It’s certainly not the biggest news of this year’s NHL offseason, but the Edmonton Oilers inked forward Iiro Pakarinen to a one-year, one-way contract worth $725,000, according to Oilers’ radio analyst Bob Stauffer.
Originally a seventh-round draft pick (184th overall) of the Florida Panthers in 2011, Pakarinen signed with the Oilers as a free agent June 16, 2014. Since then he’s played 80 games for Edmonton over parts of two seasons raking in 16 points (6g-10a) in the process.
He’s never shown a dominant offensive side, but can eat up significant minutes as a bottom six forward. At six-foot-one and roughly 215 pounds, Pakarinen will have to learn to play a significantly physical game.
With the one-way contract – which will pay him the same regardless of where he plays – he will likely act as a mentor for the Oilers’ latest draft pick – Jesse Puljujarvi.
With both players having come over from Finland, Pakarinen will be able to aid Puljujarvi in the transition not only to the NHL game, but in terms of the culture shift as well. Not as high-profiled as Puljujarvi (obviously), Pakarinen will have to find his role with Oilers and fight to stick with them in 2016-17.
Pakarinen played in 63 games for the Oilers in 2015-16 scoring 13 points and recording a minus-10 rating.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.