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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

Home and Dry

As we get closer to opening night, the final roster choices for the Edmonton Oilers will have a lot to do with utility. Iiro Pakarinen brings a big shot plus a lot of energy. He has good speed, some PK acumen and a rambunctious style.

  • Todd McLellan on Pakarinen: “I’m happy for Pak, obviously he had a tough year last year. He knows he’s competing for icetime, maybe not a job but icetime. He showed up today and he competed really hard. The two goals were great, but the competitiveness in his game, playing hard all over the rink, getting the puck in and out when he needs to, the battles on the penalty kill, those were all noticed as well.” Source

USAGE

Todd McLellan used him in a specific role during Pakarinen’s healthy season (2015-16): 9:15 EV per game; 1:09 SH; 0:19 PP. He also had a reasonable PK rate (SA/60: 38.86, via NaturalStatTrick). That was two years ago, last year he didn’t play enough for the numbers to be reliable.

IIRO PAKARINEN 2016-17

  • 5×5 points per 60: 2.04 (4th among EDM forwards with >100 minutes)
  • 5×4 points per 60: nil
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 45.5
  • Corsi Rel 5×5 %: -3.6
  • DFF Elite 5×5 %: 46.90
  • DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: -2.2 (22 percent of TOI v. elites)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 15 shots/13.3%
  • Boxcars: 14, 2-2-4
  • (All numbers via Puck IQStats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference)

Pakarinen played in so few games a year ago it’s difficult to trust the totals or the rates. Still, he has had difficulty in possession through his career, as reflected also in his player card from the previous year.

IIRO PAKARINEN 2015-16

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.16
  • 5×4 points per 60: 5.86 (in 20 minutes)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 46.0%
  • Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -8.9%
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 76 shots/6.6%
  • Boxcars: 63GP, 5-8-13

The Oilers haven’t had a strong possession 4line in forever, maybe since Craig MacTavish although it’s also true the fourth line has been shifting sands for a long time. I think 2015-16 probably represents Pakarinen’s offense accurately.

WILL HE PLAY?

I think Pakarinen will be on the team as an extra forward and he could get a push via injuries and slumps. I don’t think he has enough offense to be an NHL regular but his shot is intriguing and the coach has been on his side for some time. He is young enough (26) to have a nice run as an NHL player, and the RW situation is in a state of flux in Edmonton. He (and Chris Kelly) has an advantage in that a player like Pakarinen can sit for days at a time without worrying about losing precious development time. The last cuts come down to Chris Kelly and several very young wingers. Iiro Pakarinen is probably home and dry.

 

  • OriginalPouzar

    I’m confident he will be on the team to start the year but likely not in the lineup.

    If the PK is an issue, as it might be, that could help get him in the lineup over a guy like Kharia or the two kids (one giant, one not so giant).

    • Joy S. Lee

      Actually, I wonder if he might start. Even if they keep the kids around for a few early games in the season, one of Strome, Jokinen, Khaira and Pakarinen could be rested to play a youngster, depending on who is playing well or not.

      They are still in experimentation mode, likely will be for the first eight or ten games. If the kids eventually go to other destinations, Pakarinen should have a spot in the lineup at least until Slepyshev is ready.

      McLellan has tremendous flexibility with this group, as there are lots of PP and PK options to run more than a couple units. This could be a big advantage for the team, as they can put fresh players out for every odd-man situation, despite whoever just finished a shift before a PP. It’s the type of thing that can win you games, so I expect the Oilers will take full advantage of their depth, and Pakarinen is part of that.

  • madjam

    On the other side of coin we have Khaira vying for that position , and frankly he seems more to be a regular full time player than Pakarinen or Kelly whom are more stop gap or injury replacement types . Then there is working Yamamoto and/or Puljujarvi into lineup that may also be more needed or higher precident p than worrying about a close 4th line personnel . I do not find Khaira much behind either in PK to be honest , but his size , speed and overall abilities look like they will be above the other two even this season . Not an easy decision to make , and I do not dislike any of them . I’d go with Yam and Khaira , but not sold Oilers will .