GETTING MIGHTY CROWDED

Lowetide
May 20 2012 08:05AM

One area the new head coach of the Oilers can help himself is in the deployment of Swedes and Finns. While the Canadian kids won the day early in the rebuild, there is an abundance of untapped potential in the group we'll call the Nordics. Do they match up well for the roles available?

There are only so many seats still available for this edition of the Boys on the Bus. If we assume the Oilers will draft Nail Yakupov next month, it's getting mighty crowded for the skill slots among the forwards. Hall, Eberle, The Nuge, Nail, Sam and Hemmer makes 6, and we're still waiting for the first Swede or Finn.

The Oilers have a nice group of kids from those two countries, but under the Renney regime they were blocked or got passed like a house on the side of the road. I'm in no way suggesting the coaching staff was anti-Euro, it's just the way the cookie crumbled. Paajarvi was beaten to the NHL jobs available on the wing by an older player (Eberle) and a #1 overall selection (Hall) as a rookie and he still posted some solid crooked numbers.

This past season, Edmonton acquired Ryan Smyth and along with Ryan Jones, Ben Eager and pleasant surprise Lennart Petrell blocked the way for Paajarvi and Finn Teemu Hartikainen.

GETTING MIGHTY CROWDED

The jobs on the wing that should be available this fall are the role players, the checkers, the penalty killers, the worker bees. That role would seem to suit Hartikainen, and certainly Lander's skill set dovetails nicely into that scenario. However, Magnus Paajarvi--despite having an abundance of skill and lightning speed that should be a huge asset on the forecheck, would appear to be a "tweener" on this roster: not skilled enough to beat out the projected top line wingers, and perhaps not ideal for the gritty, "let 'em know you're there" roster spots the new coach will no doubt want for his bottom 6.

I think the coaching change means a new lease on life for all the forwards who did not perform as expected this past season. That includes Eager, Paajarvi and the rest but a player like Paajarvi will need to arrive at training camp as a man on a mission. That goes for Lander and Hartikainen too. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

It's too early to say these kids are at a crossroads--all three could play in OKC another year and hone their skills with an eye to making it fall 2013. However, the opportunities are dwindling and with each passing acquisition the window of opportunity closes a little.

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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 Team 1260.
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#1 dawgtoy
May 20 2012, 08:10AM
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Good Morning LT

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#2 Oilcruzer
May 20 2012, 08:11AM
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The Oil need to showcase the assets as much as possible. Playing against the Marlies helps.

Players who figure they are above playing in the AHL and want to be traded to another team do the Oil and themselves no favours.

IF (big if) MPS breaks through, that creates a way to move a centre.

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#3 PerryK
May 20 2012, 08:22AM
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Missed the last half of Nation Radio yesterday. Any idea when the podcast will be on?

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#5 15w40
May 20 2012, 08:38AM
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Even though the oil have a lot of good parts, they have a lot of holes as has been discussed at great length. Its great to talk about depth at certain positions but depth really only means a great deal when there is a balanced squad at all positions. I still say draft the BPA if that's Yakupov but in the end you may need to entertain dealing one of the golden boys to strengthen your position elsewhere. Not calling MPS a golden boy at this point but there was sure some high hopes for this guy. Maybe he will flourish in another organization that doesn't appear to have their top 6 sew up. Maybe you can pry Ryan Ellis out of Nashville for a bigger lightning fast winger like MPS. They need offense. We still need a heavy defenseman that can play against top lines like Robyn Regher. Is Travis Hamonic available from NYI?? Can Gagner be successful playing with smallish wingers?? Not that he couldn't be a good second line centre - but maybe not with the mix of top 6 the Oilers are assembling right now. That leaves the need for a prototypical big 200 lb plus centreman like a Jordan Staal. This will be Belanger last year so there is room for Lander if his development continues. Whoever the new skipper is, he is going to have to deal with player issues stemming from where they fit into the puzzle. Does Ben Eager really think he should be a top six player?? Does Ryan Smyth think he is a second line winger that should be making 3 mil a year?? Will Horcoff allow the transition of the room to the younger guard?? What's the backup plan for Dubnyk - do we have a young up & coming goaltender that they are excited about??

Still plenty of questions to answer and issues to be dealt with before we are contenders and unfortunately depending on what happens with the CBA, the Oilers could be burning a year off of entry level deals for nothing if there is no season this fall.

The way I see it we need to be at least a second round to final 4 team in the next two seasons. If we are not then the Oilers will have become the next NYI and there younger players will be looking for places to play that can win - or at least don't have to spend 5 months a year in a winter fishbowl.

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#6 Walter Sobchak
May 20 2012, 08:50AM
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I see Paajarvi being delt before the start of training camp.

The defense is a bigger issue I'm afraid, Paajarvi has the tools and is more valuable to the Oilers in a trade or a package deal for a defensmen.

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#7 madjam
May 20 2012, 08:53AM
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Paajarvi should be ready this season to remain with squad and perhaps Hartikainen on third or fourth line. Gagner seems like he may be a bit of a miss on top two lines if we draft Yakupov , unless we go with 3 offensive lines . Gagner probably will be tradebait . Is Nash on our radar ?

Hemsky looking great at Worlds , and hopefully will have a banner year with us next season .

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#8 justDOit
May 20 2012, 08:54AM
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Is that last picture a hint to cut those sideburns?

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#9 michael
May 20 2012, 08:54AM
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Your article hits on a sore spot for me The veteran play of last season ST called out his veterans The fans I think are done waiting on transition players who underachieve. For me and many others Ben Eager failed to live up to billing He either finds his way in a trade elsewhere or finds himself in OKC next year. Belanger or Lander? Easy answer for me.Lander, Belanger is death on ice with the puck I think his boxcars reflect what we will see with him playing in Edmonton. The style of play is counter to what Belanger played in the past

Of the names you mentioned Petrell is the most versatile of the Nords. Can play an uptempo forecheck,PK,and can throw some grit in when needed.

I believe Ryan Smyth signs elsewhere. Hejduk took 2million per season. Thats the bar. Ryan should be looking at that as his comparable.

I think Lander Petrell and MP should make up the 4th line.

The longer the AHL playoffs go the better chance that Lander and MP have of making next seasons team. It certainly will weigh in thier favor if the Barons make the finals.

Lastly. I do not believe Hemsky is a lock to be here next season. I think teams looking to upgrade thier scoring will come knocking on June 22cd. Nashville for example. Radulov and Kotex will be moved. No way do they show up in training camp. Trotz buried them and did it publicaly. KHL here we come. Radulov should have stayed where he was wanted.

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#10 michael
May 20 2012, 08:57AM
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LT would you trade Hemsky for Ryan Ellis and a pick in next years draft

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#12 godot10
May 20 2012, 09:20AM
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In the darkest moments of two OKC playoff series now, Paajarvi has been the best player in OKC.

With the forward corps depleted due to injury, Paajarvi has been the best forward.

He is 6"3", 200 plus pounds, and has superior skating an puck handling skills.

He has great defensive awareness for a 21 year old.

So he has a little trouble finishing, and still has to learn to be more physical deep (a deficiency because he grew up as a defenseman).

And many of you want to give up on him.

Many of you are nuts.

How about a little patience.

Paajarvi has the potential to be an very good matchup player. i.e. he will be able to play above the boxcars he delivers, and will be able to drive positive Corsi from deep in the roster, and thus be always good value for money.

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#14 franksterra
May 20 2012, 09:31AM
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Maybe Tambi's slow, conservative, assessing, dithering ways have infected me, but I have a hard time thinking of trades that improve this team immediately without dining us in the future. The three Nordics all have the strong potential to be affordable, productive, home grown contributors on this team in the next 1-3 years. Gagner is a possibility, but unless it's a young healthy big-bodied C coming back, that's a deficit not a gain. I'd rather see further development of the Nordics, Pitlick and a couple others, and the acquisition of 1-2 FA D man and platooning/back up situation like Vokoun or Harding with DD.

That's my poised assessment, and the recommendation I'm going to give to my boss Kevin.

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#15 godot10
May 20 2012, 09:45AM
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Lowetide wrote:

godot10: NOT giving up on him, but being realistic. Paajarvi's resume is uneven, his ability to finish in (at least some) question.

The Oilers are adding a #1 overall yearly, to suggest he's going to have trouble cracking a top 6F that features, Hall, Nail, Eberle and Hemsky isn't a lack of patience.

It is realistic.

Why do we keep talking top 6?

You need a top nine to win the Cup.

Paajarvi, with a little development, should be able play matchup against more highly paid players with better boxcars, because of his skating and puck handling skills.

So he's the Jordan Staal to Hall and Eberle and Hemsky and maybe Yakupov.

You likely won't have to pay him like Jordan Staal.

Suppose your 3rd line two years from now is Lander between Paajarvi and Pitlick

Paajarvi will drive positive Corsi on that line (because he can lug and pass the puck). Lander and Pitlick bring the mean. What is wrong with that? A line with solid matchup potential.

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#16 godot10
May 20 2012, 09:45AM
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Lowetide wrote:

godot10: NOT giving up on him, but being realistic. Paajarvi's resume is uneven, his ability to finish in (at least some) question.

The Oilers are adding a #1 overall yearly, to suggest he's going to have trouble cracking a top 6F that features, Hall, Nail, Eberle and Hemsky isn't a lack of patience.

It is realistic.

Why do we keep talking top 6?

You need a top nine to win the Cup.

Paajarvi, with a little development, should be able play matchup against more highly paid players with better boxcars, because of his skating and puck handling skills.

So he's the Jordan Staal to Hall and Eberle and Hemsky and maybe Yakupov.

You likely won't have to pay him like Jordan Staal.

Suppose your 3rd line two years from now is Lander between Paajarvi and Pitlick

Paajarvi will drive positive Corsi on that line (because he can lug and pass the puck). Lander and Pitlick bring the mean. What is wrong with that? A line with solid matchup potential.

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#18 Joe K
May 20 2012, 09:53AM
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That is why we should take Tom Wilson if available in the 2nd round pick

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#19 michael
May 20 2012, 09:56AM
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FirstlyMoving Hemsky at the draft would certainly be wise. Cap room available Teams with UFA's. It would certainly end the argument about where Yakupov would fit

Secondly. You could have put Guy Lafleur with Belanger last year and he still would have got 16 points. Belanger is a square peg in a round hole The question of MP's lack of finish early in the season was directly related to playing with Belanger. This is something ST needs to correct. Addition by subtraction IMO.

MP certainly has shown finish in OKC.

Ellis is one dimensional. But its a hell of a dimension. His ability's on the PP combined with RNH's would certainly result in what would be a lethal combination. I could live with that.

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#20 DBO
May 20 2012, 09:58AM
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If MPS grew up a dman, would it make sense to go back there? A big, fast skater, good size, defensively sound. Sounds like Bowmeester. Hell, it is Bowmeester. And we'd all love him on a rookies deal. He'd replace Gilbert.

Draft Nail, send MPS down for a year as a dman. No need to deal him, just do what Winnipeg did with Bufglien.

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#21 michael
May 20 2012, 10:00AM
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MP= Pisani. I would take that every day of the week and twice on Sunday. 20 goalish guy who can slot in the top 2 lines when needed. PK. Sure. Make it so.

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#22 nunyour
May 20 2012, 10:03AM
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i heard on the radio toronto may part with phanuef,i wonder if say edmonton's first pick and one of hemsky ,gagne ,or mp,would get phanuef and toronto's first pick which is fifth over all.toronto would add two quality forwards and burke could make a big splash taking nail yakapov,and edmonton would get the defencman they need and then the best centre with the fifth pick,just playing arm chair gm here.

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#23 Zack
May 20 2012, 10:08AM
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@godot10

Even though he's top three in points in the playoffs for the Barons, which is good, have you seen PRV's shooting percentage? I think it's around 3% My guess is he's still rushing down the wing circling the net, taking a shot and hoping for the best. In all seriousness though if he could find a way to pot more goals, no matter what that percentage is I'm sure we'd be talking about him more.

When he was in the NHL this past season the circling the net seemed to be his go to, I really hope his confidence is improving and he's taking more shots from different places.

Edit: Nice last picture there LT!

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#24 a lg dubl dubl
May 20 2012, 10:15AM
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@nunyour

The only good thing that comes with Phanuef is his gf....can we just get her and the the lafs pick for the Oilers pick?

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#25 Lexi
May 20 2012, 10:18AM
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nunyour wrote:

i heard on the radio toronto may part with phanuef,i wonder if say edmonton's first pick and one of hemsky ,gagne ,or mp,would get phanuef and toronto's first pick which is fifth over all.toronto would add two quality forwards and burke could make a big splash taking nail yakapov,and edmonton would get the defencman they need and then the best centre with the fifth pick,just playing arm chair gm here.

Phaneuf is the biggest stay away in the league for me. With a 2 yr $6.5Mill contract he has almost no trade value. If they didn't want Sourey near the kids, I really hope they feel the same way about Phaneuf. I really don't think TO has any assets worth trading for except Gardiner, and that's because he hopefully would give you the inside track to Schultz.

Heckuva team you've put together Burke. Two more years of Dion and mr. happy Kessell is definitely better than having Seguin and Hamilton for ten years.

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#26 Thinker
May 20 2012, 10:26AM
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I'm definately on the bus for transitioning our bottom six to younger players. If we draft yakupov as common sense would dictate i would run him on sheltered minutes with nuge and eberle. Hall hemsky and gagner will be the line which delivers against tougher competition. Next year i would try to get paajarvi, lander, and hartikainen into the bottom six. Jones, belanger, and horkoff are definately staying on tho, and i understand if one or two goes back. I hope the team resigns smyth, but i think they saw what happened to mps last year, and want a do over. They partially traded penner to make room for magnus. If it were me i would run my bottom six as smythe horckoff mps playing the toughs. Magnus would get some time in the top six with injuries, and perhaps play point on the pp. if he can show top six potential we can trade hemsky and move yak back to rw. The fourth line should be hartikainen, lander, and jones. That fourth line has enough skill to chip in a little offensively, and at least the wingers can move up a line. Eager will play hordichucks role, but with more skill. Belanger and petrell are wildcards here. I don't know if they fit, but the time for pushing back bottom six forwards is at an end. Let the floodgates open!

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#27 Ei8HTYSE7EN
May 20 2012, 10:41AM
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I'm also thinking turning Paajarvi back to a defender would be the best idea.

He has the speed & size but he takes far too parimeter shots so have him on the back end making beauty passes up to RNH and the boys to get that puck to the back of the net.

I'd definitely look more into this option, we could pull out a win here.

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#28 nunyour
May 20 2012, 10:44AM
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if edmonton takes yakapov,they are just adding another small skilled player,to a small team allready.look at all the injures they have had,they need to get bigger and meaner if you ask me,plus bigger player will make more room for the skilled players to do their thing,and add some degree of protection.

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#29 DSF
May 20 2012, 10:45AM
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Zack wrote:

Even though he's top three in points in the playoffs for the Barons, which is good, have you seen PRV's shooting percentage? I think it's around 3% My guess is he's still rushing down the wing circling the net, taking a shot and hoping for the best. In all seriousness though if he could find a way to pot more goals, no matter what that percentage is I'm sure we'd be talking about him more.

When he was in the NHL this past season the circling the net seemed to be his go to, I really hope his confidence is improving and he's taking more shots from different places.

Edit: Nice last picture there LT!

Paajarvi's shooting percentage in the AHL playoffs is actually 2.8% and he's currently ranked 28th in the AHL playoff scoring race.

I've watched a few games on line and he was very good in the last game but has been pretty meh otherwise.

It's the AHL vets that have been driving the Baron's success, not the prospects.

Those who are convinced Paajarvi "drives Corsi" need to pay a little more attention to what actually happens after Paajarvi gets the puck in the offensive zone.

With the type of shots he takes from the perimeter, more often than not it's a turnover going the other way.

If he circles the net, he often loses a puck battle on the boards and the puck is gone the other direction.

He may well turn into a Pisani type if he develops further and that would be a very good thing.

Pisani was drafted in the 8th round.

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#30 fuzzy muppet
May 20 2012, 10:50AM
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With his size and defensive awareness, why don't they try him at center in the AHL and see if that's an option??

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#31 nunyour
May 20 2012, 10:54AM
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i don't know what phanuef is like in the dressing room but i know he is a pain in the ass to play against,and edmonton needs that type of player,plus he would'nt need to be captain here.

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#32 etownman
May 20 2012, 11:07AM
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Very good comments godot10 in regards to Paajarvi! Too much talent in this player to be giving up so quickly! Easily top 6 talent just needs opportunity to play with quality linemates & with quality ice time!

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#33 Semenko and Troy
May 20 2012, 11:38AM
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PRV and Harski have been playing effectively together in OKC, first with Green, and now CVV since Green's been out.

I can see them fitting in with Horcoff in a 3rd line role especially if the new hire (Sutter) wants a strong forecheck.

The following season, Lander, who is deceptively physical and irritating, can slot in between them.

PRV's ceiling may be 3rd line, but as has been noted previously, if he becomes a solid two-way player who can fill in on the top six when necessary, that's a win.

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#34 RexLibris
May 20 2012, 11:46AM
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The only trade scenario I would consider for Paajarvi would be to move him and Omark to Anaheim for their 6th overall pick this year.

I don't even know if that is feasible, as in would Anaheim consider it, but exchanging Paajarvi for a pick that could be Griffin Reinhart would be bringing more balance to this roster.

That being said, keeping Paajarvi and developing him as a swing 3rd to 2nd LW option as well as a speedy penalty killer sounds like a good idea at this time.

All clubs have injuries, and depth is the best answer, not goons or "size and toughness". Paajarvi is a good insurance policy to have on the wing. And if we want to try him out anywhere, why not have a look at center? He is defensively responsible, fast, has decent passing ability, and it would reduce, somewhat, his need for heavy physical play?

Does the center depth chart of RNH, Gagner, Paajarvi, Lander sound like something worth looking at? Paajarvi could, in two years' time, have Tyler Pitlick and Teemu Hartikainen as wingers, assuming he showed any aptitude for the middle position, and that is a heavy, fast line.

Thoughts?

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#35 michael
May 20 2012, 11:58AM
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Anaheims pick is not even in play. They need to take a center. If Grigorenko and or Galchenyuk is available that would be what they would take. Thier first line is awesome and they have Pelly Smith on the wing. They need another center. My fantasy draft has the Oilers drafting Yakupov and Grigorenko. Especially if he falls past 10th. Washington has the 12th pick and that pick is assuredly in play for the right package.With Semin gone they are definitely going to be looking at bringing another center. Would Gagne be a fit? Who knows.

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#36 Wax Man Riley
May 20 2012, 12:51PM
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nunyour wrote:

i heard on the radio toronto may part with phanuef,i wonder if say edmonton's first pick and one of hemsky ,gagne ,or mp,would get phanuef and toronto's first pick which is fifth over all.toronto would add two quality forwards and burke could make a big splash taking nail yakapov,and edmonton would get the defencman they need and then the best centre with the fifth pick,just playing arm chair gm here.

The only thing about that trade is you are trading forward depth for defensive depth. It leaves holes up front. If they could get Phaneuf and draft Galchenyuk, then maybe.

edit: Also, Simon Gagne plays with the Kings

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#37 Wax Man Riley
May 20 2012, 12:56PM
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DSF wrote:

Paajarvi's shooting percentage in the AHL playoffs is actually 2.8% and he's currently ranked 28th in the AHL playoff scoring race.

I've watched a few games on line and he was very good in the last game but has been pretty meh otherwise.

It's the AHL vets that have been driving the Baron's success, not the prospects.

Those who are convinced Paajarvi "drives Corsi" need to pay a little more attention to what actually happens after Paajarvi gets the puck in the offensive zone.

With the type of shots he takes from the perimeter, more often than not it's a turnover going the other way.

If he circles the net, he often loses a puck battle on the boards and the puck is gone the other direction.

He may well turn into a Pisani type if he develops further and that would be a very good thing.

Pisani was drafted in the 8th round.

PRV reminds me of POS.

Always skates in and wrists a floater in to the goalies logo.

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#38 Dixs3535
May 20 2012, 01:00PM
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Can we please just stop this PRV trade talk. You can add to that the topic that Yakupov needs to be gifted top 6 minutes right away. Let him get big PP mins and play on the 3rd line. Let PRV develop into a Dvorak type player, a useful player just not an impact player. Out of camp next year run with these.

Hall - Gagner/? - Hemsky Harski - RNH - Eberle PRV - Horcoff - Yakupov Eager/Petrell - Belanger - Jones

Yes I know these line aren't perfect but I would rather see errors made by youth being over exuberant than seeing them made by vets being lazy or tired.

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#39 Alex87
May 20 2012, 02:05PM
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Jeez LT, how about a NSFW warning? ;)

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#40 DSF
May 20 2012, 02:54PM
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Dixs3535 wrote:

Can we please just stop this PRV trade talk. You can add to that the topic that Yakupov needs to be gifted top 6 minutes right away. Let him get big PP mins and play on the 3rd line. Let PRV develop into a Dvorak type player, a useful player just not an impact player. Out of camp next year run with these.

Hall - Gagner/? - Hemsky Harski - RNH - Eberle PRV - Horcoff - Yakupov Eager/Petrell - Belanger - Jones

Yes I know these line aren't perfect but I would rather see errors made by youth being over exuberant than seeing them made by vets being lazy or tired.

At Paajarvi's age, Dvorak had already scored 43 goals and 107 points in the NHL.

One of these is not like the other.

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#41 misfit
May 20 2012, 03:50PM
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I know most people are putting one of Hemsky/Yakupov at LW in their mock lineups, but both are RWs from what I know. So with that in mind, and Smyth's career in its twilight, that leaves Paajarvi (who I DO believe has enough skill to play in the top 6) as the 2nd best LWer in the system.

He doesn't have Hartikainen's size or nasty disposition, but he's more skilled, and better defensively. I feel like he could be an excellent compliment to offensive players in the top 6.

Of course, if Sutter is coach, he might be in trouble.

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#42 nyoilers
May 20 2012, 04:49PM
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We could really use a big winger with speed that can put the puck away

MPS 6'2 205lbs 15 goals in 2010 as a rookie

Trading MPS is probably the dumbest thing the Oilers could do right now. Buy low sell high. don't sell low.

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#43 Mike Modano's Dog
May 21 2012, 02:51AM
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godot10 wrote:

In the darkest moments of two OKC playoff series now, Paajarvi has been the best player in OKC.

With the forward corps depleted due to injury, Paajarvi has been the best forward.

He is 6"3", 200 plus pounds, and has superior skating an puck handling skills.

He has great defensive awareness for a 21 year old.

So he has a little trouble finishing, and still has to learn to be more physical deep (a deficiency because he grew up as a defenseman).

And many of you want to give up on him.

Many of you are nuts.

How about a little patience.

Paajarvi has the potential to be an very good matchup player. i.e. he will be able to play above the boxcars he delivers, and will be able to drive positive Corsi from deep in the roster, and thus be always good value for money.

Excellent points...

In 09/10 when the Oilers forward lines were depleted he took his opportunity and ran with it, and was our best player up here then, as well.

I do think he is proving to be a go-to guy; when given the ice-time and the opportunity he seizes it. The last time he had the ice-time and the trust of his coaches he was awarded the best winger of the World Hockey Championships, beating out Ovechkin and other established stars in the process.

I absolutely believe he only needs the time AND the trust of his coaches to develop into the star he can be.

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#44 Mike Modano's Dog
May 21 2012, 02:54AM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
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cheers

P.S. What exactly does godot10 mean anyway? If you don't mind my asking...

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#45 Where's Your Towel
May 21 2012, 03:06PM
Trash it!
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trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Joe K

That is why we should take Tom Wilson if available in the 2nd round pick

Aside from calling the opposing players 'Butthead', what does he bring to the table?

On that note, I'm gonna make like a tree and get outta here.

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