MAGNUM PS

Lowetide
July 22 2012 08:19AM

Magnus Paajarvi had a solid rookie season in 10-11, but was lost in the flood last season. For Paajarvi, getting back to his 15-goal rookie pace has a lot to do with confidence and getting the bounces.

In a recent article for hockeysverige by Ola Winther, Paajarvi details his season--what went wrong, and what he did about it. Math tells us Paajarvi wasn't getting the bounces, especially in terms of NHL shooting percentage:

  • 10-11 season: Shots on goal/percentage: 180/8.3% (Boxcars: 80gp, 15-19-34)
  • 11-12 season: Shots on goal/percentage: 79/2.5% (Boxcars: 41gp, 2-6-8)

Paajarvi's shooting percentages in his SEL career (19 goals on 263 shots, 7.2%) and his time in OKC (7 goals on 100 shots, 7%) suggests we're not looking at Jordan Eberle. However, his 2.5% shooting percentage in the NHL in 11-12 would appear to be confirmation of the player's  suggestion that he wasn't getting the bounces:

  • Paajarvi: "What was the big difference was simply that the pucks did not want to bounce my way in the crucial positions. It locked up mentally and it's something I take from this season, it's how incredibly important the mental part is."

At times in 11-12 Paajarvi looked like he had lost his confidence and was not driving to the net as we'd seen him in 10-11. This can happen and certainly his lack of playing time and a specific role early in the season must have had an impact. It's interesting to hear new coach Ralph Krueger emphasize players knowing their role as a key component for next year's squad.

THE MINORS

A rough start in Paajarvi's rookie season was met with patience, but in 11-12 coach Renney sent him away for seasoning. Renney had some things going on the top 2 lines and didn’t want to worry over Paajarvi's development with the good times rolling. The result was a worn down Smyth and a lost season for 91, but Paajarvi managed to find the positive

  • Paajarvi: "I felt that I developed a lot in Oklahoma. I had to take a lot of responsibility and played well in the powerplay that penalty kill.  It gave me a lot and was definitely something that strengthened me."

Paajarvi went 34, 7-18-25 in OKC and regained his game. His playoff performance in the AHL (14gp, 2-9-11) was even more impressive as he finished 2nd in points and led the Barons in assists.

THE FUTURE

Paajarvi is a positive, determined young man who handled a tough season with aplomb. He is very much focused on being an Oiler long term and has nothing but positives to say about the city:

  • Paajarvi: "All are talking hockey here. It's a great hockey culture. I personally love the city, the fans and everything else here. Once we start winning, I can only imagine how magical it will be."

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

 

Magnus Paajarvi speaks and conducts himself with a maturity that implies a much older player. He took the demotion to Oklahoma City in stride, improved his game and remains determined to get better and make the NHL as a regular on the Edmonton Oilers.

This sort of attitude is refreshing after years of seeing first rounders fail to work on improving their footspeed, or balking at the idea that their talents were best suited to being a modern Guy Carbonneau.

Magnus Paajarvi is proof that in life it isn't what happens to you--it's what you do about it after it happens to you.

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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 Max Powers - Team HME Evans
July 22 2012, 08:28AM
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"Once we start winning, I can only imagine how magical it will be."

This, I like this.

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#2 RexLibris
July 22 2012, 08:33AM
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Paajarvi's "lost" season may have some benefits for the Oilers in the short term. I doubt that his name, regardless of how he performs this season, will be mentioned in the same breath as Hall and Eberle when discussions of contract renewals come about.

That speedbump in his career path may save the Oilers some cap space for a short time.

From my perspective, I see Paajarvi with the potential of a very valuable 2nd-3rd line winger who can shift up or down to play with various teammates and situations. In a few years, should Pitlick graduate to the NHL, a line of Paajarvi, Gagner and Pitlick could be a very valuable and balanced (offense, defense, forechecking) line, should the Oilers keep them all together.

When we look back at this period, Paajarvi's comments might be the watershed moment for the organization where the AHL is no longer seen as a slap in the face, but as an opportunity, similar to what Renney said he wanted to instill in the team.

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#3 admiralmark
July 22 2012, 08:41AM
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Really great attitude on this kid. Can't help but wish him all the best. I'm not sure he is fully sold on how to use the tools god has given him though? Although it's too early to pass that judgement.. this year should tell us a lot on what he's being told to do. As I believe he's the type to take and run with the advice given.

More and more i've been thinking that Gagner's term here in Edmonton is going to be decided by the ability of Harti or Paajarvi on the wings in the top 6. If they can be successful by adding size then Gagner stays.. if not?

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#4 Ken
July 22 2012, 09:01AM
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MPS's shot is accurate although way too slow!

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#5 Henry
July 22 2012, 09:02AM
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Thanks for finding that interview LT. I was really impressed with mps and his missing sense of entitlement. I hope Krueger plays him as the 3RW sliding him and Smyth up the lineup as injuries happen. I want to see how he handles tough opposition with his speed and size and good chainmates 2way

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#6 Kodiak
July 22 2012, 09:02AM
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I like the kids perseverance and I think that will get him to the next level.

I'm not sure why so many are wanting to give Hartikainen a shot ahead of MPS. His offensive output and potential doesn't seem anywhere close to MPS. I do think MPS alongside Horcoff and Smytty on the 3rd line wouldn't be a bad situation for the kid either.

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#7 Pouzar99
July 22 2012, 09:14AM
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I get concerned when I hear people talking about using MP in a trade to get a D man for example. Yes, this kid is not going to be up with the Fab Four but he still has lots of potential and a great attitude. Trading him now would be a big mistake. I see him as a long term Oiler, possibly a second liner, maybe a third liner, but a big, talented young player and gifted skater.

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#8 godot10
July 22 2012, 09:35AM
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Paajarvi with his size, skill, and skating ability, has the potential to be an elite matchup player, a la a Dennis Rodman for the multiple NBA championship Pistons.

What he doesn't bring in offense, he will give by taking away the offense of one of the other team's best offensive wingers.

i.e. The net (GF - GA) per 60 min differential (or relative Corsi, adjusted for competition) I think/predict will be above average in the medium term. For Paajarvi, I think this will always be more important than looking at the raw boxcars.

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#9 SinceTheWHADays
July 22 2012, 09:57AM
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I agree with pousar99, trading this guy now would turn into HUGE regret down the road. I see him as a strong support guy like the big Sweeds on Detroit's roster. ie. Holmstrom, Samuelsson, Franzen. Like many of you I've been reading the blogs over the summer but I'm not convinced that trading our assets for a proven D-Man is necessary. Weber, Suter, Doughty, Pietrangelo, are players that get developed and turn into coveted assets...patients ppl. I don't think the D we have now is as bad as lasts years stats suggest. With a new coach, and increased offense 5x5 all we need to do is win 10 of the 1 goal games we lost last year. Thats roughly two extra wins/month. I think the team we have right now, better coached can do that. Then the playoff Experience will translate into our current D prospects as legit NHLers.

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#10 Jarrett
July 22 2012, 10:03AM
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I've had this thought on MPS for a few months now. Can he become a center? He has many things going for him, including speed, defensive awareness, size and hockey knowledge beyond his 21 years of age. Although he may be better suited for the wing, there is a logjam there.

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#11 BlacqueJacque
July 22 2012, 10:05AM
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If you extrapolate the numbers - give MPS about 200 shots (2.53 multiplier) that brings him to 5 goals, and then bump his shooting percentage up to 7.5, he'd be on pace for 15 goals.

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#12 EHH Team
July 22 2012, 10:20AM
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I have also wondered if Paajarvi would be effective at centre. Has he ever played that position back in Sweden?

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#13 justDOit
July 22 2012, 10:24AM
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Mag-Paaj is missing more than confidence, he's missing attitude. He plays and acts too timidly, which translates into a perimeter player. He won't get very far playing there.

Hopefully confidence is the start of it, but if he can come into camp this year tipping the scales at about 215lbs or so (from his listed weight of 204), he will have a better chance at being a regular.

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#14 horndog77
July 22 2012, 10:26AM
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I don't think there's a logjam at left wing for the oilers and MPS should be that second line left winger this year. I'm not sure how the lines will be this year but they could look like this.....hall/nuge/eberle.....mps/gags/yak....smyth/horcs/hemsky....eager/lander/jones. Not sure where the others would fit, but those lines look pretty good to me

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#15 Hammers
July 22 2012, 10:27AM
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I still feel we have a hidden gem in Magnus . 20+ goal scorer with the right linemates and ice time . This year he may get the break from Ralph that he didn't get from Renney last year . One more thing is he maybe the player signed at a good cap hit unlike the top 4 . I forsee him being a long term oiler ala a Zetterburg for Detroit . Great attitude . Needs to work on driving to the net . Would love to see him with Horc & Yak to start the year And Smyth with RNH & Eberle .

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#16 justDOit
July 22 2012, 10:49AM
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horndog77 wrote:

I don't think there's a logjam at left wing for the oilers and MPS should be that second line left winger this year. I'm not sure how the lines will be this year but they could look like this.....hall/nuge/eberle.....mps/gags/yak....smyth/horcs/hemsky....eager/lander/jones. Not sure where the others would fit, but those lines look pretty good to me

I believe that Krueger has stated that he wants Yakupov on the left side to start - no off-wing players in the defensive zone.

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#17 boxman
July 22 2012, 10:55AM
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Good sized player with a great attitude that skates like the wind and has a nice hockey IQ. The way he covers for his teammates I see him as a terrific fill in option on either of the first or second lines while getting steady minutes on the third line. Go Magnus as Edmonton is pulling for you.

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#18 TeddyTurnbuckle
July 22 2012, 12:13PM
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I didn't like how Renney handled him last year. Playing him with Belanger all the time and then taking too long to send him down after his minutes were way down on the oilers or he was in the press box. The same could be said for Lander. What was the point of playing Lander seven minutes a night? Anyways I like Paajarvi's skill but I don't like how he doesn't know how to throw a body check. I don't know how many times I saw him come flying into the corner in position to cream a guy only to attempt a poke check.

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#19 Rama Lama
July 22 2012, 12:26PM
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MPS, is a good player and will eventually turn into a solid second line player, but only if he comes to camp with drive to the net attitude.

He has shown that he can skate, but now he need to use that strength and speed to put him in the magic zone........where goals are manufactured. I for one hopes he gets into a scrap and transforms his game by incorporating some much needed physical elements like Gagner did!

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#20 DSF
July 22 2012, 12:34PM
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Shooting percentage:

SEL (including playoffs) 5.5%

NHL (10/11) 8.3%

NHL (11/12) 2.5%

AHL (11/12 regular season) 7.0%

AHL (11/12 playoffs) 4.4%

I think the sample size is now large enough to determine Paajarvi can't hit AAA pitching and that his 8.3% (and his 2.5%) in the NHL were both outliers.

It would seem, in the NHL, a likely shooting percentage for this player would likely be in the 5-6% range which, quite frankly, is dreadful.

Of note, 43 NHL DEFENSEMEN had a shooting percentage above 5% last season.

If we assume a shooting percentage of 6% going forward, Paajarvi would need to generate about 340 shots on goal to become a 20 goal scorer.

Evgeni Malkin led the NHL in SOG last season with 339.

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#22 turnover
July 22 2012, 12:44PM
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PRV needs to show determination when people are in his way. I just don't see it happening.

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#23 DSF
July 22 2012, 12:44PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Paajarvi's shooting percentage last year was very poor. He'll recover

Yes he can...if he adapts his game to become an effective third line player in the mode of Jannik Hansen.

In order to do that, he'll have to become far less timid and learn to take the body on occasion.

Perimeter players tend not to function all that well is a primarily checking role.

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#24 DSF
July 22 2012, 12:46PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Paajarvi's shooting percentage last year was very poor. He'll recover

Recover to what exactly?

His shooting percentage has always been poor in every league he's played in.

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#26 DSF
July 22 2012, 01:39PM
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Lowetide wrote:

It depends on what line he's on. I think MP is probably going to end up being a 2way type and far away from the powerplay. But he scored 12 Ev goals as a rookie, so he can do it again.

Paajarvi was second on the Oilers in TOI in 2010/11 with 1,231 minutes.

He was also second in ESTOI at 1,081 minutes.

The likelihood that he will ever get that kind of ice time on the Oilers ever again left town with Slim and None.

If, by chance there is injury and he ends up with that kind of ice time, having a top 6 winger who can only manage 34 points would seem to indicate the Oilers would be in a world of hurt.

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#27 Bank Shot
July 22 2012, 02:02PM
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I just hope Paajarvi learns to PK. The Oilers are in dire need of some sound two way players in the age bracket that will support the big four for years to come.

Paajarvi along with Lander could be perfect pieces in that role.

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#29 Quicksilver ballet
July 22 2012, 02:14PM
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Tough call on MPS.

Is his developement the price due for bringing back Edmontons favorite son Ryan Smyth?

...or is Ryan Smyths purpose here 2 fold?

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#30 DSF
July 22 2012, 02:27PM
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Lowetide wrote:

DSf, you absolutely have to stop making the calls on theze kids before their 22nd birthday. :-)

As do you :)

Thing is, scoring is not normally a teachable skill...you either have it or you don't.

Paajarvi don't.

That's not to say he can't carve out a different role on the team.

If Yakupov succeeds at LW as Freddie has indicated, then Paajarvi is at best 4th on the depth chart.

As others have mentioned, it's likely more prudent to mold him into a defensive/PK specialist who won't get killed if he has to move up the lineup in case of injury.

Again, see Jannik Hansen for reference.

Unfortunately from the Oilers perspective, they spent a top ten draft choice on this player while Hansen was taken in the 9th round.

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#32 master of my domain
July 22 2012, 02:46PM
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I think lots of us also don't really have a clue how difficult the transition from Sweden to nhl is. it's not just the culture change, but the game itself is played a lot different on the smaller ice.

if my memory serves me correctly, the Sedin's weren't exactly lighting it up in their second seasons. not saying Paajarvi will be posting those kind of numbers, but it's WAY too early to write him off.

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#33 DSF
July 22 2012, 02:51PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Meh. Hanson is a useful player, lets see how this plays out. I do believe Paajarvi will be a 2-way player who can score 15 a year, but that's miles from the burial you're suggesting.

It'll be interesting to watch.

Hansen as a 21 year old in the AHL:

50GP 21G 22A 43P .86PPG

Paajarvi as a 21 year old in the AHL:

34GP 7G 18A 25P .74PPG

As you say, IF Paajarvi becomes a two way player who can score 15 goals in the NHL he will be Jannik Hansen who just finished a season where he scored 16 goals and 39 points and was second on the Canucks for SHTOI/G.

Sounds about right...and hardly a burial.

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#34 Quicksilver ballet
July 22 2012, 03:05PM
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It's good to see a little of both sides of this arguement in this hope based market that is Edmonton. 22yrs old is perhaps a little early to give up on kids, but when you're 22 yrs old with going on 3 yrs (MPS) or 5 yrs (Gagner) of experience, there's concern to be sure.

It could be years before we know for sure, but i have to believe DSF has you by a nose LT. Patience is a word when we've been force fed for the better part of a decade now.

Oilers should be using that image of the 2 vultures seated on a branch for the cover of their media guide this coming season......Patience my arse, lets just kill something now.

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#36 DSF
July 22 2012, 03:43PM
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Lowetide wrote:

DSF: You're quite right Hanson isn't exactly a burial, but I think Paajarvi may have another gear and am suggesting patience in saying he's a Jannik Hansen.

This will be Paajarvi's 21-year old season. If he ends up being a 15-goal a season 2-way winger I'll be happy with that, as I'm sure you will be if that's what Hansen turns out to be (I'm sure you'll agree this is no Hansen's established level of ability).

Hansen P/60 5V5:

11/12 1.96 (11.7%)

10/11 1.64 (8.0%)

09/10 1.75 (13.4%)

08/09 1.98 (9.4%)

Looks like last season was in the range of his established ability. His shooting percentage was a little higher than career average at 11.7 compared to 10.4 but I certainly don't see any large aberration from the norm.

Problem is, for Paararvi to reach that level with his shooting percentage he would have to play top 6 minutes.

Under the circumstances, with Hall and Yakupov ahead of him on the depth chart, that is unlikely to happen.

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#38 loosemoose
July 22 2012, 04:33PM
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Paajarvi is as defensively sound as they come and he's what? 20?

Last time I checked, we have a few guys who should be able to put the biscut in the basket, so lets stop worrying about his offence.

15 goals as a rookie? Doesn't have to be taught how to backcheck? The POTENTIAL to be a big crease crasher? Priceless.....

Rome wasn't built in a day(look at any Swedes numbers and you'll know this)

This kid can play on my team ANY DAY.

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#39 DSF
July 22 2012, 05:05PM
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Lowetide wrote:

So we're going to count Hansen's uptick in offense this past season as an established level of ability? Hansen had a fine season, but let's make sure he can score 15 goals a season.

After all, Paajarvi's already done that.

Well, so has Hansen

Difference is Hansen did it playing third line minutes.

In their best seasons....

11/12 Hansen P/60 5V5 1.96

10/11 Paajarvi P/60 5V5 1.36

Hansen's worst season, 10/11, he was 1.64...well clear of Paajarvi's best.

Considering Paajarvi only scored 12 goals and 25 points at evens in his rookie season and needed a whack of PP time to surpass that, I doubt you should be looking for an offensive explosion unless the Oilers are decimated by injury.

Hansen plays first unit PK and gets almost zero PP time so, if he were to play the 1:50 PPTOI/G that Paajarvi did in 10/11, I think you might see a 20-25 goal scorer playing with the Sedins.

Given that neither Paajarvi or Hansen will ever see that PP time again, I think it's fair to look at their production 5V5.

Hansen is significantly ahead by that measure.

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#42 Beer League Hero
July 22 2012, 06:12PM
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Nice article LT! Everything you said made perfect sense.

One thing people might be overlooking is the fact that Hemsky is probably on his way out at some point in the next two years and Yakupov could be moved back to his natural RW. At that point PRV could slot in on the 2nd line LW.

And I'm not sure how much playing time PRV got with RNH last year but I think that he'd have to be putting some points up playing on the Nuge's flank...

Lastly, when is nation's radio gonna be available on itunes again?

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#43 Magnus
July 22 2012, 06:21PM
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Hard to say he has a good attitude when he makes an excuse like "the pucks did not want to bounce my way". You make your own luck, kid. If he keeps playing as softly and timidly as he did last year, even an 8% shooting percentage won't earn him an NHL job.

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#44 DSF
July 22 2012, 07:56PM
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@Lowetide

Agree completely...he has all the tools to be a great penalty killer.

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#46 Oiler Al
July 22 2012, 09:26PM
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Good topic .... I dont think Renny was a confidence builder for this player!. The kid has the tools, just as to put it all together.

ONe think that he needs to do is go hard to the net with the puck... because his shot is not the hottest, needs to get up close and dirty with the goalie.[ forfet this gliding into the corner] Someone suggested that perhaps he could play CTR.? Has the tools and smarts.. dont recall his face off abilities.

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#47 2004Z06
July 23 2012, 09:31AM
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I love this kid and his attitude. I have wanted to see him at center for 2 years now. He could become the big, center on the second line that we covet.

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#48 Cody anderson
July 23 2012, 09:55AM
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I agree that this MPS needed this coaching change and could really benefit by it. He has some great skill and I believe he will be a good 2 way player for many years. Having Smyth in the fold has certainly put a wrinkle in his development.

MPS is not a Sniper. he is fast, opens lanes for other players, and would benefit greatly by playing with some skill on the top 2 lines.

If they move Yak to the left, which I think is a mistake then MPS will have to shift to the right or he may very well not have a place on this team this year. In my opinion Hartikainan is a better fit for the 4th line then MPS.

He needs someone to focus time working with him and encouraging him to drive the net, bang in the corners and become a gritier player.

Yak-Nuge-Eberle

Hall-Gagner-Hemsky

Smyth-Horcoff-Paajarvi

Hartikainan-Belanger-Jones

I think Yak is a sniper and his one time on his off wing is part of what makes him dangerous. Shifting him to his off wing may help him defensively, but I think it will take away part of what makes him special.

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