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Joni Pitkanen

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Neither Dumoulin, Faulk, or Levi are in Charlotte. So, don't think so.

Ok, I'm happy to be wrong about their current development but hopeful about where they'll be in a year.

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I'm seeing regression and not development. McBain isn't generating offense through skill, talent or hustle. He simply pinches and cheats leaving defensive liability in his wake. Most NHL defensemen can do that if they choose, and their coach doesn't mind. I'm not seeing a special talent here, nor expecting one.

Anyway, this is Joni's thread so I'll contrast with him. When Joni pinches he recovers, has the speed, generally hustles and produces output in a dynamic way with his passing. He's not conventional, which IMO is why opinions are so varied about him.

McBain is coming around, it seemed like he was being rushed out of necessity to start this season.

Agree on Pitkanen and not conventional is a great way to describe him. Its interesting reading opinions around the league about him, the Canes fans are the toughest on him. Maybe the Edmonton fans too ;)

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I remember what our team was like before Joni came in. This guy is one of the key players to this team. All of you who are bashing him. Just wait until he is gone. See how bad we are and how many less goals we score. This guy is the backbone of our defense and probably our 2nd best player behind the guy wearing the C. I can't believe some of the things I have read here! Unbelievable!

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Manwolf, you nailed what I was trying to say much better than I did, especially this:

I'm not a fan of Joni's style, but have learned to accept it as his unique talent. He amazes and disappoints at the same time. One thing I hate is his long shots on goal (where he seems frustrated that someone hasn’t shown themselves for an outlet pass). When he misses, its icing (defensive zone faceoff = danger). Sometimes he just ices the puck intentionally, when I'd prefer he just flip it in (chase it, no ice).

Lastly, he has to shoot. The league simply knows he's "pass first" and that makes his game less effective. Keep 'em honest.

Everyone talks about his playing time as an asset, but when his shifts get too long and he starts to tire I think that's when the mistakes and even the so-called "nasty" side come out. He does seem to sometimes show that side when teammates don't do what he wants/expects. When he's on he's one of the best, but more consistency and fewer mistakes would be nice. I suppose you could say that about several Canes players, though.

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Can't understand why they don't give Zach Fitzgerald a shot...very seasoned player,6'2",210,and a tough guy which we definately need on the blue line...we don't get enough scoring out of our blueline for that to be a concern,and fitz brings it every game..same age as carson who keeps getting a shot..watched him all season and he deserves his shot too

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Well, Well, Well, looks like we survived without Pits,,,and as a matter of fact our D against the Sens was better than I have seen in a long time. Hard to say that he is "SO" needed/important/can't survive without him on the ice. I know its just 1 game but IMO the rest of the guys really stepped up their game and the team (both offense&defense) had alot more chemistry from the 1st line all the way thru the 4th line..

LIKE I SAID BEFORE JUST MY OPINION

BUT THEN AGAIN FACTS ARE FACTS!!!LOL B)

Edited by djharley

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Joni has a very unique playing style which seems to throw a lot of people off because the natural tendency is to compare players to other players. Comparing Joni to Corvo, or to Gleason, or any other of our dmen is like comparing an apple to oranges; he is the most unique IMO. It's painfully obvious that he is constantly reading the play and sees the ice very well. He has vision.

He had a rep for being "lazy" in Edmonton, and it seems quite a few have a similar view of him as a Cane, and that probably comes from his standing around the house/circles more often than most other players. I don't think it's laziness at all; I think he's conserving energy because he can see the ice better than most. If he were more defensively minded, I think this would be a more obvious trait of his. Does he turn it over? Yes; who doesn't. Does he get caught from time to time? Yes; again, who doesn't. Does he occasionally stay out too long? Yes; but the coaches obviously don't have a big problem with it or else his TOI would be easing off in a big way. Joni makes a lot of defensive plays look easy and routine. He has a great stick. I don't know if it is recorded as a stat, but I'm 100% certain he deflects the most shots out of play on the team (do those count as blocked shots?) and I think that comes hand in hand with his style of play.

On the other end of the ice, it's the same story in regards to seeing the ice, but with better (more obvious) results. He's obviously offensively minded because he is so effective at that end as a dman. Someone has already pointed out the numbers. He's an absolutely fantastic skater and he makes the other team nervous. Just watch the other team when we're holding the zone and he has the puck. He's also very composed and very calm which I _really_ appreciate when the game is on the line.

As for any questions of him being a soft player, please recall the 08-09 playoffs when he became a bit of an animal. He stepped his game up in a big way. He did everything he always does but he really started throwing the body around and showed a lot of emotion at the perfect times. He is a great playoff performer.

Can the Canes live without him? Yes, of course. But the fact of the matter is _he makes the team better_. As some have pointed out, his future in Carolina is a question only of economics.

edit: oh and btw, although I appreciate you point out it was just 1 game without him, dj, the OTT game was not exactly a defensive gem for the Canes. The Sens did hit 3 or 4 posts and had 37 SOG. If it weren't for Cam standing on top of his head, this game would've had a different outcome. If those posts go an inch the other way, this is easily a loss.

Edited by hctimo787

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Joni has a very unique playing style which seems to throw a lot of people off because the natural tendency is to compare players to other players. Comparing Joni to Corvo, or to Gleason, or any other of our dmen is like comparing an apple to oranges; he is the most unique IMO. It's painfully obvious that he is constantly reading the play and sees the ice very well. He has vision....

Completely agree, and IMO this is the key to accepting his style of play or rejecting it.

One question I have is whether the coaching staff leans too heavily on him and perhaps should reduce his time to normal/average level.

Edited by Manwolf

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Very well said, HCTIMO787,

Joni is a well balanced d-man, if you can accept him for what he is. He's not a brawler. He's not a fury skater like LaRose, whose legs must go 90 miles per hour just to get him going. Joni is deceptively fast. He's been called a "smooth skater" for a very good reason. Hes also hands down the absolute best player on the Canes at taking the puck end to end. Why skate around in a panic for an entire shift if you can get there ahead of time by taking long smooth strides? A 5-7" guy and a 6-4" guy will almost always skate very differently.

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I agree that Joni is one of the most talented players we have. His only downside, I think, is that he becomes frustrated at those who don't seem to have the same skill. This sometimes shows in his play. I wasn't a big fan of the move to get him but over the seasons I have come to appreciate his skills. I'm still not sure he really fits in with the Canes and I think whoever pairs with him better be ready to get a workout. But he has a lot of upside. I won't be surprised to see him moved but this has more to do with his FA status and salary than on his play.

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Joni has a very unique playing style which seems to throw a lot of people off because the natural tendency is to compare players to other players. Comparing Joni to Corvo, or to Gleason, or any other of our dmen is like comparing an apple to oranges; he is the most unique IMO. It's painfully obvious that he is constantly reading the play and sees the ice very well. He has vision.

He had a rep for being "lazy" in Edmonton, and it seems quite a few have a similar view of him as a Cane, and that probably comes from his standing around the house/circles more often than most other players. I don't think it's laziness at all; I think he's conserving energy because he can see the ice better than most. If he were more defensively minded, I think this would be a more obvious trait of his. Does he turn it over? Yes; who doesn't. Does he get caught from time to time? Yes; again, who doesn't. Does he occasionally stay out too long? Yes; but the coaches obviously don't have a big problem with it or else his TOI would be easing off in a big way. Joni makes a lot of defensive plays look easy and routine. He has a great stick. I don't know if it is recorded as a stat, but I'm 100% certain he deflects the most shots out of play on the team (do those count as blocked shots?) and I think that comes hand in hand with his style of play.

On the other end of the ice, it's the same story in regards to seeing the ice, but with better (more obvious) results. He's obviously offensively minded because he is so effective at that end as a dman. Someone has already pointed out the numbers. He's an absolutely fantastic skater and he makes the other team nervous. Just watch the other team when we're holding the zone and he has the puck. He's also very composed and very calm which I _really_ appreciate when the game is on the line.

As for any questions of him being a soft player, please recall the 08-09 playoffs when he became a bit of an animal. He stepped his game up in a big way. He did everything he always does but he really started throwing the body around and showed a lot of emotion at the perfect times. He is a great playoff performer.

Can the Canes live without him? Yes, of course. But the fact of the matter is _he makes the team better_. As some have pointed out, his future in Carolina is a question only of economics.

edit: oh and btw, although I appreciate you point out it was just 1 game without him, dj, the OTT game was not exactly a defensive gem for the Canes. The Sens did hit 3 or 4 posts and had 37 SOG. If it weren't for Cam standing on top of his head, this game would've had a different outcome. If those posts go an inch the other way, this is easily a loss.

Those do count as blocked shots, which is why Pitkanen is tied for the team lead with Gleason with 61. This is key. Gleason goes down and takes a shot off the shinpads and he's a WARRIOR, yet Pitkanen just sticks out his stick and accomplishes the same thing. Fans will remember Gleason's blocked shots more than Pitkanen's, yet both accomplished the same thing. Similarily, Pitkanen can brilliantly gain possession of the puck in the defensive zone by "standing around" and using his stick (strange concept), make a pass that works 9 times out of 10 and gets picked off once and he's a TURNOVER MACHINE. But Gleason can wildly skate around the boards throwing checks at invisible players, throwing himself ten feet out of position, and poking the puck up the boards to the other team and he had a great shift because he showed EFFORT.

Interestingly, Pitkanen is third on our D in giveaways with 17. Corvo has 27 and Gleason 21. He also has the best +/- and the most points.

The Sens are a terrible offensive team to begin with and were missing Spezza on top of it, and still got 37 shots on goal and were denied by the post 4 times. Do you think the Pitkanen haters here would be bumping this thread to say they were wrong if the team sucked without Pitkanen in the lineup? You know, like when they got destroyed 7-4 by the Panthers earlier in the year, or allowed three shorthanded goals on the same powerplay last year?

And what about Gleason? The team went on a huge hot streak at the end of last year when he was hurt, so obviously he sucks.

I *hope* Pitkanen misses the game against the Devils and we win, because I'll be amused to see the Pitkanen haters trying to make a big deal out of a game against a team with a -53 goal differential.

Edited by ZCAB

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A lot of good points. I just cuss that overpaid, lazy bum when he does something stupid and cheer him and want him resigned when he does good things. Eventhough I think Joni deserves a lot of the critizism he gets on here but when I put all his responsibilities into the right perspective, I can't be as hard on him as some of you.

For one, there is not single hockey player that doesn't make a bunch of mistakes or doesn't experience problems in one form or another during every single game or even shift. There is always someone bested, always penalties, giveaways, off-sides, weak goals, errant and missed passes and if no one would make a mistake we'd never see a single goal, even in shoot outs. What fun would that be?

I know, that describes Joni perfectly but does he really make more mistakes than anyone else? Or is it just because he sticks out a lot more simply because of all his ice time and who he plays against?

To me it's a little of both because in a nutshell, the guy has been up to 33+ minutes a night on the ice and he is only playing against top lines and top special teams and because of it, even the slightest mistake can turn into a decent scoring chance or goal against in a hurry. Not only that, as an extra 'forward' he is also counted on to put up points against top defensive pairings while he is at it. Not an easy task for anyone and a lot of different wheels have to be clicking the right way to make it all work, day in and day out. I think a lot of times we give little consideration to all the talent and physicality he faces every shift and that as a D-man his shifts are also a little longer which means he could face up to two fresh lines per shift. Would I like to see him play a little more physical and not try to do everything himself? Sure. Would playing fewer minutes make him more effective and the team better? Maybe, maybe not. Who else do we have that could log his minutes, has his vision, skating and offensive skills? Is he indispensable? No, but in the overall picture I still think he makes us a better team.

About shutting out the Sens: To me it only proves that our guys can step up if they have to and want to. It doesn't prove that we are just as good or better off without Joni.

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I don't appreciate this general bunching of everyone who has something negative to say about Joni's play of late is automatically a hater. It's quite obvious that he is a huge key in our defense, and when he's on it shows, but when he doesn't, it sets up situations where he makes a lazy play, and takes one of his signature bone-headed penalties. As posted above, he has great vision on the ice and uses it to his advantage, but he lacks consistency. When you toss Gleason out on the ice, you know he's going to go out and bang bodies and make it difficult for the other team to cycle the puck, but when you send Joni out there, you don't know if you're going to get great puck movement that'll setup scoring chances or a lazy d-man taking a bad penalty, or maybe he'll ice the puck constantly because he's irritated his team mates aren't going where he wants them to. That's my main issue with Joni, a lack of consistency when it comes to his good play.

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Happy New Year all!

Come March this is the bottom line: AS UFA he'll command a very handsome raise next season. Given everything we know about Joni, is he worth a large number ($ amount is anyone's guess) or are those $$$ better spent on a replacement, perhaps with $$$ to spare?

JR will have to make that call in March, and with ownership in question his hand may be forced.

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Happy New Year all!

Come March this is the bottom line: AS UFA he'll command a very handsome raise next season. Given everything we know about Joni, is he worth a large number ($ amount is anyone's guess) or are those $$ better spent on a replacement, perhaps with $$ to spare?

JR will have to make that call in March, and with ownership in question his hand may be forced.

I strongly think we are still int he hunt come March, and trading Joni before the deadline won't happen.

But after we either miss or exit the playoffs, is Joni part of the team next year? That is a good question. I know there are some on this thread who would gladly let him walk and try to use those $$ on a shut down guy. With McBain and Corvo on the team, this is not a bad idea on paper. However, my guess is that once those big dollars walk, JR and PK will not actually replace them. When's the last time JR brought in a marque shut down defenseman? What they would do is to try to find some serviceable average middle of the road dman veteran, and pocket the change. Not good. Now if they used that salary for a top winger....but that is a long shot. So...

In that case, I'd much rather re-sign Joni. But there's a long way to go for that.

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I strongly think we are still int he hunt come March, and trading Joni before the deadline won't happen....

Unless you're talking about the "hunt" for a deep run, I'll have to disagree.

Joni is the most valuable asset JR has to continue building into next year, with the greatest value at the trade deadline. My guess is he'll cash in for future potential (1st rounder) while pocketing $$$ and keeping his eye on next year.

IMO, a 9th place finish or early round exit at the risk of Joni walking is too much risk when focus is on rebuilding.

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I think all one has to do is look at the last two periods of the New Jersey game.

We are supposed to have "a bunch" of puck moving defensemen.

But without Joni we constantly iced the puck, and ended off with faceoffs right next to

Cam.

I am sure Cam got a little tired of watching our D flailing around with their sticks to

try to get the puck out. Oh--whoops! another icing !!

If we had been playing a stronger team, we could have lost that game in the

last two periods !!!! I was watching b/c I sit on that end !!!

Our whole team moves better when Joni is on the ice. (His quirks, and doing this

own thing, and being hard to find a D to pair with him---come with the territory.)

He is one of a kind and he is a horse IMO we have to hope JR can find a way

to re-sign him. I am not personally attached to him as a fan--but I can see what

he brings to the table.

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No matter your opinion on Pitkanen the player, the bottom line is he will be our most valuable asset as we approach the trade deadline. He'll likely bring back a first rounder to a team who desperately needs a puck mover to make a deep run at the Cup. I think this team, as is, will be broken up regardless of whether we make the playoffs or not. If JR's eye is really on rebuilding, then it makes sense to get what you can for Pitkanen when is stock is highest. Seems folks have all ready forgotten the Whitney saga.

If there is any doubt he won't resign for a modest raise it's a no-brainer to get while the gettin is good.

Edited by coastal_caniac

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Unless you're talking about the "hunt" for a deep run, I'll have to disagree.

Joni is the most valuable asset JR has to continue building into next year, with the greatest value at the trade deadline. My guess is he'll cash in for future potential (1st rounder) while pocketing $$$ and keeping his eye on next year.

IMO, a 9th place finish or early round exit at the risk of Joni walking is too much risk when focus is on rebuilding.

By "in the hunt" I mean either in the top 8 or a few points from the top 8. If this team is in contention for a playoff spot it would be a slap in the face of the fans to rent our best defenseman to another playoff team. Let's see how you feel if we're in the #6 slot and JR trades Joni for a low first round draft pick. It's always good to restock, but we have a ton of prospects already. None of those prospects will be Joni Pitkanen in the next 3-4 years. I understand that we are cheap, but unless we want to dwell in the cellar for a few years, we have to pay at least a few guys.

As to a deep run, surely on paper we are not a team poised for a deep run. But neither were we a couple of years ago when we went to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Renting Joni for a draft pick only makes sense if we are cleary out of the playoffs by the deadline.

This is not the Whitney scenario. Whitney was a seriously aging vet looking for a long term deal, and this team was out of the playoffs. Further we really needed to restock our farm system. Joni is still in his prime and I think we're in contention for the playoffs at the deadline. Plus, resigning Whitney wasn't going to happen on a tema looking to get young. Resigning Joni is not out of the question.

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Keeping a guy we could lose to free agency knowing we likely can't pay him or won't pay his market price is stupid. Keeping Ray Whitney last year when he admittedly waived his NTC was stupid, aging vet or not. We got nothing for him.

I'm not saying this will happen in Pitkanen's case, but making the playoffs this year is not the single criteria that will dictate the outcome.

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Renting Joni for a draft pick only makes sense if we are cleary out of the playoffs by the deadline.

I agree.

It seems to me that the Cup is the goal - and making the payoffs is a necessary step to achieving that goal. If you have that chance now, you take that chance now - you don't trade it away for something that may or may not end up worth anything in the future. Also, a playoff appearance - even one round - is worth real and significant dollars to the franchise.

But then, I think the odds of resigning Pitkanen are higher than it seems the general consensus is.

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But then, I think the odds of resigning Pitkanen are higher than it seems the general consensus is.

Not sure what the chances or interest in re-signing him are but since he's bounced around a bit in the past with a not so stellar reputation at times, being comfortable in this market and having a couple of fellow Fins around might play into Joni's decision of wanting to stay here. Maybe he won't be as expensive as some of us think or maybe he'll be willing to take less money for an extra year?

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For those calling Pitkanen a "rental", doesn't that suggest he will be resigned in the off season? If that's your belief then yes, it wouldn't make sense to trade him away if we are a few points out of playoff contention.

Otherwise, there are a number of other factors which come into play - including the value of his return at the trade deadline, the risk of no return if he isn't resigned, and how the team sees it's most promising defensive prospects are developing.

On thing I would lay money on, JR will get offers for Pitkanen which may be too good to pass up, regardless of what you, me or JR think of the player.

Personally, I think Pitkanen would resign here for a modest raise, and hope he does. But, I can't ignore those "other" factors.

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