Magnus Paajarvi has faced numerous questions ever since his rookie season. Most of those questions were focused around whether he would ever be a legitimate NHLer and live up to the potential of a top ten draft pick. Paajarvi showed promise in his rookie year of 2010-11 scoring 15 goals, but did not come close last season with just 2 in 41 games. Even to start 2013, there were question marks as he was in and out of the lineup early.
He has started to show signs of that potential yet again over the last two months. He has 7 goals in 28 games played with all of them coming in the last 20 games. The numbers in themselves aren’t overly impressive, but the way Paajarvi is playing there is much cause for excitment with the Edmonton Oilers coaching staff.
At 6’2″ 205, he has the size most scouts look for and add to it the fact he’s got blazing straight line speed and you start to think what kind of player he could be. The knock on Paajarvi always has been that he’s a soft player and even with his size, he was reluctant to get involved physically or go to the dirty areas. The most impressive thing over the last two months has been his improvement in that area and his well rounded game. He is skating hard every shift and driving hard to the net. He’s competing hard for loose pucks and in 1 on 1 battles and not getting knocked off the puck as easy as before.
He has also shown a commitment to defense, playing solid in his own zone as well. His defensive awareness has always been perhaps his most underrated attribute.
The question still remains, what is Magnus Paajarvi’s future with the Edmonton Oilers?
While the question may be the same, the circumstances have certainly changed. Now he is looked at as a potentially valuable trade chip. With names like Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov, the Oilers are stacked with young talent up front and have obvious needs in other areas. This means Paajarvi could be expendable for the right price.
There are certainly those that think Paajarvi will be included in any number of trade proposals at the deadline. From Boston Bruins reporter Joe Haggerty of CNNE
“Don’t be shocked if its the name Magnus Paajarvi that you hear paired with Ryan Whitney in trade discussions with the Bruins. … I was told Whitney & a forward with a number of possibilities: Paajarvi and Hemsky among the names. We’ll see.”
It could be mutually beneficial if Steve Tambellini and the Oiler brass can bring in an asset to fill one of their many needs. However, it remains a risk to deal away a former top ten pick with the kind of overall skill set and is barely 22 years old.
Paajarvi has shown enough lately to prove he can be an asset to the lineup; although, it seems not everyone in Edmonton is sold on him long term. With the deadline less that a week away, time will tell what Paajarvi’s future with the club will hold.
Paajarvi’s value is on the rise and there will be no doubt many teams that would like to take a flyer on the young Swede, but for the Oilers sake they just hope a potential deal won’t come back to bite them.