has always been an Oilers fan.
Since he was a young hockey player growing up in Finland, the 6-4, 209-pound physical winger has always had a soft spot in his heart for the blue and orange.
In his hometown of Pori, the minor hockey teams played under the alias of National Hockey League teams and, you guessed it, Joenssu was an Oiler.
“It’s a dream come true,” Joensuu said following an informal skate in Edmonton with a handful of Oilers players and prospects. “I’ve been an Oiler fan since when I was a kid. I started playing hockey as an Oiler.”
He wore the number six as a young Oiler as well, the number he will be donning as a grown-up when he takes the ice for the big boys this season.
One might say it was fate that landed the forward a two-year contract with Edmonton in July. Or it was just mutual interest between the two parties.
“With this free agency, they had two days before you can actually sign. They had time to negotiate and the Oilers were active right away. I talked to the General Manager (Craig) MacTavish and then Scott Howson. They made me feel very comfortable coming here.”
Joensuu is a big, physical forward who spent the 2012-13 season splitting time between Finland and the New York Islanders. The 25-year-old suffered a wrist injury last season that put a frustrating halt to his growing success as a player.
“I was really, really excited to come back after the lockout. I felt I had a great year, a great World Championship. I felt like I approved as a player a lot compared to those three first years I had my entry level.
“I was really excited to come back. But then the lockout happened and then I got hurt in Finland and it was tough to play there when I was able to play. But I knew that it was just getting worse.”
Joensuu had surgery to correct the issue with his wrist and now it’s time to take his game off pause and start over in a new environment.
“This is my new chance and I am really confident that I can prove to everybody, mostly myself, that I belong.”
The former second-round pick, 60th overall, of the Islanders in 2006 sees the talent on the Oilers and is impressed. It’s one of the factors that attracted him to Edmonton.
“It has a huge amount of talent. That’s obvious and it’s a matter of time when this organization starts winning again. I hope it will be sooner than later.”
Joensuu joins veteran players like Boyd Gordon and Andrew Ference whom MacTavish and the Oilers have added to help bolster that talent and push the team over the hump and into the playoffs.