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Oklahoma City Barons: Teemu Hartikainen's time with Barons is limited

Oklahoma City coach Todd Nelson said Hartikainen remains in the Edmonton Oilers' plans.
By Mike Baldwin Published: April 1, 2013

It's just a matter of time before Barons center Teemu Hartikainen returns to Edmonton.

The National Hockey League trading deadline is Tuesday. The Barons host Hamilton on Tuesday night at the Cox Convention Center.

But will Hartikainen still be in Oklahoma City later this week?

When Hartikainen made Edmonton's roster after the lockout ended, speculation was he might be in the NHL to stay. But after returning from a shoulder injury the 22-year-old native of Finland was sent to OKC due to a lack of production (three points in 19 games).

“It was a numbers game,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “They had all their guys healthy. And a guy like (Magnus) Paajarvi has been playing really well. It was hard for Hardy to get in the lineup.”

One advantage to playing in OKC is Hartikainen will get more ice time after averaging only 10 minutes a game with Edmonton. He'll be the Barons' in-the-crease force on power plays and play regular shifts.

Hartikainen, 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, has played on all three teams in Barons history. Last season, he was a key member on the team that reached the Western Conference finals.

“This is sort of like home to me,” Hartikainen said. “I feel comfortable in this locker room. I can play my game, be physical, score goals and play in front of the net on the (power play). I know what I can do in this league. My confidence is good.”

A sixth-round pick in the 2008 draft, Hartikainen proved he can fill a lower-line role for the Oilers. One reason he was reassigned to Oklahoma City is Edmonton could send him to Triple-A without exposing him to waivers.

“When Hardy is playing his game he's very tough to play against, when he's moving his feet, finishing his checks and is very strong down low,” Nelson said. “He's learned the last three years his role is to be that big body up front. The big thing for him is consistency.”

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