Teemu Hartikainen, The Next Mikko Leinonen? Niko Kapanen? Jere Lehtinen?

How high is the ceiling for Harski? Photo © Bruce McCurdy, all rights reserved.

Jonathan Willis' methodology of normalizing stats to compare players over time has helped us find the comparables of Bobby Clarke, Dave Keon and Bobby Carpenter for Sam Gagner.  It's helped us recognize that Magnus Paajarvi statistically compares to Michael Nylander, Peter Forsberg and Mats Lindgren.

Teemu Hartikainen has already has his fair share of words devoted to him in columns here at The Copper & Blue, and I've spent time finding comparables for his 18-year-old season as well as his military service-marred 19-year-old season.  I've been saying for awhile that Hartikainen is somewhere between the vast space that separates Jere Lehtinen and Ville Niemenen.

Now we can use Willis' methodology to find statistical comparables for Hartikainen. From Jonathan's excellent article on Sam Gagner:

To make comparisons a little fairer, I went back to the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, and looked at all the forwards who a) were 6’1" or shorter b) played in the NHL in their first year of eligibility and c) didn’t have a truckload of penalty minutes. I then took those players and adjusted their offence to reflect an NHL season in which teams averaged three goals per game, and projected that offence over an 82-game schedule. 

Unfortunately, due do data limitations, I could only compare Finnish forwards that eventually played in the NHL.  I normalized the 18 and 19-year-old FInnish league seasons of every Finnish forward to make the NHL, then adjusted it for a 58 game season in which the average team goals per game was 2.75 (the average team goals per game in the SM-Liiga over the five yeas has been 2.72) and attempted to find the ideal statistical comparable for Teemu Hartikainen.

First up are the adjusted comparable 18-year-old seasons.

 

Player Year G A P P/G
Mikko Leinonen 1973 29 15 44 0.758
Matti Hagman 1973 34 10 44 0.758
Olli Jokinen 1996 14 27 41 0.707
Veli-Pekka Ketola 1966 24 16 40 0.688
Jari Kurri 1978 18 16 34 0.580
Mikko Makela 1983 18 12 30 0.518
Janne Ojanen 1986 17 13 30 0.514
Teemu Hartikainen 2008 20 7 28 0.475
Antero Lehtonen 1972 22 5 27 0.473
Tuomo Ruutu 2001 8 18 26 0.453
Sami Kapanen 1991 15 10 25 0.436

 

Antero Lehtonen had an extremely similar season by the adjusted numbers, and outscored Tuomo Ruutu and Sami Kapanen.  He was in the general vicinity of Mikko Makela.

Next up are the adjusted comparable 19-year-old seasons

Player Year G A P P/G
Olli Jokinen 1997 19 48 67 1.159
Mikko Makela 1984 36 26 62 1.072
Matti Hagman 1974 36 19 55 0.948
Tuomo Ruutu 2002 24 30 53 0.920
Saku Koivu 1993 23 30 52 0.903
Arto Javanainen 1978 32 18 50 0.868
Janne Ojanen 1987 19 28 47 0.805
Veli-Pekka Ketola 1967 21 23 44 0.757
Jussi Jokinen 2002 16 27 43 0.741
Risto Jalo 1981 18 21 39 0.679
Jari Kurri 1979 22 16 38 0.653
Ville Peltonen 1992 13 24 38 0.650
Teemu Hartikainen 2009 16 19 36 0.613
Hannes Hyvonen 1994 20 15 35 0.612
Anssi Melametsa 1980 14 22 35 0.608
Mikko Leinonen 1974 20 13 32 0.560
Mikko Koivu 2002 11 21 32 0.552
Tomi Kallio 1995 13 19 31 0.541
Raimo Helminen 1983 17 14 31 0.528
Marko Jantunen 1990 9 21 31 0.527

 

Makela is now well-clear and Ruutu establishes himself as an excellent offensive presence.  Olli Jokinen's breakout season at 19 looks all that much more impressive when viewed in this light.

On the other hand, Hartikainen is still clear of Mikko Koivu and both Sami Kapanen and Jere Lehtinen are well down the list.

That means that a very small group of players are in the range over the course of two seasons

Player Year G A P P/G
Year G A P P/G
Mikko Leinonen 1973 29 15 44 0.758
1974 20 13 32 0.560
Matti Hagman 1973 34 10 44 0.758
1974 36 19 55 0.948
Olli Jokinen 1996 14 27 41 0.707
1997 19 48 67 1.159
Veli-Pekka Ketola 1966 24 16 40 0.688
1967 21 23 44 0.757
Jari Kurri 1978 18 16 34 0.580
1979 22 16 38 0.653
Mikko Makela 1983 18 12 30 0.518
1984 36 26 62 1.072
Janne Ojanen 1986 17 13 30 0.514
1987 19 28 47 0.805
Teemu Hartikainen 2008 20 7 28 0.475
2009 16 19 36 0.613
Antero Lehtonen 1972 22 5 27 0.473
1973 10 8 18 0.302
Tuomo Ruutu 2001 8 18 26 0.453
2002 24 30 53 0.920
Sami Kapanen 1991 15 10 25 0.436
1992 5 22 27 0.459

 

Unlike Paajarvi, there are no clear-cut comparables using this methodology.  His statistical performance puts him in the class of some very heavy Finnish hitters.  He impressed during rookie camp, showcasing his relentless work on the boards and his power game.  He also back-checked extremely well, and by the eye, he actually does look like a rough-around-the-edges Jere Lehtinen. The Willis Methodology gets us no closer to finding a comparable for Hartikainen and he still exists in the statistical aether.  If he keeps up this level of play, Hartikainen will be his own comparable.

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