#35 / Left Wing / KalPa
May 3, 1990
Round 6, 2008 #163 overall
Wasama Trophy Winner, 2008-2009
Teemu Hartikainen's KalPa team finished the regular season in second place with 109 points in 58 games. They await their playoff opponent as the SM-Liiga's play-in round begins. Hartikianen was fifth on KalPa in points and tied for third in goals as he bounced between the second and third line throughout the season. Hartikainen's second year in the league was a big one as he completed his mandatory military service and took part in the World Junior Championships. Teemu was Finland's best player and leading scorer in the tournament, showing that he could play the North American game and was capable of handling the physical play and dishing it out at the same time.
Below is his season stat line along with his military service splits.
|2009-2010: Teemu Hartikainen||53
|Games 1-22: Teemu Hartikainen||22
|Games 23-53: Teemu Hartikainen||31
"...I've got a lot more energy because now I'm free and don't have to think about anything Army-related."
--Teemu Hartikainen, after finishing his mandatory military service.
The difference between his time in the army and his time after finishing his service is striking. His shot rate nearly doubled, and his his scoring rates followed. His +/- was outstanding and his even strength play was much better.
In my previous best guess, I said "I think that in order for the kid to become a legit impact prospect around these parts, he would have to post a minimum in the range of 20 goals and 38 points" based on the comparables chart below:
Hartikainen's full season numbers look suspiciously like Jere Lehtinen's rookie season in the the SM-Liiga, and tracks ahead of Ville Nieminen, Mikko Koivu, Sami Kapanen and close to Jussi Jokinen in their second seasons in the league. His scoring pace once he left the army equates to 22 goals and 36 points for a full season -- the impact prospect range. I've since found out that the comparables chart isn't so comparable, really, but I'll have more on that next week. After suffering multiple beatings to the body, psyche and in the win column at the hands of Jere Lehtinen over the last fourteen seasons, don't Edmonton fans deserve Lehtinen, part II?
So what do the Oilers have on their hands in Hartikainen? He posted a spectacular rookie season last year, and followed that up with an excellent (more so after his time in the army) second season that puts him in the range of Jere Lehtinen. Is Hartikainen going to be a reliable, physical second line player like Lehtinen, or is he going to be more of an end of the roster guy like Ville Niemenen? I'll be speaking with Teemu in the coming weeks and we'll find out about his plans for next year, when he's coming to North America and, like Anton Lander, if he likes Journey.