2008-09: Iiro Pakarinen scored 12 goals with 10 assists and was +9 in 42 games (including playoffs) with KalPa (Kuopio) A Junior (U-20). Pakarinen also competed for Finland at the World Junior U-18 championships – scoring 1 goal with 1 assist in six games.
2009-10: Pakarinen split his season between KalPa's SM-Liiga and A-Junior squads as well as competing for Finland at the U-19 and U-20 levels. In 38 regular season games as an SM-Liiga rookie, Pakarinen scored 3 goals with 5 assists and was +1 with 37 PMs averaging just over eight minutes of ice-time per game as KalPa finished second behind JyP. In 12 playoff games, he scored three goals and was +2 with 8 PMs as KalPa reached the Kanada Cup semifinals. In 11 KalPa U-20 games, he scored 8 goals with 4 assists and had 10 PMs. Pakarinen scored 1 goal with 1 assist in six games for Finland at the World Junior U-20 championships. He was ranked 63rd amongst European skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings but was not selected in the 2010 NHL Draft.
2010-11: Pakarinen assumed a full-time role in his second pro season in Kuopio; scoring 7 goals with 3 assists in 47 games while accumulating 34 PMs and averaging twelve minutes of ice-time per game. KalPa, after finishing fifth in the regular season, was defeated by Lukko in a seven-game quarterfinal playoff series. Pakarinen scored one goal in Game 2 of the series and finished -1 for the series. Pakarinen played four games with Kalpa's A Junior team, scoring 3 goals with 2 assists and was also an assistant captain for Finland at the World Junior U-20 championships. In six games for Team Finland, he scored one goal with 2 assists and had 2 PMs. Pakarinen was ranked 81st amongst European skaters by Central Scouting and was selected by the Florida Panthers in the 7th round (184th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.
2011-12: Pakarinen provided both "sand paper" and timely goal scoring in a lower line role for Kalpa Kuopio in his third season in Finland's SM-Liiga. Playing a career-high 54 games, he scored 10 goals with 3 assists and was minus-three with 47 penalty minutes. KalPa finished with the top regular season record but fell to eighth-place Espoo in the playoffs. Pakarinen scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was minus-two in the seven-game series. In April 2012 he signed a contract to play for HIFK in 2012-13.
Pakarinen plays like a demon in tight spots, and his stick handling ability and skating agility compares favorably to any of the top young players in Finland. Rather than focus on artistic playmaking, however, Pakarinen prefers the physical elements of the game. Offensively, he does have a hard, accurate shot which suggests he could be a dangerous sniper. While his physical style explains his pedestrian offensive numbers, that abrasiveness has gained him both attention and notoriety from scouts. As coaches and scouts will tell you, it's easier to tone down a player who is too aggressive than it is to try and instill competitiveness.
Pakarinen signed a two-year contract with HIFK in the SM-Liiga over the summer, so he will be continuing his development in Finland for the near future. As with most seventh-round picks, Pakarinen needs polishing. Getting quality minutes in Finland’s top league can be difficult for young players, but if he continues to develop, Pakarinen could become a serviceable second- or third-line winger someday.