In his 20-year-old season, Teemu Hartikainen scored 17 goals and assisted on another 25 for 42 points. Why is this so interesting?
|Teemu Hartikainen||Oklahoma City||2010||66||17||25||42|
In his 20-year-old season, Jani Rita scored 25 goals and assisted on another 17 for 42 points. Both of them were impressive rookie season in North America, especially considering the debuts were in a professional, not junior league. Coincidentally, Rita debuted in Edmonton has a 21-year-old and scored 3 goals in 12 games. Hartikainen debuted in Edmonton as a 20-year-old and scored 3 goals in 12 games.
Rita is now infamous in Edmonton, a product of a bygone era of terrible drafts. Rita put up three consecutive 40 point seasons in the AHL, but could never crack the Oilers' roster, presumably because of his inattention to his own zone. Rita now plies his trade for Jokerit in the SM-Liiga, where he has scored 69 goals in his last four seasons.
Hartikainen is now famous in Edmonton, a product of a new era of scintillating drafts, which Edmonton fans and media types continue to mistakenly believe will go on forever. Hartikainen has bulled and beaten his way through every new challenge and surpassed expectations at every turn. His hard-on-the-puck style and relentless pursuit of the puck has earned him a well-deserved reputation in the AHL.
I'll have more on Hartikainen in the coming days as he returns to Oklahoma City to push the Barons through the Calder Cup playoffs.