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.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) July 1, 2015
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.
“I have time for Korpikoski and I know he underperformed.” -Chiarelli on the boy named Lauri #RecapByBM
— OilersNation (@OilersNation) July 1, 2015
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.