The unknown big man: Jesse Joensuu- One of the early signings this off-season for GM Craig Mactavish was a relatively unknown player from the Islanders organization, Jesse Joensuu. I say ‘unknown’ as it is doubtful few outside of the most hardcore NHL fans and observers would have any idea who Jesse Joensuu is or even seen him play. However, at 6’4″ and 210lbs, he does add much needed size to the Oilers forward ranks. Is he a big league player or minor league stop gap?
Drafted by the Islanders in the 2nd round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Joensuu has played parts of 5 seasons bouncing between the big league club and their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. In 67 NHL games Joensuu has managed 8 goals and 7 assists for 15 points. In his first full AHL season back in 2008-09, the big Finn managed 20 goals and 19 assists in 71 games. So he does have some offensive touch.
The 2010-11 season was witness to Joensuu’s longest stretch in the NHL where he got into action 42 times and scored 6 goals. According to theleftwinglock.com, Joensuu saw no special teams time and was primarily used on either a line with Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau or with Zenon Konopka and Matt Martin. Playing a portion of his shifts with Konopka and Martin it is a wonder he scored at all.
During the 2010-11 season Joensuu had 59 hits in 42 games which was way off the pace set by teammate and sometime line mate Matt Martin who had 299 in 68 games. I don’t know how much value I put I’m the ‘hits’ stat for two reasons: it is subjective and if a player throws numerous hits it means his team is spending time without possession of the puck. However, I do like that Joensuu was getting more than hit per game. It at least it shows he is willing to be somewhat physical even though he averaged less than a penalty minute per game that season.
With a small sample from a couple of seasons ago and in light of who Joensuu’s line mates were, I don’t know how much can be read into his advanced stats from that season. Playing with a proficient faceoff man in Konopka during the 2010-11 season, it is not surprising that Joensuu started only 43.8% of his shifts in the offensive zone. Additionally, playing on a poor Islanders team in a defensive role it is again not surprising that Joensuu’s Corsi Rel for that season was -7.6. Again, I don’t know how much we can read into these numbers, but given his team, role, and line mates they aren’t terrible.
I couldn’t find many scouting reports referencing Joensuu, but here is a summary from Hockey’s Future:
So who is Jesse Joensuu and what does he mean for Oiler fans? Best case scenario he turns into a reasonable energy third/fourth liner who can give the Oilers some size and additional scoring touch. Worst case is he joins Ben Eager on the Barons.
Until next time,