Those that have attended The Church of Kurri know that I've done a small amount of writing on Teemu Hartikainen. There has been mention that The Church of Kurri became the Cult of Hartikainen, but that's neither here nor there. Previous entries on the young Finn can be located here where we brought historical context to his 18-year-old season, here where we looked at what can be expected of his 19-year-old season, here where we looked at a Finnish scouting report and some fan comments and here where we we looked at Härski's Wasama Trophy win.
In the comments section of my last post, the ever-present SpOiler decided that he wasn't going to let me continue the fluff pieces and challenged me thusly:
Any idea how his linemates produced? Those 6 assists seem a bit troubling and indicate perhaps another weakness other than breaking inertia and creativity. Any PP time in those stats?
And so I began digging into the Liiga's translated season stats as well as Kuopio Kalpa's translated box scores and game recaps. All 58 of them. I found enough interesting information to make a fifth post on Härski, Rancid, The Kuopio Kid.
First, the basics: Hartikainen averaged 13:03 per night of total ice time, 8th among forwards for Kalpa. He was 5th among forwards in total shots, and 2nd among forwards in shots / TOI behind Kapanen, averaging 3.96 shots / 20 mins. Kapanen averaged 4.49/20 and the next closest forward was 3.44/20. Härski led the team in shooting percentage at 12.9%, perhaps on the high end what could be expected, but consistent with the scouting reports and fan comments about his style of play. We can classify him as a shooter, based on these numbers.
Who was he playing with while at even strength? Kuopio's first line was anchored by Owner/CEO/Winger Sami Kapanen, their leading scorer. Härski had 12 even strength points on the year, none involved Kapanen, who led the team in assists. It's safe to surmise that Hartikainen never received first line time at even strength. Looking through box scores for his points, and reading some game recaps, it seems that Hartikainen was shuffled between the second and third lines. So while he wasn't playing with the best his club had to offer, it's doubtful that he was playing against the toughest competition.
The details of Härski's power play production show that he wasn't given cherry minutes - he earned them. Hartikainen scored 1 power play goal in the first 26 games for Kuopio. In those 26 games, Kuopio scored 14 power play goals total. With Hartikainen on the bench and/or second unit, the team averaged .54 power play goals per game. His first point on the first power play unit comes against Pelicans Lahti in a 3-1 victory during game 27. Over the last 32 games while playing with the first unit, he scores 6 goals and picks up 5 assists. Kuopio scored 34 total power play goals in that 32 game span, Härski had a hand in 32% of them. After his promotion to the primary unit, the team averaged 1.1 PPG per game. The possibility of a coincidence is obvious with this sample size, but this also matches the scouting reports of his ability in front of the net. Digging deeper into his stats reveals a player that matches the limited reports we're able to access.
Where does he fall among the Oilers recent prospects? Gabriel Desjardins work on NHL Equivalency allows us to compare Hartikainen with some other Oiler players and prospects in their 18-year-old seasons:
Sam Gagner [NHL] 13-36-49
Jordan Eberle [WHL] 14-16-30
Rob Schremp [OHL] 12-15-27
Patrick O'Sullivan [OHL] 13-11-24
Philippe Cornet [QMJHL] 8-13-21
Teemu Hartikainen [SML] 15-5-20
Marc Pouliot [QMJHL] 7-9-16
Andrew Cogliano [NCAA] 4-5-9
His goal totals stand out in this context as well.
The last piece that I found interesting was a comparison of % of total goals of the 18-year-old SM-Liiga seasons in the chart at the top of the page. Hartikainen scored 17 of 153 goals, or 11.11%. Using this method as a comp is an easy way to slice through differences in leagues and eras to see how players stack up. A quick check of comparable seasons:
Edmonton has an 18-year-old playing with second and third-liners at even strength and producing historically well for a boy amongst men. He quickly became a productive power play option, and from the scouting reports, he's doing his work from the slot and crease. No matter how you dissect this season, it's extremely encouraging for a team and system bereft of productive forwards.