Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

Iiro Pakarinen leaves Oilers, lands in KHL

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.

Anyone disagree?

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.


Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2014-15 Oklahoma City Barons AHL 39 17 11 28 20 17
2014-15 Edmonton Oilers NHL 17 1 2 3 2 -4
2015-16 Bakersfield Condors AHL 4 1 2 3 4 0
2015-16 Edmonton Oilers NHL 63 5 8 13 8 -10
2016-17 Bakersfield Condors AHL 5 0 1 1 4 2
2016-17 Edmonton Oilers NHL 14 2 2 4 2 2 1 0 0 0 0
2017-18 Edmonton Oilers NHL 40 2 1 3 6 1
2017-18 Bakersfield Condors AHL 18 9 4 13 2 3
NHL Totals   134 10 13 23 18   1 0 0 0 0


Source: Iltalehti, Finnish News Site, 4/23/2018 – 10:35 am MST

  • Spydyr

    Well, they had to improve the bottom six anyhow. No great loss.

    The thing is I have very little faith , if any , in the Oilers pro scouts getting the right players. Signing undrafted college kids gets you players like Benning and Caggiula. Place holders at best. A hindrance at worse.

  • TKB2677

    OH NO!!!! What will the Oilers do not having another borderline NHLer in their line up?

    On a serious note. I am totally fine with it. I didn’t see a reason they would bring him back. He’s a guy that can be in your line up, not get crushed but contributes very little.

    • RexHolez

      Better then having guys who do get crushed and contribute very little.

      I wish him well, I always liked him. Best way for an Oiler player to have success is to not be an Oiler.

      • TKB2677

        Well I guess if your goal for the team is to have guys that don’t do anything to contribute to a win, then OK. The guy plays 40 games and has 2 goals and 1 assist. That isn’t even average 4th liner numbers.

        • RexHolez

          Not saying I loved pak or that we’ll badly miss him. But he was a good PK’r and that’s something we desperately need, guys who fill a role in the bottom 6

        • crabman

          I’m still of the mindset that if the top3 forward lines can score it’s perfectly fine getting nothing from your 4th line as long as they don’t give anything up. They typically get around 8 minutes a game and another 1-2 minutes on the pk. I liked Pakarinen for the same reason I liked Lander. Bad things didn’t happen when they were on the ice and they were the best pk players on a bad pk team. Pakarinen was a plus player in his limited role the last 2 years. This year he had the 3rd lowest ga/60 on the pk of all forwards that played at least 1 minute. He was not part of the problem on the pk he was part of the solution. Those type of players seem to be a dying breed in today’s NHL but I’d still have time for them on my 4th line. It certainly won’t break us not having him back but I hope whatever they bring in to play in the 4th line, 13th forward rule can kill penalties as good or better. Our PK can’t afford to get worse.

  • Dan 1919

    For a basement team to lose one of their fringe players means very little. Too many of our fringe guys underperformed last year including Pakarinen, Caggiula, Slepyshev.
    Best of luck to him.

    • TKB2677

      I am curious what your expectations for Caggulia was? He had 13 goals. I am not a Caggulia fan but at the same time 13 goals from a bottom 6 guy making less than 1 mill, I will take it every time.

      • Dan 1919

        Same frustration watching him as most of the Oilers I guess. Like Lucic, the play just always seemed to die on his stick. It was so consistent throughout the lineup though that I often wondered if it was the offensive system the coaches implemented. Sure the Oilers’ roster wasn’t great(I predicted them to miss the playoffs or sneak in), but they aren’t so bad as they played where they seemed handcuffed against the opposition on most nights.

        A huge part of the lower forwards being effective boils down to the d-men breaking the puck out properly though, which wasn’t happening. So in large, if the Oilers’ either improve, or play like a solid team, you’re probably right, Caggiula may fit in just fine.

        Not saying he’s the problem, just saying I was underwhelmed by the majority of Oilers this season, including Caggiula.

    • crabman

      It might not be up to the Oilers. There was a report out of Russia a couple months ago that Slepyshev was set to return to the KHL. I hope this isn’t true. I would like to see him at least 1 more year as an Oiler.

    • Big Nuggets

      I’m not sold on Slepy. To my eyes he doesn’t have the ability to compete in the top six and he is versatile enough forbthe bottom six. Perhaps with the right linemates he could get on a roll but I don’t see it happening.

  • crabman

    I was a fan of Pakarinen. The PK was always better when he was in the lineup. Unfortunately he provided almost zero offence and therefore was never an everyday player.
    I fully expected he would be gone next year but I would have been perfectly happy with him as the 12rh or 13th forward. He provided scoring in the AHL but it never translates to the NHL.
    I wish him well and I’m sure he will succeed over in the KHL.

  • llong33

    In the wise words of Gene Principe I guess you can say, he is “Packing Er In” from the NHL. Get it? get it? anyone? *high fives all around* I can just hear Gene now saying this pun.