Sunday 22 April 2007

Kärpät 2006-07: Evaluation

Below are my estimations on how the Kärpät players did this season player-by-player. The evaluation is obviously completely subjective.

Regular season stats

Play-offs' stats


#1 - Jaakko Suomalaien 7
Second-choice keeper. Didn't play an awfully lot, but did ok when ever called to step in. Never really looked like becoming the first choice. Has a contract for next season.

#32 - Tuomas Tarkki 10
Perfect season. Arrived from nowhere and ended up the best goalie in the league. Was also selected the best goalie for the playoffs'. What else could a player no-one knew anything about before the season do? Has apparently signed a new contract with Kärpät, even though it has not been published yet.


#2 - Oskari Korpikari 8-
I don't know what the problem was but Oskari did not get that much icetime despite playing pretty well whenever he did. Was usually the seventh defenseman. When Josef Boumedienne was injured in the first final match Korpikari stepped in and did a good job. Needs more icetime next season, be it at Kärpät or elsewhere to develop. Has the potential: big, skates well, has a physical presence, has a decent shot. Makes the odd mistake in the defensive zone, if he can get rid of them has the potential to go far. But he can't waste another season.

#6 - Ilkka Mikkola 6
Mikkola had a poor season. He is supposed to be the other defender in the first lineup, but he was too often the worst defender. Poor decision in the defensive zone and despite getting a lot of icetime in power-play didn't do much. Points tally wasn't bad but that was because the rest of the lineup around him was so good.

#9 - Topi Jaakola
Nothing much to say about the regular season, but improved drastically when the play-offs started. Jaakola is a stay-at-home defenseman but he needs to start to make things happen, too often he expects someone else to do it. More aggresiveness, especially in front of the net. Sometimes the defender needs to be prepared to bite the the forward in the leg if nothing else helps, Topi hasn't been prepared to fully commit himself.

#16 - Ross Lupaschuk
Good during the regular season (he only arrived mid-season) but was superb during the play-offs. Generally regarded as the best defender during them. Was third best points scorer (1+9 in 10 matches). Scored the winning goal in the final match. Strong, skillful, excellent shot, good vision. Fantastic signing. NHL-bound?

#29 - Jouni Loponen 8
Loponen was surprisingly good, a big improvement over the previous season. If this was his last season it wasn't a bad one.

#71 - Jukka-Pekka Laamanen 8
Going forward was one of the most important players, especially in power-play. The opponents had to account for his excellent shot. Scored a nice points tally. Was in trouble defensively, especially earlier in the season and took a lot of penalties for hooking and such. Improved this part of his play as the season progressed although at the same time his points tally in the play-offs was a bit disappointing (0+4).

#78 - Josef Boumedienne 9
Arrived quite late in the season after a long lay-off with an injury so it took him a while to get things going. Didn't quite reach the heights he did during his previous stay at Kärpät but him and Ross Lupaschuk was the best defensive duo in the league during the play-offs. Has a contract with Kärpät for next season unless some NHL team wants him.


#8 - Hannes Hyvönen 7+
Unfortunately Hannes only managed 15 games during regular season thanks to a nasty injury. Managed well over a point per game, however. Didn't play too well during the play-offs either, rumour has it he was suffering from injury. Still did enough to warrant a decent mark.

#11 - Viktor Ujcik 8
Viktor was a bit disappointing during the regular season. Improved a lot for the play-offs, however. Showed what experience means. Strong, able to hold the puck seemingly forever when under pressure. Points tally wasn't that impressive compared to the other players in his line (Bros, Pesonen). Doesn't have the speed and misses too many open nets. Still he has been a favourite player of mine because of his never-say-die attitude.

#12 - Teemu Normio 8
Normio didn't have such a great regular season either but he proved his worth in the play-offs. He is one of those players you don't necessary notice until he is missing. This was proven in the second match in the final series when he was shown out. Normio creates space and time for other players but isn't completely without skills either. Has decent speed and can deliver decent hits. Needs to score more points to make a break.

#17 - Mika Pyörälä
Excellent regular season. The thirty-points per season player scored a total of 45 points and was one of the top-scorers in the league. Slight disappointment during the play-offs, though. Looks like going to Timrå of the Swedish Elitserien, hopefully he returns to Kärpät after that.

#18 - Mikko Alikoski 7
Alikoski was poor during the regular season and I was prepared to send him packing. But he improved in leaps and bounds during the play-offs. Definitely worth another season if he can keep progressing. Despite his small size, doesn't give up easily. Vision and skill have always been his strengths, so he needs to start producing, 0+1 next season won't hack it.

#20 - Janne Pesonen 10
Top points scorer for the team, scored two winning goals in the last three matches. Massive confidence all through the season. Skillful, quick and greedy in the right way. NHL beckons.

#21 - Tommi Paakkolanvaara 9+
Excellent season from Paakkolanvaara. Very important when playing short-handed. Has vision, skill, strength and size to play in the first two or three lineups. Scored an impressive 22 points for someone who played most of the season in the fourth line. And not a single penalty during the regular season and still ending up with +14! Breaks through next season? Was given the gentleman award even though usually it is given to someone with a higher profile.

#22 - Jyri Junnila 6+
Junnila doesn't seem to hack it in Kärpät. Has already signed for KalPa Kuopio.

#24 - Jari Viuhkola
Missed almost twenty matches during the regular season through injury and still finished with third highest points tally. Second best points tally in the play-offs. Still, I don't think Viuhkola's play-offs were that great, he has played better in the past. Team captain and leader who can improve others around him. Most valuable player in the team whether playing five-on-five, power-play or short-handed. His vision is second to none. Doesn't look that strong, but taking the puck off him is almost impossible. Possibly NHL bound, depends on if he gets a satisfactory deal.

#36 - Michal Bros
I expected a little more from Bros during the regular season. But during the play-offs he was superb, many think he was the best forward during them. The goal that won Kärpät the third semi-final will be remembered for a long time. Top points scorer in the play-offs. A player who can both score and create goals.

#41 - Kalle Sahlstedt
I can't really give a mark to Kalle. He had such problems at home - his son was diagnosed with Wilm's tumour - that it's impossible. Was an important player during the play-offs. Fine player, fine individual and I hope him all the best if the quits hockey after this season.

#43 - Antti Aarnio
Aarnio's season didn't get off to a good start but he improved during the season. Should have scored more points, but Antti's main contribution is not goals but giving a buzz to his team and the spectators. He isn't physically big, but his hits are powerfull and he likes to dish them out. Managed to keep himself out of the penalty box during the play-offs which was a bonus (only four minutes of penalties).

#50 - Juhamatti Aaltonen 8+
Aaltonen is the most skillful player to come out of Oulu since, probably the now head-coach Kari Jalonen. A very atypical Finnish player. Bags of skill, can beat any defender in a one-on-one. Has improved his all-round play significantly. Is surprisingly physical given his style. Should score more, misses far too many easy chances. He had enough chances to easily score 25 goals, ended up with 11. Might be AHL-bound, although I think he should stay in Finland for one more season. Having said that he gets more exposure in the AHL.

#83 - Tomi Mustonen 6
Poor regular season and was dropped out of the playing staff for the play-offs. Looks like Mustonen is off. Speed and decent shot just isn't enough.

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