Magnus Paajarvi has practically become the forgotten Beatle on the Edmonton Oilers, as they continue to go through a pleathora of high draft picks. Paajarvi’s transition to the NHL hasn’t been quite as smooth as it has for some of the other younger guns on the Oilers.
The 10th overall draft pick from 2009 enjoyed his first NHL season by tallying 15 times, but went through a sophomore slump by only scoring twice in 41 games and them spent the rest of the year on the farm club in Oklahoma City. I truly believe a lot Paajarvi’s woes can be blamed on misuse by coaching and management. The rest can put on Paajarvi shoulders as longer he went without goals, the more it became a burden on his mind and then his overall game started to take a hit. Paajarvi will need to learn that his value won’t always be measured in goals and assists.
As the Oilers continue to take on young scoring machines, Paajarvi is a player that will have to find a way to view the game through a different scope. Taking more of a checking line role, learning how to penalty kill, learning how to use a counterpunch attack. The Oilers can use Paajarvi in these roles and it would only help with a deeper scoring attack. The Oilers are going to need reliable players, ones that can take a shift without being a detriment defensively, and I feel Paajarvi’s game will thrive once he learns the ins and outs of this style of game.
If I Could Grant One Wish – Courage: Magnus Paajarvi has a lot of the skills that Taylor Hall possesses, flying down the wing at high speeds and excellent puck control, but the thing that separates them is being able to finish off a play knowing there may be a chance that they might get their blocks knocked off. Courage is the thing that has dinged up Taylor Hall’s shoulders and its the thing that keep Magnus Paajarvi from finishing plays at the net. Scoring goals comes from putting the other team’s defense under constant pressure, but it comes at a high price of perhaps not finishing the game, perhaps even the season. If Paajarvi can find this trait within him, there will be no looking back and he should become a fixture on the Oilers for years to come.
Prediction for 2013 – Will Achieve A Career High In Goals: Another ambitious prediction, especially with a lockout looming. I feel Paajarvi learned a lot from last season and the Oilers are willing to give him a depth role more suitable to his game. I feel Paajarvi and fellow countryman Anton Lander should be joined at the hip from here on out. Break them in on the 4th line, move them up the depth chart when injuries arise, and let them learn and feed of off each other. This shouldn’t be played like a normal 4th line though, more of a ten minute per game 4th line. The Oilers need to continue to monitor his contributions to the club but he is to the point where his contributions need to be seen on paper and on the ice. While some believe that Paajarvi should be given a straight ticket to OKC, I feel he should be given every opportunity to make the big club straight out of training camp.