According to Finnish site Iltalehti, Oilers forward Iiro Pakarinen has decided to take his talents to
South Beach Russia as he has apparently signed a contract with the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
I’m sorry, Oilers fans, the Little Buttcheeks era has ended in Edmonton as our favourite Finnish benchwarmer has decided to call it a day on his NHL dream. According to reports coming out of Finland, Pakarinen and Metallurg finalized a deal this morning that will see the fourth liner leaving North America and landing in the KHL with the two-time Gagarin Cup champion.
From the Finnish release (Note the hilarious player description that was probably a result of the translation, but still made me laugh):
Pakarinen’s NHL dream is for the time being over.
The 26-year-old striker thrilled in North America for the Edmonton Oilers organization for four seasons. Pakarinen was flying all the way between NHL and Oilers AHL clubs.
After signing with the Oilers as a free agent in June of 2014, Pakarinen (noted striker) was never able to make things stick with the big club and often bounced back and forth between the NHL and AHL. The former 7th round pick of the Florida Panthers had a breakout season in Finland immediately before arriving in the NHL (20G, 10A for 30 points for HIFK Helsinki), but was never able to have that translate to NHL success. While he was always a good soldier for the Oilers, the contract space will probably be better served on a younger prospect.
In 134 NHL games played in Edmonton, Pakarinen scored 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 career points. Last season, Pakarinen appeared in only 40 games with the Oilers, registering two goals and one assist for three points.
From an Oilers perspective, replacing Iiro Pakarin shouldn’t be overly difficult on the ice and frees up another spot on the 50-man list, though they may now need a new on-bench translator for Jesse Puljujarvi (likely to be Mikko Koskinen). That said, if translating English to Finnish was the biggest and best reason to keep the guy (and I can’t confirm that, it’s just my theory) then it’s probably not worth using up the roster spot. That’s not to say that I had anything against Pakarinen, but the dude is replaceable and this move is like dropping toast on the floor, butter side down. Sure, it could be upsetting to lose that piece of toast but it’s not like another would be all that hard to come up with.
For Pakarinen you’d have to assume that this is a bittersweet move for him. You know that the dude always dreamed of playing in the NHL, but probably never imagined himself yo-yoing back and forth between the Oilers and Condors. Such is life for a bottom-six player, I guess. That said, here’s hoping that Pakarinen finds some success in the KHL and finds himself in a role that sees him playing more than every other game. All the best, Iiro, I’ll be sad I can’t use my Little Buttcheeks meme anymore. Gord speed.
PAKARINEN’S CAREER WITH THE OILERS
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Source: Iltalehti, Finnish News Site, 4/23/2018 – 10:35 am MST