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
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 IQ, Stats.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.