Future Watch: Teemu Hartikainen

After a stint in the NHL, Hartikainen is back in OKC, working on 'the little things'

Thursday, 10.11.2011 / 3:49 PM / Future Watch
By Marc Ciampa  - edmontonoilers.com
Oklahoma City, OK - After finishing last season in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers and acquitting himself well with three goals and five points in mostly a fourth-line role over 12 games, Teemu Hartikainen appeared poised to claim a spot on the big club's roster this year in training camp.

However, tough competition in camp resulted in him being sent back to the AHL and Oklahoma City to start the year.

"I was really disappointed. I worked hard all summer," Hartikainen said after we spoke to him following a practice in OKC on Thursday.

The 6'1" 215-pound power forward went on to say that it took him a good week to get over the demotion to the point where he had frequent discussions with his father and brother to try and get him out of the funk. However, after going pointless in his first two games, Hartikainen then rattled off four goals and six points in six outings and has emerged as one of the Barons' offensive leaders.

"Now I know what I have to do. That's an extra motivation to hone my skills and practice hard and play hard," stated Hartikainen, who has five goals and eight points through 11 games so far this year. 

The fundamentals of Hartikainen's game have been good and translate very well at the NHL level. The Oilers told him it was the little things he needed to improve on in order to earn a full-time spot in the top league.

"Just play a simple game. Tip the puck and hone my skills a little more so when I go back there I'm not coming back (down here) anymore," he said. "They told me when they call me up they want me to be a top-six forward, score the goals here, get some points and be one of the leaders."

Oklahoma City Barons head coach Todd Nelson agreed with that assessment.

"It's coming alright. Play (well) away from the puck, stopping and starting, managing the puck. Those are the biggest things for Harti that he has to work on."

The bench boss also acknowledged that he noticed the initial letdown after Hartikainen was dispatched to the American Hockey League.

"When he got sent down he was disappointed. It took him a few days to get over it but he's better now. He's here, he's working hard, he's having fun and he's only going to get better and better."

Nelson did sit Hartikainen out of a game last weekend in Abbotsford after noticing the winger's play had slipped somewhat but Hartikainen rebounded with a key goal in Tuesday's game at home against Toronto.

GOOD FRIENDS AND TEAMMATES

The recent arrival of Linus Omark to OKC has been a welcome sight for Hartikainen.

"We lived together last year and we learned a lot together. We learned everything over here to support ourselves. He's one of my best friends over here," he said.

Hartikainen added that, overall, the entire team is very close and that has helped a lot when it comes to playing in the AHL.

"A lot of guys who played here last year (are back). We hang around a lot. When we're on the road, we watch movies and that sort of thing. We have a good time."

Teemu Hartikainen (Photo by Steven Christy Photography).
In addition to getting along well, that chemistry has developed on the ice, too.  

"It's a huge thing. Everyone learns how to win the games. We have three or four lines that can score all the time," Hartikainen said. "We have a lot of guys with a bunch of points and goals."

It's that depth that caused Hartikainen to miss a game last week, but he noted that being pushed from below is not a bad thing at all.

"It's a young team. You have to work hard all the time to get your minutes. There's a battle for spots all the time."

Hartikainen believes that continuing to battle for spots and helping with team success will make him that much better when he does get back to the NHL level.

"I feel really confident because I know I can score there. It's the samll things I have to improve on. I'm knocking on the door and waiting for my chance to get called up," he said.

"I want to play there. I think about that all the time but I'm confident the call is coming and I'm just waiting."

Forwards


Name age GP G A P +/- PIM team
Cameron Abney   20 6 1 1 2 1 49 Stockton Thunder (ECHL)
Mark Arcobello   23 11 2 4 6 0 4 Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)
Alexander Bumagin   24 17 2 3 5 -1 4 Novokuznetsk Metallurg
Philippe Cornet   21 11 8 1 9 2 5 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Drew Czerwonka   19 10 5 4 9 9 11 Kootenay ice (WHL)
Travis Ewanyk   18 - - - - - - edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Josh Green   33 11 5 7 12 6 2 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Curtis Hamilton   19 7 0 3 3 1 0 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Teemu Hartikainen   21 11 5 3 8 2 2 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Tanner House   25 10 0 2 2 2 9 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Kellen Jones   21 11 5 7 12 0 14 quinnipiac university
Ryan Keller   27 12 3 7 10 3 10 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Milan Kytnar   22 4 1 1 2 3 12 stockton thunder (echl)
Ryan Martindale   20 7 0 1 1 -1 0 stockton thunder (ECHL)
Ryan O'Marra   24 11 2 2 4 4 32 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Kristians Pelss   19 19 8 3 11 10 28 edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Tyler Pitlick   19 10 1 2 3 0 0 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Toni Rajala   20 15 5 2 7 -7 4 ilves tampere (sm-liiga)
Liam Reddox   25 20 6 5 11 -7 12 vaxjo hc (SEL)
Tobias Rieder   18 17 10 9 19 5 8 kitchener rangers (OHL)
Hunter Tremblay   25 11 3 3 6 1 13 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Antti Tyrvainen   22 7 0 1 1 4 2 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Chris VandeVelde   24 12 1 3 4 2 4 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Defencemen
Name age GP G A P +/- PIM team
Kyle Bigos   22 8 1 4 5 0 22 merrimack college
Jeremie Blain   19 17 4 12 16 6 28 acadie-bathurst titan (QMjhl)
Brandon Davidson   20 19 5 13 18 11 27 regina pats (wHL)
Martin Gernat   18 19 6 12 18 10 10 edmonton oil kings (WHL)
Oscar Klefbom   18 12 0 0 0 2 0 farjestads bk karlstad (SEL)
Martin Marincin   19 13 1 7 8 3 15 prince george cougars (WHL)
Johan Motin   22 10 0 2 2 4 8 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
David Musil   18 20 1 9 10 8 47 vancouver giants (WHL)
Jeff Petry   23 2 0 1 1 1 2 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Alex Plante   22 11 0 3 3 4 37 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Dillon Simpson   18 10 0 1 1 0 0 u. of north dakota
Colten Teubert   21 9 2 2 4 3 18 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Goalies
Name age GP w l T GAA SV% team
Tyler Bunz   19 18 13 4 1 2.49 .924 medicine hat tigers (WHL)
Yann Danis   30 8 6 2 0 1.99 .934 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Samu Perhonen   18 - - - - - -
Olivier Roy   20 5 0 3 2 2.35 .914 stockton thunder (echl)
Frans Tuohimaa   20 6 4 1 1 2.47 .905 jokerit helsinki (sm-liiga)


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