The Oilers made their first player transaction of the off-season on Sunday night, as the team completed the annual signing of an under-the-radar option from Europe. This year, Edmonton went over to Finland and snagged a big, shoot first forward in Iiro Pakarinen.
The deal is a two-year contract that is also of the two-way variety and comes in at small money, meaning it is a low risk deal for the Oilers. Pakarinen was a seventh round pick of the Florida Panthers in the 2011 entry draft, but he never signed with the club.
This past season, Iiro Pakarinen played in 60 games for HIFK in the Finnish league, scoring 20 goals and adding ten assists for 30 points on the season. He’s got some size too, clocking in at 6-foot-1 and 194-pounds according to the Oilers official press release.
Scouting report wise, this is a player that generates a ton of shots on net, 256 of them this past season in just 60 games according to Jonathan Willis over at OilersNation, meaning he is a shoot-first kind of winger, something he admitted himself. That being said, he only converted at a 7.8 % clip this season. His shot is described as heavy as well, and he is a guy that likes to take the body.
Eliteprospects.com calls him a versatile player, and calls him a good skater who is also a hard worker. He plays well in the hard areas too, and is a guy that can play on the power-play and on the penalty-kill, which is what he did in Finland. He’s only 22 right now as well, so he is still young and has development time left.
More than likely, Pakarinen will end up playing in Oklahoma City this season, adjusting to the North American game, before pushing for a roster spot in the fall of 2015. This could very well be the replacement for Teemu Hartikainen, who was traded off this past winter.
The odds Pakarinen is a NHL regular anytime soon? Not great, but his scouting report reads well and his skill-set is a nice one. On this contract, this is a smart, low-risk signing by Craig MacTavish.
Off-Season Quick Hits:
Some interesting tidbits are starting to leak out as we are now under two weeks from draft night in Philly. Craig MacTavish is kind of hinting at what we can look towards, and Bob Stauffer had an interesting note today as well. First, on draft picks.
*Draft Picks Coming? Think Again: Terry Jones has two great pieces up for the Edmonton Sun, one talking about player additions, and the other talking about draft picks. Jones has some interesting quotes from MacT, and basically tells the faithful not to expect adding picks to be a priority on draft weekend.
Edmonton picks third overall, but won’t be picking until the fourth round after that. The second round pick is in St. Louis as part of the Perron trade, while the third rounder is in LA as the price for goalie Ben Scrivens. While it isn’t ideal that the Oilers don’t have picks in those rounds, those two players are likely better than anyone who would have been taken there.
When asked about it, MacT said that he doesn’t expect to add a second or third round pick, and that adding mature veterans is more of a pressing need for the team at this time. He’s exactly right too, and while it will make for a boring Saturday, it’s absolutely the best thing to use the assets for immediate help.
*Player Additions Coming? You Better Believe That: In Jones’ other piece, he talked about the Oilers making player additions this summer, and MacT was pretty straight forward with what we can expect. He mentioned wanting to add about four to five new players, with one or two coming through trade and two or three coming through free agency.
The areas of need? He wants a puck-moving defender, which he told Jones will likely have to come through trade, and he wants a stay-at-home defender. Size up front was talked about as well, and remember he mentioned secondary scoring at the year end press conference back in April.
By these comments, I’d suspect the Oilers are looking for a game-breaker for their puck-moving defender, and a guy like Matt Greene, who has been mentioned by the media, for the shut-down role. Up front, who knows, but David Moss would be a fine start on the third line. We’ll see what happens, but clearly MacT has a plan and wants to improve this roster big time.
Also of interest here? MacTavish mentioned not rushing the kids, and letting Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom and Martin Marincin play in junior or the AHL. I think Nurse is best suited for another year in junior, followed by a full year in OKC, while Klefbom is best suited to play another half-season in the AHL. He looked good late, but clearly has things to work on. I believe Marincin has earned an NHL job.
*Third Overall in Play?: The Oilers won’t trade their pick outright (unless a MAJOR player becomes available), but there is talk starting to filter out that MacT might be willing to move down to add a puck-moving defender. This coming just a day after MacT’s comments surrounding what he wants to add and how.
The following tweet comes from our friend Jonathan Willis, who was listening in to Oilers insider Bob Stauffer today on his Oilers Now show:
@Bob_Stauffer speculating about moving the No. 3 pick for a high-end puck-moving defenceman. Interesting, given MacTavish’s comments.
Interesting no doubt, and Stauffer did mention that it would only be worth trading if a young puck-moving defender became available, but it makes one think either way. Could the Oilers be willing to move the pick and another asset for Dion Phaneuf and the 8th overall, as our friend LT has mentioned? Or would they be inclined to move down in a deal that also brought Ehrhoff or Byfuglien to Edmonton?
I’m not sure, but it’s interesting that this theory is out there. We’ve been waiting since late on April 12th, following an emotional season finale, but it’s finally here, silly season is here my friends.