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Sunday, August 5, 2012

PROSPECT OR SUSPECT "Teemu Hartikainen"

Teemu Hartikainen
6’1 215 lbs
AGE: 22

Year         GP   G     A     P      +/-     Team
2008/09      51    17   6      23     -8     KalPa Kuoplo
2009/10      53    15   18    33     +6    KalPa Kuoplo
2010/11      66    17   25    42     -1     OKC Barons
2010/11      12    3     2      5       -3     Edmonton Oilers
2011/12      51    14   18    32     +1    OKC Barons
2011/12      17    2     3      5       +1    Edmonton Oilers

Teemu is coming into his 3rd season in the Oilers North American system. This is his time to shine should he be afforded an opportunity to have a future with this team as we see it now, and it's rising stars. The Oilers need his hard forechecking style in the offensive zone but they also need to see some improvement in his defensive play when without the puck.

There are few players like Hartikainen available anywhere, the only question remains for Teemu is can he perform at the level once again that we saw on his first call up in 2010/11? Coach Nelson says he should be ready and pushing hard for that final spot on the Oilers roster and I tend to agree. While I love his game when he is playing well, his ability to play it night after night leaves the big question about his future. I know the Oilers really like this fellow and all indications are saying he will be given every opportunity coming out of training camp to claim a spot to start the season on the big club.

Last August 2011 , I wrote the following here at Oilers Jambalya...
Hartikainen is known for his leadership as well as gritty and physical play back in finland. Not sure as a rookie if he displayed the leadership in OKC but the gritty and physical play remained both in OKC as well in his end of the year call-up with the Oilers. Hartikainen has good size and willingness to get his hands dirty. Described by Oiler brass after the draft as a ‘Tomas Holmstrom’-type player” for the way he battles all over the ice, especially in the corners and in front of the net.

 On the downside, Hartikainen’s skating has been described somewhere between ‘lacking’ and ‘atrocious’.  I myself thought when I saw him in his time with the Oilers last year, his speed has looked more developed from previous years camp. It has been noted that he likes to “chirp at the opposition and whine to the officials a lot”. Not sure about the whining but definately the chirping seems accurate. He plays a very physical game in his own end, in front of the net and on the forecheck. Teemu likes to play a very physical brand of hockey and has soft hands around the net, which is exactly why the Oilers are so high on him.

Before being drafted, his high end was thought to be that of a third or fourth-line checking forward. However, I would say there is some possibility from what was seen in his development last year, he could eventually in the future become a option to fill in on a second line from time to time.

REVS TAKE: Teemu has done well, proving to the Oilers he will do whatever it takes. He never will be a ppg player, but if he can crash and bang and make the ice more open for the young stars of the Oilers, he very well may find a spot even in the top 6. Should Hartikainen get opportunity to play top 6 it will mean one of three things. Either Hemsky or Yakupov are on the third line OR there is a injury and he slots up a spot. Let's just hope he earns it. He is still young and growing into a physical beast of a man. He has some time still left to show the Oilers the whole package. I say he is a good PROSPECT

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