Pitkanen missed the 2006 Olympics due to injury and is scheduled to make his Olympic debut in Vancouver. The Oulu, Finland native has international experience, helping his nation win back-to-back bronze medals at the 2002 and 2003 World Junior Championships. He received the IIHF Directorate Award as the tournament’s top defenseman in 2003.
I definitely think going back down helped me, I had a lot of confidence down there, I played a lot of minutes and I think that helped me a lot. With the 37 games up here, that gave me experience as well. I know what it takes to play in the NHL and now it's time for me to show that I'm capable of being a full-time NHL player.
— Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on finishing the 2014-15 season in juniors after playing 37 games with Edmonton to begin the season