Finnish Dreamin’, Why Hello Iiro!

When I see a player signed, and said player has a double voweled name…I melt. The Finnish world of hockey is right up my alley in every possible way. They are feisty, but undoubtedly understand they can’t be a one-dimensional feisty so they practice. They work on their hands. They skate daily. They eat Hernekeitto and drink Glögi and bathe in the Baltic Sea. The hockey players grown in this neck of the world aren’t superior than any other nation, they just work hard, and force GM’s around the globe to salivate. You want one. They want one. We all want one.

The Edmonton Oilers have had many, and a few recently. They have all been entertaining to watch, and have been incredibly useful in many facets of the game. So, thank you sir, they’ll have another.

This go-round it’s the Florida Panthers 184th pick in 2011, Iiro Pakarinen.

CapGeek broke the news many days ago, and since that time the Oilers have been toiling away to release the details. The signing is fairly simple in terms of contract. A two-way, two-year deal worth $70,000/$792,500 in year one (with the second year up to $842,500). At 23 years of age when the contract is signed, this two year ELC is a fantastic get in my mind.

The Finns take a bit of grooming, however, when it comes to placement in N. America (Teemu Hartikanen, a great example). Yet when they reach their peak, boy how they shine. Iiro Pakarinen’s career details are below, and they are very diligent in terms of time spent in the homeland. Keep in mind, he has had a solid U20 and Team Finland career as well:

Iiro-Paka

I’ve watched the videos, I’ve read the Google-translated blog posts, and I’ve attempted to take off my Finnish colored glasses long enough to see this signing through un-biased eyeballs. Well, I tried…

This kid can skate, hit, and shoot like very few 23 year old players can. He has the confidence of a chiseled Olympian. He is smart. Defensively sound. Quite possibly the full package. I approve.

The going sentiment is that he lands in Oklahoma City, which is wise. The Oilers will keep a very watchful eye on this kid, and pray that he translates to the North American game quickly.

The “grit” and “toughness” angle has slowly crept into the farm team in the last couple of weeks. Steven Pinizzotto and now Iiro Pakarinen makes two types of players that the OKC Barons sorely lacked to start the season in October 2013. I suppose it’s a good thing that they are being addressed earlier as opposed to later, but also keep in mind that the Oilers have built a similar type of team in Edmonton. The mimicry here is pretty obvious, and quite possibly a sound structure (if it works, big IF). Although, grain of salt, because I like the Pakarinen signing way more than I like the Pinizzotto signing. So, there’s that.

In the end, this is good news. Lots of hopeful things to look forward to when October rolls around. Good luck to Iiro! (Love that name).

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