I've long-used the following list of NHL-bound Finns as a guide for what the future may hold for Teemu Hartikainen's NHL career.
His mandatory military service during his 19-year old season made finding comparable seasons much more difficult, but his jump to North America for his 20-year old season gives us a few more data points to find his place on the above list.
Not all of the men on the comparables list played in North America during their 20-year old season, so I've broken the list up by league below.
First up are the four players who played in the AHL at 20:
I've written before that I believe Hartikainen's career will fall somewhere between Ville Nieminen and Jere Lehtinen and Hartikainen continues to best Nieminen's numbers at every turn. Nieminen might sound pessimistic, but 385 games in the NHL is a nice career, especially for a 6th-round pick like Hartikainen
One interesting note is Hartikainen's AHL production at 20 compared to Mikko Koivu's AHL production at 21:
|Mikko Koivu - 21
|Teemu Hartikainen - 20
Four of the men on the list made the jump straight to the NHL. I've used Hartikainen's NHLE to compare him to those players:
It's not as compelling as the AHL comparisons, but he's at least clear of Jokinen.
The rest of the comparables stayed in Finland during their 20-year old season.
Lehtinen's SM-Liiga production translates to a .502 P/G NHLE and his first season in the NHL, two years later, he posted .491 P/G. Hartikainen's numbers translate into a .392 NHLE, meaning he's still somewhere below Lehtinen's numbers and probably closer to Niklas Hagman. Perhaps it's time to narrow Hartikainen's upside to somewhere between Ville Nieminen and Niklas Hagman, somewhere between 385 career games and 700+ career games. He's still on track for a beauty of a career.