Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen seems to be one of those players whom fans agree to disagree about. Some are very happy with his play and feel strongly that he should be brought back again next season, even at a high cost. Others feel the money would be better spent elsewhere.
Pitkanen won't come cheaply. The Finn is earning $4.5 million this season and his agent more than likely will be looking for a raise this summer. Last season he led the entire NHL with average time on ice and this season he is among the league leaders in that category.
He also tied his career best 46 points last season. His plus/minus, (+7) is best on the Carolina blueline so far this season.
|2005 - Joni Pitkanen||58||13||33||46||22||78||5||0||3||118|
|2006 - Joni Pitkanen||77||4||39||43||-25||88||1||0||0||137|
|2007 - Joni Pitkanen||63||8||18||26||-5||56||1||1||1||101|
|2008 - Joni Pitkanen||71||7||26||33||11
|2009 - Joni Pitkanen||71||6||40||46||-11||72||1||0||1||161|
|2010 - Joni Pitkanen||33||2||16||18||7||32||0||0||0||64|
Pitkanen has enough skill and talent that he can take over a game when he is at his best. He has tremendous vision of the rink, can skate with the best in the league, and has great instincts which help him to dole out some amazing passes.
But his detractors might say that he does not bring his best often enough, and at times, looks like he does not play with a needed sense of urgency.
Jim Rutherford has a huge decision coming up because if the defenseman has priced himself out of this market and if he more than likely will move on next season, then the GM might consider trading him before the trade deadline and get some assets for him.
On the other hand, Pitkanen could be a key component in making it to the playoffs this season, whether he moves on later or not. If the Hurricanes are still in the race, it would probably be difficult for the GM to pull the trigger on a deal, unless the return was too good to be true.
The Finn has been out of the lineup for three games now and some feel the team has done okay without him, while some feel the team is sorely lacking when he's not on the ice. Many of you have had a lot to say in recent comments about the defenseman, so I thought it would be interesting to create a poll to see what the majority has to say.
There are several different scenarios of how this could play out, but let's keep it simple for now. Would you re-sign Pitkanen again for next season, and if so, under what criteria?