The most dangerous part of the internet, other than the HF and ON boards, is that you can get lost for hours when all you intended was to log on for a quick fact check. That happened to me last night -- I went looking for some world juniors stats and ended up hacking my way through more Finnish translations than I ever thought possible. If I keep this up, I'm going to be speaking Finnish in a month or so. In my travel down the roads that Al Gore wondrously paved for us, I found a January scouting report on Teemu Hartikainen from the SM Liga page.
Roughly translated, we get:
Plays hard all of the time
Linear player who drives strongly to the goal
He's able to use his size and power as an advantage
One shot scorer
Good in front of the net
Plays well in his own end
To be developed:
Skating and mobility are generally good but must improve explosiveness
Needs a structured system to operate
Not a creative player
"Another pearl out of juniors from Kuopio. He will have a big role after Christmas in the U20 competitions. I saw that he was playing in Uppsala in the world championships prep tournament. He was the only Finnish foward to dominate on both ends of the ice. He was a man among the boys. Extremely sporty, ripe, target-oriented and honest player." - Tommi Kerttula, Totalscouting
Take it with a grain of salt, I'm not sure of the weight that a report from Tommi Kerttula carries. However, it seems that this is a guy with a skill set that the Oilers desperately lack. Run this against the pieces that are missing in the system right now:
Ability in front: Check.
Goes to the net: Check.
One-Shot scorer: Check.
Plays well in his own end: Check.
I'm okay with the lack of creativity. Gagner has it in spades. He needs a goal scorer to do a ride-along with him.
Remember, Härski had an outstanding 18 year old season in the SM-Liga. He's going to win the top rookie award in the SM-Liga, he was the team's best player at the WJC. I'm comfortable with him as my number three prospect in the system.
From the comments on the page, it appears that Hartikainen's nickname is "Härski". Finns apparently nickname their teammates like Canadians do -- just add an "I" or a "Y". However, "Härski" translates to English as "Rancid". This is an absolutely awesome nickname.
Some fan descriptions from the comments:
Reliable, strong, plays intensely in both ends. Puts his whole heart into the team and does the heavy work. He is the Archetypal Finn: honest, hard-working, modest, humble but courageous and fights to the end. Always ready to help a teammate.
Canadian commentators have noticed the kid. His game rose a level in the last few games of the world juniors. Constantly developing.
And Härski is the future Selänne! The Finns have their own BryanBryOil!
Tough kid and the top candidate for the Wasama Trophy. The Wasama Trophy is the SM-Liga's rookie of the year award.
A typical power forward, but I think that he has some skills deficiencies. Does not read the game well.
A really good shot. Possesses some passing skill. Fast. KalPan's best player after Kapanen and Salshtedtin. Drives hard to the goal.
Definite NHL Player
Hartikainen is only getting better as season progresses. This kid should savor the fun as long as it lasts. What a rare 18-year-old!
Hartikainen has developed real tough player this season.
Great size and strength
So the fan sentiments echo the scouting report. Strong like a bull, good straight line skater, great shot, one shot scorer, is a rough and tough kid. He doesn't think the game and lacks creativity. I'm rooting for the kid.