Breaking: Veteran Oilers forward bolts for KHL

No problem… just another winger spot for GM Chiarelli to fill. Yikes.

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According to a Finnish language report from Iltalehti’s Pekka Jalonen, Edmonton Oilers forward Iiro Pakarinen is leaving the team and joining the KHL.

The 26 year old Pakarinen spent four seasons in the Edmonton organization, splitting each of them between the Oilers and their AHL affiliate the Bakersfield Condors. He’s played exactly 200 regular season games split between the two leagues with two-thirds (134) of them in the NHL.

The veteran winger was never able to nail down a full-time spot with the Oilers, playing just 40 games this past season. 

The Edmonton Journal's Bruce McCurdy sums up Pakarinen's time in Edmonton saying:

...Pakarinen is a pretty classic case of a tweener, or “entry level” player in the terminology of some. The former 7th round pick of Florida Panthers was signed as an unrestricted free agent. Pakarinen netted 20 goals in that season, his fifth in his domestic league, the Finnish Liiga, then went on to impress for a Finnish national squad that won silver at the Worlds that spring of 2014. He signed a two-year, two-way entry level deal, then renewed twice more for one year, one-way at the eminently reasonable rate of $725,000. 
The Finn was an easy player to like. He was a real pro, never said boo about his lot in life even when from a distance it appeared he was getting the short end of the stick. When he did get in the line-up he skated hard in both directions, mostly in straight lines. His game is straightforward too: skate, shoot, hit. He was one Oiler you could count on to not try to thread the pass through the slot, he’d just fire away. 
Pakarinen had one distinct positive at the NHL level, in that he was an excellent penalty-killer. In 2017-18 he was on the ice for by far the lowest Shots Against per 60 of any regular Oiler PKer.

If this is indeed the end of the road for Pakarinen in the NHL, he leaves the league with just 10 goals and 23 points in 134 career games, all with the Oilers. His most productive season, 2015-16, he scored just give goals and 13 points in 63 games.