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2010-11 Canes Country Exit Analysis: Joni Pitkanen

Now that the draft has come and gone and Canes related free agency moves have quieted down, it's time to get back to our end of season analysis reports. Next up, we review the performance of Carolina defenseman, Joni Pitkanen.

If you ask fans what they think about the blueliner, you'll get a wide variety of answers and they come from both ends of the spectrum. Some think he is one of the best defensemen in the NHL, others don't like his game all that much.

After the jump, we'll take a look at the numbers and see how he did for the Canes this past season.

Joni Pitkanen

#25 / Defenseman / Carolina Hurricanes



Sep 19, 1983

2010-11- Joni Pitkanen 72 5 30 35 -2 60 1 0 1 144
2009-10 - Joni Pitkanen 71 6 40 46 -11 72 1 0 1 161
2008-09 - Joni Pitkanen 71 7 26 33 11 58 2 0 3 147

The Good: Pitkanen plays in all situations and can log huge minutes when necessary, sometimes even going over 30 minutes per game. He's one of the smoothest skaters in the NHL and his long stride can cover the ice quickly when needed. His point production this past season was pretty consistent with how he's done throughout his NHL career, although he was 11 points behind his career best from the 2009-10 season. His 35 points were 7th best on the team and second on the blueline behind Corvo's 40 points. He was first on the team in average ice time per game at 25:01 and was 13th in the league with that number, but that was down from his league leading 27:22 from two years ago. Pitkanen was second on the team with 130 blocked shots, (behind Tim Gleason who had 141.) The defenseman was probably the best on the team at getting the puck out of his own end and had the best first pass out from the blueline. He is one of the better passers on the team.

The Bad: Many people expect more from Pitkanen because he looks so talented and he has so many skills, but sometimes he disappoints with results. He led all Carolina defensemen with an average of over four minutes per game on the powerplay, but only managed one powerplay goal last season. In the three years while with the Canes, he has only scored a total of four powerplay goals, seemingly not enough for a powerplay specialist. For comparison sake, Joe Corvo scored 18 powerplay goals during the same time frame. The Finn can be frustratingly inconsistent at times in his own end, sometimes getting out-worked and/or finding himself out of position. He has an outstanding shot, but does not use it as often as he could.

The Money: The defenseman just signed a three-year deal with Carolina which will pay him an average of $4.5 million per season.

How would you grade Joni Pitkanen for last season's performance?

(Grades so far?)

Patrick Dwyer B

Jeff Skinner A

Erik Cole A

Jay Harrison B

Jussi Jokinen B

Chad LaRose C

Cory Stillman B

Brandon Sutter B

See them in detail at this link: 2010-11 Exit Reviews