Cup
    1990-91 McLelland gone. No Cup
    1991-etc. Fire sale. No cups
    2015 – MacDavid … you DO see where I’m going with this ….

  • Johnnydapunk

    It’s always pleasing to see oil fill the designated Finn role. I’m shocked that Ruotsalainen wasn’t mentioned as he always just magically appeared in the playoffs. Also Raimo Summanen was part of the glory days in the 80s but was one of those players that not many noticed.

    I think it is a certain mentality of Finns that Is similar to the mentality of Canadians (no nonsense, not fancy, just very grounded) and something strongly finnish called Sisu which is (kindof roughly translated) fighting with a tenacity and against all odds and not giving up. Finland has a very odd history especially regarding wars so I think that has become a factor in the Finnish mentality and it’s like one thing you won’t have from a Finn is giving up (generally)

    In the end I’m just happy that the Oil seem to be doing the right things and I’m just hoping that Korpikoski is more Tikkanen than Joensuu.