Oilers January NHLE - Teemu Hartikainen Marches On

Photo by Rob Ferguson via www.okchockey.com, with permission, all rights reserved.

When I thanked Teemu Hartikainen for once again kicking his game into high gear in December and allowing me the appearance of knowing what I'm talking about, he refused to take any credit for his rediscovered scoring touch.  He credited "spring" for being a better season, the extra ice time and Milan Kytnar.  As for me knowing what I'm talking about, his only response was "Ha!". 

But Hartikainen has turned it on since the beginning of December.  At the time I published the initial look at his early pre-November, post-November splits, Hartikainen's career points per game average after November 30th was .689, in sharp contrast to his pre-December number of .417.  This season, his pre-December P/G came in at .478 and thus far since the beginning of December, he's chugging along at an impressive .778 P/G.  Should he maintain .778 P/G through the end of the season, Hartikainen will post a 55 point season for Oklahoma City.  As it stands, Hartikainen is the third-leading rookie scorer in the AHL and is in the race for rookie of the year.

When he added two points to his projected NHLE 82 game projection in November, it was interesting.  When he added two more to that number in December, it was expected.  But his January performance has added another four points to his NHLE 82 and the whispers about adding a little bit of Suomi to the Oilers are getting louder.  Lowetide believes Hartikainen has earned a a turn in Edmonton, and it's tough to disagree.  Our Oklahoma-based Barons writer Neal Livingston agrees:

Good teams, at any level, find ways to win. Sometimes that comes in the form of a specific play, or victory. However, the spark plug for the Barons of late has been Teemu Hartikainen. He quietly has become a leader on this team. With Liam Reddox and Linus Omark gone, I think most fans turned to Colin McDonald or Alexandre Giroux to fill the gap, and indeed they have. However, the emotional play on the ice seems to be radically linked to how strong Hartikainen plays on a given night. 

The faithful 'Copper & Blue' readers have heard the love-fest for our Finnish friend, but he's certainly causing a stir within his team, and in the minors. Selfishly, let's keep him in Oklahoma City for a while so that he can develop his game; unselfishly, he deserves a shot, even as a rookie, in the Oilers lineup. 

I've been using Gabriel Desjardins' NHL Equivalency to look at Hartikainen's NHLE numbers for two seasons now.  Gabe's methodologies are described on his translations page:

One way to evaluate the difficulty of one league relative to another is to examine the relative performance of players who have played in both leagues.  Players rarely play significant time in two leagues in the same year, but they often play in one league in one year and in another the next.  As long as a player’s skill level is approximately constant over this two year period, the ratio of his performance in each league can be used to estimate the relative difficulty of the two leagues.

If you're interested in the numbers behind some of the players that may be drafted in this year's lottery, check out SumOil's CHL update posts every other Monday.

Player - League DOB Drafted NHL PPG NHL82 G NHL82 A NHL82 P Change
Philippe Cornet - AHL 3/28/90 133 0.143 4 8 12 +6
Teemu Hartikainen - AHL 5/3/90 163 0.282 10 13 23 +4
Milan Kytnar - AHL 5/19/89 127 0.144 4 7 12 +4
Anton Lander - SEL 4/24/91 40 0.390 13 19 32 +2
Tyler Pitlick - WHL 11/1/91 31 0.330 11 16 27 +2
Cameron Abney - WHL 5/23/91 82 0.076 3 4 6 +2
Liam Reddox - AHL 1/27/86 112 0.392 18 15 32 +1
Kellen Jones - NCAA 8/16/90 202 0.243 6 14 20 +1
Kristians Pelss - WHL 9/9/1992 181 0.128 4 7 11 +1
Linus Omark - AHL 2/5/87 97 0.487 18 22 40 0
Ryan Martindale - OHL 10/27/91 61 0.412 14 20 34 0
Toni Rajala - SM-Liiga 3/29/91 101 0.288 10 13 24 0
Drew Czerwonka - WHL 7/1/92 166 0.210 6 11 17 0
Curtis Hamilton - WHL 12/4/91 48 0.384 10 22 32 -1
Alexei Mikhnov - KHL 8/31/82 17 0.319 5 21 26 -1
Colin McDonald - AHL 9/30/84 51 0.273 17 5 22 -1
Chris Vande Velde - AHL 3/15/87 97 0.099 5 3 8 -1
Ryan O'Marra - AHL 3/29/91 15 0.251 2 19 21 -2
Alexander Bumagin - KHL 3/1/87 170 0.277 12 10 23 -3
Robby Dee - NCAA 4/9/87 86 0.393 13 20 32 -4

Player - League DOB Drafted NHL PPG NHL82 G NHL82 A NHL82 P Change
Alexandre Plante - AHL 5/9/89 15 0.094 1 7 8 +2
Jeremie Blain - QMJHL 3/19/92 91 0.264 1 21 22 +1
Taylor Chorney - AHL 4/27/87 36 0.164 3 11 13 +1
Jeff Petry - AHL 12/9/87 45 0.289 8 16 24 0
Troy Hesketh - USHL 7/5/91 71 0.000 0 0 0 0
Kyle Bigos - NCAA 5/12/89 99 0.086 0 7 7 -1
Johan Motin - AHL 10/10/89 103 0.052 1 3 4 -1
Martin Marincin - WHL 2/18/92 46 0.284 6 17 23 -2
Brandon Davidson - WHL 8/21/91 162 0.203 3 13 17 -2


  • As Hartikainen goes, so goes Milan Kytnar and Phil Cornet.  Hartikainen's new linemates were the two biggest movers in January and the aptly-named "Kid Line" was one of the best second lines in the AHL in the month of January.
  • Jeremie Blain continues his impressive performance since returning from injury and has his Acadie-Bathurst team in sixth place in the QMJHL. 
  • Anton Lander has put together a quietly impressive season but his Timrå IK Red Eagles sit last in the SEL, four points out of a playoff spot.  Timra put together a tremendous late season run in 2009-10 to make the playoffs and they're going to need another one this season.

Special thanks to Rob Ferguson of OKC Hockey for the photo of Teemu Hartikainen showing the Lake Erie Monsters how hockey is played in Finland.  Check out the OKC Hockey forums for excellent discussions on the Barons, including daily updates from many season ticket holders.

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