The Oilers are in need of another forward after placing Will Acton on waivers for re-assignment to the Oklahoma City Barons. You will recall that Acton played 47 games with the Barons a season ago after a eerily similar “let’s try him in the NHL” go round. Acton clogs an already full center roster in Oklahoma City, but with Bogdan Yakimov out a few more weeks, he is probably a welcome sight. And although folks in Edmonton find him dreadful, he (like Brad Hunt) will actually help fill the gaps on the penalty kill and face off rusty side of things. He is expected to clear, and in return a Barons forward is not long for the minors.
Iiro Pakarinen is arguably the Barons best forward. Wait, he is the Barons best forward. He is also the Swiss Army knife player that probably sparked the Edmonton Oilers curiosity when they signed him during the summer months.
This evening Eric Rodgers will be posting a good set of stats on the OKC Barons through a handful of games. You will notice that he is logging nearly fifteen minutes a night with a goal differential of eleven. His five goals and three assists in eight games is stellar, and he is coming off a game where he didn’t etch a single point, when virtually everyone else on the team did. In short, the team is better when Iiro is on the ice, and that’s huge news for the Finnish forward.
Rumors are that he will likely be called up soon, and by rumors I mean legit, considerable folks with inside knowledge. A Yakupov-Draisaitl-Pakarinen threesome might emerge.
Iiro the Hero is actually a pretty seasoned 23 year old, and has clearly adjusted well to the North American rink, style of play, and trappings that come with joining a squad in the land of opportunity. He is poised and well spoken, a very smart power forward. I think we find that he is far more aggressive and prepared than Teemu Hartikainen was at the same time in his rookie season (and that’s a lot to take in for this Hartikainen follower).
Catch Eric’s stats this evening, and stay tuned for more shenanigans.