Pääjärvi's Season

Lowetide
March 26 2011 08:34AM

Magnus Pääjärvi is a very impressive young player. Size, blazing speed and exceptional attention to defensive detail for a man his age. As his rookie season nears an end, there is one question we should ask about him: is he going to score enough to be a long term option for the top 2 lines?

One way we can evaluate hockey players is by their points scored at even strength (5x5 in this case) per hour. It isn't perfect--if you're a rookie on a bad team and playing with subpar linemates for most of the season that will impact your totals--but it does give you an idea about the player and how often he contributes to the puck going in the other net.

OILERS 10-11 5x5/60 FORWARDS (30+ games)

  1. Ales Hemsky 2.88
  2. Sam Gagner 1.91
  3. Jordan Eberle 1.88
  4. Linus Omark 1.86
  5. Taylor Hall 1.78
  6. Ryan Jones 1.49
  7. Shawn Horcoff 1.47
  8. Magnus Pääjärvi 1.40
  9. Andrew Cogliano 1.37
  10. Liam Reddox 1.07
  11. JF Jacques 1.00
  12. Gilbert Brule 0.99
  13. Colin Fraser 0.50 

A couple of notes: The men 1-5 have delivered solid offense based on this team's overall skill set (that's my opinion) and specifically things are looking up for rookies Eberle and Hall offensively.  Pääjärvi is delivering about the same offense as Robert Nilsson did a year ago, but he's a different kind of player and can be useful in another role.

This isn't the be all and end all,  Pääjärvi could post a much better number a year from now. And it's also not written in stone that it will do him any good--Marc Pouliot had a 2.06 5x5/60 and they sent his ass out of town. However, with the understanding that  Pääjärvi wasn't facing the toughest opposition (RedCorsi numbers are here) and was playing (generally) with good linemates (proof is here) it may be time to start talking about Magnus Pääjärvi outside the scoring lines.

Pääjärvi is a bit of an odd duck on the ice. Many times he's in an extreme defensive position; his positioning on plays is often curious (when he isn't leading the rush he appears to my eye to be the de facto center on the line, entering late ala Adam Oates many years ago). I like him as a future 2-way winger, and have suggested in the past that Tomas Sandstrom is his best comparable.

I think Magnus Pääjärvi will have solid offensive seasons during his career. His final point total this season (currently 72gp, 11-17-28) is more than respectable--he ranks 10th among rookie forwards in the entire league and only Hall and Skinner rank ahead of him among teenagers--but I also believe he has a wide range of skills and may be best suited to a two-way role.

You know those times when you're mourning the loss of Fernando Pisani and pining for the days of the Marchant-Moreau-Grier line? Or when you reach back to 2006 spring and recall those wonderful two-way forwards like Mike Peca and Radek Dvorak? 

I think that might be Pääjärvi's future. Pisani with more offense. And that my friends is a fine NHL player.  

NOTE: I'll be on Nation Radio at noon today (Team 1260). You can email questions to Doug MacLean (among others) to nationradio@theteam1260.com

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Wanyes bastard child
March 26 2011, 11:44AM
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What does this article have to do with Horcoff's contract and trading Gagner?

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#2 David S
March 26 2011, 12:57PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

What does this article have to do with Horcoff's contract and trading Gagner?

Oh it will. Just be patient and remember the laws...

Nation Law #1023.096.98 All Nation comment threads will inevitably deviate to one of two ultimate possibilities:

1- "Shawn Horcoff's bad contract" 2- "Trade Sam Gagner for a player just like Sam Gagner."

Nation Law #1023.096.98-001 A Nation comment thread shall be deemed "epic" when items (1) and (2) in Nation Law #1023.096.98 occur simultaneously.

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#3 They're $hittie
March 26 2011, 06:50PM
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OMG, we do this to Gagner, and now before he is only 19 we are turning on Magnus. Next year Eberle will be the scape goat than the following year RNH. The future top six with the players we hve now is not bad and needs time.

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#5 buttermilk buscuits free today
March 26 2011, 08:35AM
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Could it be...yup..I win, first to comment..yeeeeeehaaaaaawwww..second time evvvver

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#7 godot10
March 26 2011, 04:10PM
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Paajarvi slid to #10 in the draft because his counting stats were not great in his draft year in the SEL.

They got much better the following year. Might be a pattern of not wanting to be a liability (MacT's...it depends what you get vs. want you give up), before trying to be more adventurous on the offensive side of the game. i.e. A legacy of the fact he began hockey as a defenseman.

I think we get a better idea of Magus's top end offensively next year.

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#8 Randall Shermer
March 26 2011, 06:10PM
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rindog wrote:

I am guessing that if the Oilers didn't have 4 and 14 in the line-up this year, we would all be salivating over the super-rook PRV...

Weird how perception works. Gagner has almost double the scoring rate in his rookie season (similar TOI/g), however Paajarvi is big and fast so people love him even if he's not putting it in too much.

Then Gagner actually turns into a better, more complete player but the sexy points aren't there in bigger quantities so suddenly there are fans grumbling that he should be traded before others find out he's not 6'02".

Yet Eberle, who is all of 6 months younger and neither faster nor bigger than Gagner is a surefire top liner that just can't be traded. Eberle's scoring rate, by the way, on similar minutes for his 20 year old rookie season is nearly identical to Gagner's scoring rate in his 18 year old rookie season. I know they played on different teams but surely that should give one pause for thought on both Gagner and Eberle.

I get that its possible to see Paajarvi with his speed and size and see "untapped potential". Same with Eberle with his splendid stick work and shifty attack. But I think its only honest to ask the other side of untapped potential, namely: why, if Paajarvi is so blessed with such advantages, didn't he do better offensively in his rookie season? Why always "untapped potential" and not more "disappointing waste of talent"?

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#9 buttermilk buscuits free today
March 26 2011, 08:44AM
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WIth the fisting out of the way I think Paajarvi will put up much greater numbers than Pisani, Dvorak, or Peca did..what seperates Paajarvi from those guys is his tremendous skill set and good offensive awareness..he is just figuring out the league this year..I dont think he is on Taylor Halls level, but if he wouldve been given Hall type of ice time all season I can see Paajarvi having a 35-40 point season this year..I still dont think its too late to Compare him to a Hossa or even Jagr..or how about Malkin with more speed, I honestly dont doubt that Paajarvi has the potential to be a 70+ point getter in the future, I even see him scoring 80-90 points one day, call me crazy.. Now if he does end up like a Peca or Sandstrom or Dvorak..thats still a good player but I see much more upside in his game..

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#10 Stone Hands McOsta
March 26 2011, 08:47AM
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Nice write up as always LT, I have higher hopes for the kid (Oiler fan with high hopes? I know, crazy). I think if he stays on track with his development and gets better line mates he could put up solid numbers, but its tough when #4 is above you on the depth chart.

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#11 buttermilk buscuits free today
March 26 2011, 08:48AM
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Was just checking out hockeydb.com, if Paajarvi ever ends up with Sandstrom type numbers we have got ourselves a hell of a player (857 pts in 983 gms)

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#12 Ashley
March 26 2011, 08:57AM
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Great article as always.

That Pouliot showed well on the 5x5 stat (on par with Penner/Hemsky) is indicative of how shallow a measure it is. There is so much more in determining the value of a player, and sometimes that perspective can get buried by heavily processed statistics. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I thought it should be said.

I'm in town this weekend and going to the game tonight. I love it here and miss it so much. Great buzz, great town. If only I could get back more often.

Go Oilers!

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#13 jake
March 26 2011, 09:01AM
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I think he has a good future ahead of him.

With that speed of his, I would say a great future if he fills out a bit and adds some more physical toughness to his game.

Watching him turn the afterburners on and fly down the ice, although not guaranteeing a goal with the effort, is a thing of beauty.

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#15 Matt Henderson
March 26 2011, 09:14AM
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I think he's having a pretty typical rookie year. He's learning his way through the North American game, being immersed in a foreign language fulltime (even if he did know English before he came here it isnt his native tongue), and he's still a teenager.

It's too early to project one way or the other, but I havent SEEN anything that suggests he doesnt possess the skills or drive required to become a top 6 player. I'll keep the math in mind, but the sample size is too small and the greater context can too easily balance the expectations.

I would also like to see the numbers broken down quarterly, to see if there was noticeable change as the season wore on. But that's probably best to do right after game 82.

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#16 John Chambers
March 26 2011, 09:51AM
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And some players just develop their offensive skill at the NHL level after several years of playing in the world's top league.

Perhaps a comparison is Olli Jokinen. As a young player he had all sorts of skill and speed, but never cracked the 60-point plateau until his 5th full season in the NHL (6 years after being drafted).

This is why I'm not bullish on the Oilers competing for the playoffs over the next two seasons. Hall and Eberle have played beyond their years, while Paajarvi has played to a level you might expect for a teenager. Their emergence into top-shelp NHL players won't take 2-3 years, but more like 5-7.

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#17 Magnetman
March 26 2011, 10:00AM
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Great article.

Hey my first post.

I like Paajarvi's vision. It will only improve in time. With the first half of the season his not seeing the ice time, his development was a lot slower than Hall and Eberle, absolutely.

With the emergence of the tandem of Pajaarvi and Omark, the Oil certainly have a great option for Sam Gagner. The three of them started to develop a chemistry prior to Sam's ill-fated drink of water.

I'd like to see Paajarvi top six. Will we? I think given the time to mesh with Gagner and Omark next season he'd be a no-brainer. With more icetime comes more responsibility, but also comes more opportunity.....something Paajarvi lacked the first half of the season IMO.

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#18 MattL
March 26 2011, 10:27AM
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@Lowetide

MPS-Lander-Omark has to get a half dozen trial games at some point next year, right?

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#19 Matt Henderson
March 26 2011, 10:36AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Just so we're clear: 2-way forwards are GOOD things. :-)

Completely agree, but I'm wary of using his rookie season to determine if he can be a top 6 forward.

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#20 coggsforsale
March 26 2011, 10:53AM
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already making excuses to get rid of another young player on this young team,none of these picks we have won't be good for 3 or 4 years.lets trade them all and get a team full of plugs!!

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#21 Tha Legion
March 26 2011, 11:07AM
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MattL wrote:

MPS-Lander-Omark has to get a half dozen trial games at some point next year, right?

My only problem with that is that OMark's defensive game is bantha fodder

and I don't like how there isn't a right handed shot.

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#22 PaperDesigner
March 26 2011, 11:25AM
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Does being a two-way winger necessarily preclude him from eventually turning into a high-end offensive player? I think Paajarvi has the tools to turn into a 60+ point player, maybe significantly better than that, but I think his defensive conscience is encouraging.

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#23 Shane
March 26 2011, 11:27AM
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The one thing I notice about Maggie's game this year is when he does turn the jets on going into the offensive zone he doesnt drive to the net, he'll either slow up or turn in the corner. Once this kid learns to drive hard to the net(and puts on a couple pounds) he'll be a force.

Also as a side note I just want to say, Please!! Lander over Fraser next year!!

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#24 YFC Prez
March 26 2011, 11:35AM
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@Tha Legion

my 2nd post...I feel like a true citizen! Omark seems to be making better plays in his own end as of late. And recovering well from his faux-pas. I think that whatever happens with Paajarvi will be greatly affected by Omark. These 2 players will be a pretty solid tandem behind Eberle and Hall. Could be my blind "they can do wrong" devotion for the oiler kids speaking,but as a Oiler Fanatic I really hope Paajarvi developes into a great second liner.

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#25 kgo
March 26 2011, 11:53AM
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MPS is a defensman, the sooner Renney accepts that, the sooner we win the cup!

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#26 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 26 2011, 12:03PM
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Shane wrote:

The one thing I notice about Maggie's game this year is when he does turn the jets on going into the offensive zone he doesnt drive to the net, he'll either slow up or turn in the corner. Once this kid learns to drive hard to the net(and puts on a couple pounds) he'll be a force.

Also as a side note I just want to say, Please!! Lander over Fraser next year!!

I notice this from him too. I really think he's still figuring out the physical play of the NHL. He's shying away from it right now. That's what's making him less effective.

He's a big guy at 6' 3" and 200 lbs. He'll be on par with the other guys when he gets comfortable.

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#27 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 26 2011, 12:09PM
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Also, 91's confidence is much lower than the other rookies. He always makes the safe play - never takes any risks. Feels like he doesn't trust himself to take a risk once in a while.

I really think he'll have the longest learning period compared to the other kids but he may pass 14's offensive production in the long run if everything goes well. And that's not a knock on Ebs what's so ever.

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#28 Shane
March 26 2011, 12:32PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

Also, 91's confidence is much lower than the other rookies. He always makes the safe play - never takes any risks. Feels like he doesn't trust himself to take a risk once in a while.

I really think he'll have the longest learning period compared to the other kids but he may pass 14's offensive production in the long run if everything goes well. And that's not a knock on Ebs what's so ever.

I gotta disagree with you there though Max, Ebs is a 90 point guy me thinks.. So smart. Im too young but my Dad says he has a lazer shot like Bossy.

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#29 Maggie the Monkey
March 26 2011, 12:41PM
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"only Hall and Skinner rank ahead of him among teenagers"

I'm nitpicking a bit but you forgot about Cam Fowler with 34 points. The kid's having a hell of a rookie season, especially for a teenage d-man.

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#30 Jeetz
March 26 2011, 01:08PM
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I really like your reads, however this time I do no agree.

A little early to go from Nalund-Kopitar comparisons to Pisani-Peca. Clearly Hall and Eberle has had the lion's share of key opportunities and preimium linemates. Pajaarvi been 3rd all year. Now he is getting lots of ice time on a team missing 6 of its top 6 players.

Next year he will be the same age as Eberle this year and will put up better numbers (he will have better linemates and opportunities simply based upon the emergence of Omark and Hartikainen), which in my mind could put him ahead of Eberle on the depth chart

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#31 Wax Man Riley
March 26 2011, 01:08PM
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@David S

I say we trade Horcoff's contract and Sam Gagner for Crosby. Get'er done Tambo!

*also an allusion to everyone that thinks that building a team is as easy as NHL'09

.....more of a Nation By-law

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#32 kinnick kinnick - draft larsson and mcneill
March 26 2011, 01:10PM
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kgo wrote:

MPS is a defensman, the sooner Renney accepts that, the sooner we win the cup!

Yeah I like his potential on the point on the PP, might be a waste of offensive talent as a full time D though. It's great to know that when the other team's pk gets a stick on the puck and there's need to worry about a guaranteed break away coming the other way because MPS can catch them. Great shot too.

Furthermore;, draft Larsson and McNeill.

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#33 ebbandflow
March 26 2011, 02:09PM
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@kinnick kinnick - draft larsson and mcneill

Patrick Sharp = mps

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#34 a lg dubl dubl
March 26 2011, 02:09PM
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Shane wrote:

The one thing I notice about Maggie's game this year is when he does turn the jets on going into the offensive zone he doesnt drive to the net, he'll either slow up or turn in the corner. Once this kid learns to drive hard to the net(and puts on a couple pounds) he'll be a force.

Also as a side note I just want to say, Please!! Lander over Fraser next year!!

I agree 100% the kid is damn near unstopable when he gets his skates goin, and once he figures out that he can will his way to the net i see a 70 point player.

*sidenote* enough with the trade gagner bs ppl, ill be the first to lol at all of you within the next 2yrs when he really starts kickin ass

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#35 Mike Modano's Dog
March 26 2011, 02:15PM
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Ashley wrote:

Great article as always.

That Pouliot showed well on the 5x5 stat (on par with Penner/Hemsky) is indicative of how shallow a measure it is. There is so much more in determining the value of a player, and sometimes that perspective can get buried by heavily processed statistics. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I thought it should be said.

I'm in town this weekend and going to the game tonight. I love it here and miss it so much. Great buzz, great town. If only I could get back more often.

Go Oilers!

Welcome back! I know I missed Edmonton when I was gone, as well. Have a blast at the game tonight!!

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#36 Team Couturier
March 26 2011, 02:18PM
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LT, I still can't understand the reason for Couturiers drop in the standings to #4, other than footspeed. To me though, his huge size makes up for any apparent lack in footspeed. And, if you look at the numbers only, he is a shoe-in for #1 overall in my mind. His numbers are better than Eric or Jordan Staals by a margin. I realize he's not a physical big man, but size gets you something in the NHL. See Penner, Dustin. Draft the big man #1, Oilers. Vinny Lecavalier comparable?

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#37 Hemmertime
March 26 2011, 02:26PM
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Magnetman wrote:

Great article.

Hey my first post.

I like Paajarvi's vision. It will only improve in time. With the first half of the season his not seeing the ice time, his development was a lot slower than Hall and Eberle, absolutely.

With the emergence of the tandem of Pajaarvi and Omark, the Oil certainly have a great option for Sam Gagner. The three of them started to develop a chemistry prior to Sam's ill-fated drink of water.

I'd like to see Paajarvi top six. Will we? I think given the time to mesh with Gagner and Omark next season he'd be a no-brainer. With more icetime comes more responsibility, but also comes more opportunity.....something Paajarvi lacked the first half of the season IMO.

Welcome to ON... as a poster at least heh. Good point, but I wouldnt call it a no brainer. If Omark Gags and Paaj all have top 6 that leaves Eberle, Hall, Horc and Hemmer. Even if Hall plays C Eberle and Hemmer play RW usually.

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#38 Team Nuge
March 26 2011, 02:28PM
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I think if you can grab a Landeskog at #5 overall, you do cartwheels. But #1 overall? Horse radish. Pretty pedestrian numbers to be picked tops overall. Great future 2nd liner, no more no less. Alexander Burrows comparable?

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#39 Lil' Gagner
March 26 2011, 02:30PM
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If the Oilers do the right thing and draft a centre at the draft, Your top six looks like this: Hall RNH Eberle MP Gagner Hemsky Omark. I think we need MP to be a top sixer, and to give him that chance Penner had to go.

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#40 kgo
March 26 2011, 02:33PM
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kinnick kinnick - draft larsson and mcneill wrote:

Yeah I like his potential on the point on the PP, might be a waste of offensive talent as a full time D though. It's great to know that when the other team's pk gets a stick on the puck and there's need to worry about a guaranteed break away coming the other way because MPS can catch them. Great shot too.

Furthermore;, draft Larsson and McNeill.

i don't see the waste of offensive talent by putting him on D, he doesn't have that much FINISH, but he skates shoots and reads the play tremendously, he makes smart plays and reminds me of young lidstrom, always passing to the guy with the most time instead of just head-manning it.

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#41 Dave
March 26 2011, 02:52PM
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I disagree. Blazing speed, nice size, a great shot, responsible defensively. IMO Pääjärvi is going to be a superstar.

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#42 Quicksilver ballet
March 26 2011, 03:23PM
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Have to think a few were mildly dissappointed with MPS's year this season. Adjusting to north america, the language and the smaller ice surface hasn't been easy it appears. Most probably expected more out of Magnus than Jordan or Taylor this season.

I don't like his chances in this town if we don't see the player we hoped we were getting within the next two seasons.

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#43 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 26 2011, 03:41PM
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"I think that might be Pääjärvi's future. Pisani with more offense. And that my friends is a fine NHL player."

I hope you are wrong for his sake and ours, otherwise the vultures will have him run out of town sometime before his 22nd bday.

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#44 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 26 2011, 03:42PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Have to think a few were mildly dissappointed with MPS's year this season. Adjusting to north america, the language and the smaller ice surface hasn't been easy it appears. Most probably expected more out of Magnus than Jordan or Taylor this season.

I don't like his chances in this town if we don't see the player we hoped we were getting within the next two seasons.

Hey look who showed up! Right on queue.

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#45 Quicksilver ballet
March 26 2011, 03:54PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Hey look who showed up! Right on queue.

Yeah, i'm here all week Obbie, try the veal.

I did give him two more years, it's not as though i left tire tracks on him, did i?

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#46 Horcsky
March 26 2011, 03:55PM
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I think that you may have an accurate assessment of Magnus as a solid 2-way player, with 2nd-3rd line potential. The problem for us as fans, is it's been so long since we've seen a legitimate prospect, that any young player who looks like he can actually play in the NHL is immediately thought of as a top six forward.

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#47 tyler
March 26 2011, 04:03PM
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Team Couturier wrote:

LT, I still can't understand the reason for Couturiers drop in the standings to #4, other than footspeed. To me though, his huge size makes up for any apparent lack in footspeed. And, if you look at the numbers only, he is a shoe-in for #1 overall in my mind. His numbers are better than Eric or Jordan Staals by a margin. I realize he's not a physical big man, but size gets you something in the NHL. See Penner, Dustin. Draft the big man #1, Oilers. Vinny Lecavalier comparable?

the problem with coutourier is he never really shows up tp play when you get a chance to watch him. The subway super series against russia he didnt really do anything, and the prospects game he was one of the most invisible people on the ice. I know he was 17 making the world jrs, but if you watch those games hes kind of invisible as well. I think coutouriers going to be little bit better of a version of marc pouliot.draft rnh, or larson or landeskog

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#48 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
March 26 2011, 04:08PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Yeah, i'm here all week Obbie, try the veal.

I did give him two more years, it's not as though i left tire tracks on him, did i?

One blog you're defending Bulin, next one you are doing up the paper work for the start of the run MPS out of town club.

You're one wierd dude, I'll give you that much.

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#49 Shane
March 26 2011, 04:41PM
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Team Couturier wrote:

LT, I still can't understand the reason for Couturiers drop in the standings to #4, other than footspeed. To me though, his huge size makes up for any apparent lack in footspeed. And, if you look at the numbers only, he is a shoe-in for #1 overall in my mind. His numbers are better than Eric or Jordan Staals by a margin. I realize he's not a physical big man, but size gets you something in the NHL. See Penner, Dustin. Draft the big man #1, Oilers. Vinny Lecavalier comparable?

Size and finish does not assure you a job in the Show see Giroux, Alexandre

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#50 rindog
March 26 2011, 05:02PM
Trash it!
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@Lowetide

I am guessing that if the Oilers didn't have 4 and 14 in the line-up this year, we would all be salivating over the super-rook PRV...

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