DON’T FORGET ABOUT IIRO

pakarinen ferguson 1415one

Edmonton Oilers fans have fresh new names to discuss this summer and we’re all anticipating Connor McDavid’s arrival this fall. Added to the gifted incumbents (you know their names) and the grizzled veterans (you know them too, not sure they’d like being called grizzled) there’s not much room up front for youth not named Connor or Leon. There might be room for one name, though. His name is Iiro.

The natural order of things suggested last fall that the kids who turned pro in 2011 would be graduating to the NHL. For the Oilers, that would have been Tyler Pitlick,
Anton Lander, Curtis Hamilton, Ryan Martindale and Cameron Abney. For multiple reasons, some or all of those men would find the 2014-15 season a revelation, and for outsiders like Pakarinen career opportunity would come knocking. 

Iiro Pakarinen arrived at Edmonton Oilers training camp and spent the entire time getting noticed in a good way. That’s important for a prospect without a lot of history with the coach, and Pakarinen showed speed, skill and aggressiveness right off the plane. NHL coaches like sturdy wingers with speed who play a rugged game, like them even more if they can score. Iiro Pakarinen had a solid training camp.

  • Dallas Eakins September 2014: “(Pakarinen) seems to be getting under a fair number of our guys’ skin, we like to see that. We like to see the compete, he’s come as advertised.” Source

AHL TO START!

Pakarinen’s season saw him spend time in Oklahoma City and Edmonton, while also suffering a knee injury. Here’s how it looked as it happened:

  • October in Oklahoma City: 6GP, 5-3-8, three power-play goals and 19 shots
  • November in Edmonton: 5GP, 1-0-1
  • Pakarinen on his first NHL goal:“I don’t even remember. I was a little bit shocked. It was so fast
    of a situation. I jumped on the ice and the rebound was there and I
    tried to shoot as hard as I can.”
    Source
  • November in Oklahoma City: 7GP, 3-1-4
  • December in Oklahoma City: 13GP, 2-3-5
  • January in Oklahoma City: 13GP, 7-4-11
  • February in Edmonton: 12GP, 0-2-2

Notice the offensive spikes in OKC just before each recall—he forced their hands by playing so well there was no other choice. When does draft pedigree stop counting? The day after the draft, or at least that should be the case.

FEBRUARY 28, 36 SECONDS

He would miss the final 19 games of the season due to a ‘sprained right knee’ and things look on track for the coming year. My google translate isn’t perfect but it sounds like Mr. Pakarinen’s young family will be coming over this year for the winter. Source

2015-16

At this time of the year, top picks like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are on our mind as we project into next season, and players we’ve never seen—like Anton Slepyshev—spike our interest because we’re curious about the possibilities.

If we’re talking about potential depth wingers on the Oilers—behind the obvious choices—don’t forget about Iiro Pakarinen. We all have our favorites entering camp, but we’d do well to remember the Finn who announced his presence with authority one year ago. He’s coming to training camp in September and the boards at Rexall are already trembling.

The young man has a real chance to have an NHL career.

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

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I also think Iiro has a solid chance of winning a spot this season, if not at the beginning then in mid-season because of injuries or strong play at Bakersfield. For me he projects as the kind of hard-nosed bottom six winger in the $1m-or-a-but under range that every team needs. Long term I like him better than Pitlick.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      I like Iiro better than Klinkhammer, myself.

      A forth line of Parkerinen-Letestu-Pitlick could be a good one in a year or 2, imo.

      I hope Pitlick stays healthy longer than 2 shifts this year, and his career for that matter.

    • nuge2drai

      He had a terrible season in the juniors and his attitude was negatively commented on a few times. Seems like he misses Yakimov as they played really well together. Feel bad for him because of the fiasco signing last season. Doesn’t seem much likelihood that he will get an invite – but who knows?

  • billythebullet

    Worst case scenerio for Liro might be wing man for Leon and Andrew Miller on Bakersfield number 1 line. Not a bad situation to help put up points and get a recall eh?!

    • nuge2drai

      Oiler Domination To Follow

      I’d make one small change:

      The first line in Bakersfield;

      Slepyshev- Yakimov – Pakarinen

      Nurse- Rienhart

      Brossoit

      This line sure will be fun to watch.

  • Aendayana777

    Pakarinen is exactly the type of players we need on the team…he can skate he can shoot and most of all he can hit. There’s no reason why he can’t make the 4th line and has potential to be more than that. He can put the puck in the net so him on the 3rd line eventually after Percell is gone is not out of the question. He hurt himself late last year coz he was lining up a guy for a hit on the forcheck and sorta caught an edge. I’ve always liked him and he’s still young so if he gets a chance he could surprise. Go Oil!

  • fran huckzky

    sorry but we have no room for this……but thanks for coming and giving it your all

    “Pakarinen Goals On Differential: +17 Even Strength, +26 All Strength.
    43 Total GF On, 17 Total GA On (71.67%)

    our team is composed of 1st overall don’t you know, only room for 1st rounders and norris like potential here, you’ll simply have to find a new team to play for iiro.

    can we just trade the kid already, good lord he’s from europe and likely heading back anyways he has no value here

  • nuge2drai

    Iiro the Hero stands a good chance of making squad this season considering our RW deficiencies from last year . we currently have two lefties playing RW in Yakupov and Klinkhammer . Only Eberle and Purcell shoot right . Thus ,Pakarinen and Pitlick should get a good look . Both rated at 6.5 in hockey prospects , which is not overly high . Probably a reason we still have Purcell . We need to upgrade our RW position as it is probably our weakest link on offence . Same can be said for probably our RDefence as well .

  • nuge2drai

    I think Klinkhammer has a little more value than given credit for. It is extremely tough to be a 4rth liner in any league and be effective. It is not a situation you can just throw a rookie into. Imagine sitting for most of a period and then thrown out with the expectation that you provide energy to get the team going and knowing that if you don’t, you will sit again.It takes a true professional to be effective in those situations and Klink does a good job.

  • Puck JammeR!

    Iiro should be playing with Tkachev next year in the German B league. Maybe they can convince Jonesu to round out the line of players that will never play in the NHL for other than a handful of games.

      • Serious Gord

        I’m being serious….every year guys like you have some flavour of the month that you think is going to make the team, Tkachev,Iiro,Hartikainen,Omark,Paajarvi….doesn’tmatter but they all wash out in Europe and you think they didn’t get a shot.

        • Randaman

          FYI, I have never said any such thing. Don’t group everybody together on a forum where everybody has differing opinions.

          I was never a fan of Paajarvi (soft), Tkachev (flavor of the month as you say), Hartikainen (inconsistent) or Omark (You-Tube one hit wonder).

          I do however like Iiro as he fills a need we haven’t filled with youth yet.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            ^right on! i just don’t understand all the love for the above guys when it’s obvious they can’t play consistent enough to play NHL hockey on a regular basis and contribute. Paajarvi is the only one that may have finally shown something in the AHL by having a solid half season, and he’s now 24.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            Agreed now think about this has any oiler prospect drafted out of the first round for what I’ll call the Lowe era (everything before Chia)played/s on the oilers full time? Or NHL?

            Theres one in NHL I can think of Petry and we decided to le the only player we developed outside first round go for much less than his value at deadline last year.

            Hopefully Iiro makes it and shows that our player development plans can at least work sometimes.

          • Joy S. Lee

            Hate to break it to you… and it’s more an indictment than compliment to the very department you were chastising, but I don’t think we drafted Iiro; free agent signing? A good one, apparently, but the credit probably goes more to pro-scouting than amateur.

  • JackB

    Our roster is full (23) right now, without Draisaitl, Pakarinen, Nurse or Reinhart making the starting line-up. (23 + 1 with Reinhart listed as a roster player – see Oilers Website)

    If both Draisaitl and Pakarinen make the starting roster, then two of Gadzic, Pitlick or Klinkhammer have to be traded or waived.

    GADZIC, KLINKHAMMER and PAKARINEN are our “sandpaper” guys ! (and only Pakarinen and Draisaitl are “waiver exempt.) (GOING TO MAKE FOR AN INTERESTING TRAINING CAMP !!) (Haven’t had that problem for years . . . and Yakimov and Slepyshev are KNOCKING ON THE DOOR !!)

    On defence, if Reinhart or Nurse make the starting line-up, Nikitin will have to be waived to Bakersfield (don’t think he’s tradeable). Chiarelli thinks Reinhart is ready now to play in the NHL, so that makes 23 +1 (Nikitin then HAS to be waived to Bakersfield)

    And what happens if Nikitin shows up in shape this year (surely the guy has to have some pride??) And what if the guy REALLY CAN PLAY ??

    We certainly have more depth this year, and personally, I LOVE TO SEE Draisaitl, Nurse, Reinhart and Pakarinen . . . ALL . . . ALL . . . have a really good camp, show they are good enough to make the team, and push the coaches to some VERY DIFFICULT DECISIONS !!

    We haven’t had this problem for YEARS . . . and it’s going to be a VERY, VERY interesting training camp this year !! (COMMON YAKIMOV and SLEPYSHEV . . . DO SOME PUSHING TOO !!)

  • Randaman

    just imagine in 2-3 years from now we can bpotenitally boast a lineup of:

    Hall/McDavid/Eberle

    Draisaitl/RNH/Yakupov

    Slepyshev/Lander/Pakarinen

    Moroz/Yakimov/Chase

    if we coukd develop and grow this lineup, i can see the 80s again.

    • Serious Gord

      Like your potential line up. I would only make a couple of tweaks.

      Hall/McDavid/Yakupov

      Pouliot/RNH/Eberle

      Slepyshev/Draisaitl/Pakarinen

      Lander/Yakimov/Chase

      To me, this allows for that mythical beast known as 3 scoring lines.

      • Serious Gord

        Put those three lines up against any of the California teams top three lines for a playoff series and you will realize that they won’t stay intact long enough to get to a cup.

  • JackB

    Who knows more about Korpikoski and Letestu? Do they have some “sandpaper” in their game? Will they stick up for our young guns if they get run? (It’s reported that Gryba will certainly do that!)

    And we know that Gadzic, Klinkhammer and Hendricks have that in their game. And I think Lander has a bit of feistiness in his game (didn’t he do a bit of “face washing” last year?) I know he isn’t afraid to go to the front of the net (not quite like Smitty did – but he’ll go there)

  • JackB

    You know, I’ve been thinking more and more about the possibilities for this year. And I realize that the decisions the coaches have to make are about ability . . . BUT . . . the decisions also have to be about asset management!

    We’ve got some pretty promising assets now, and we don’t want loose any . . . so maybe the decisions at training camp will also be about who is “waiver exempt”? Maybe Pakarinen and Draisaitl don’t make the team right out of the chute (because they are exempt from waivers) . . . and the coaches know they can come up REAL QUICK if there are injuries (and there always are)

    Also, if Draisaitl doesn’t play a full season this year, his bonuses will be lower (affecting the cap) . . . BUT TRUTHFULLY, I sincerely hope that that won’t affect management decisions . . . IF DRAISAITL EARNS A SPOT . . . GIVE IT TO HIM !!

    THE SAME THING GOES FOR NURSE !! (unless spending 1/2 the year in the AHL would better help his development!)

    Nurse is definitely going to be a stud defenseman! (and maybe I stretched it a bit in previous posts when I called him “the next Pronger”? – I hope not !) But . . . PLEASE CHIARELLI . . . PLEASE . . . develop this young man the right way!! He’s one of our budding superstars,

  • Joy S. Lee

    OILERS poised to have at least 4 prospects on opening roster . Here is why . Hockey futures have Oiler prospects rated highest in league , and 4 basically can’t miss ones in McDavid a 10.0 (yet to be put on our list ) , Nurse , Draisaitl and G. Reinhart a whopping 8.0 . Not surprising considering where we have been drafting the last 5 years . Next closet is Buffalo and Nashville for talent rated that high . This would be the season to use them all on main squad , so they can properly evaluate not only how they fit in , but also properly evaluate the FAB 5 and how they fit in with them moving forward . So start forming your lines around the 4 that should be on roster this season . RW is an area where one more newbie might be employed as it is a weakness a lot of clubs appear to have . We still need a Power Play QBack to trade for and / or emerge if Nurse not up to it and Schultz has yet to solidify that he can due to lack of point shot basically . Pakareinen and Pitlick only rated a 6.5 talent wise and will be in tough to make squad even though RW is one of our main weaknesses .

  • Serious Gord

    Kinkhammer should be looking over his shoulder at Iiro. If there is a player he is most likely to knock off, its Klink. Klink has ZERO offence and if Iiro can play a solid two-way game, knocking Klink to the press box is possible.

  • Double Dees

    @Randman and JackB

    My point is aside from the obvious (McDavid) the Oilers have 3 class A prospects, Nurse, Reinhart and Chase IMO. All the others might get a cup of coffee at some point by I don’t see Khaira,Moroz,Musil,Pak,Simpson,Slep,Yakimov,etc having any long term future with the Oilers and some on this site tend to overvalue these types of guys every year. I didn’t see any jam in Pak at any point last year. Ya he played ok but this “pest” or “irritant” they are talking about ….sorry I just didn’t see that. I mean did he do what Ferland did in the playoffs? That’s what I would consider effective…and I can’t stand Flames.

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    Is this what it’s like to have competition for jobs?

    I’m having feelings that I can’t explain.

    Maybe went I’m a little older I’ll start having hair in new places and getting playoffs!