The Edmonton Oilers have two games left in the shortened NHL regular season. They’ll face the Minnesota Wild on Friday and the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. At that same time, their affiliated AHL team in Oklahoma City will start their Calder Cup postseason march, and they’ll do so with the help of Teemu Hartikainen.
Sent down to OKC today, Hartikainen will instantly make the Barons a better team, as he’s been prone to do for the last three seasons.
Despite the Edmonton view on things, Hartikainen has been one of the most successful players to have played in Oklahoma City in the last three years. A tough guy with some incredible skill, he’s been unable to jump the hurdle to make himself a full-time NHL player.
Lately, Hartikainen has looked a bit down trodden, both in how he plays and his on-ice demeanor. Perhaps it’s comments from head coach, Ralph Krueger, where he subtly challenges his role:
He’s trying to figure out what a gritty, strong power forward does and what’s connected to that. What’s important for him is to continue to manage the puck in all three zones.
If you’ll recall, it took about a season and a half before Hartikainen really got a feel for what the Oilers wanted him to do which was not to score goals, but be a hard edged forward on the boards and in front of the net. Scoring goals also would help his cause too. Now he knows the what, it’s up to him to figure out the how. That starts again this weekend.
General Manager Craig MacTavish announced today the Edmonton Oilers have assigned left winger Teemu Hartikainen to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.
Hartikainen has appeared in 23 games with the Oilers this season; registering three points (1G, 2A).