March 12 2013 10:36PM
Magnus Paajarvi took a circuitous route to the NHL, considering he starting his North American career in the NHL. After spending plenty of his entry level deal in the AHL--along with 121 in the NHL--he appears to have arrived as an overnight sensation.
Magnus Paajarvi made the NHL in his first try at North American hockey (age 19), scoring 15 goals. He got plenty of playing time, including PP (3-6-9, 11th best total for rookies that year) and at evens (12-13-25, 12th best total for NHL rookies 10-11).
The following year, Edmonton brought in a fresh crop of rookies (including RNH) and coach Tom Renney couldn't find a spot for him. Paajarvi's confidence began to fade and he split his sophomore season between the AHL and NHL. Coming into this year's late training camp, Paajarvi was a "bubble player" with no waiver worries--a terrible spot for a youngster trying to make the NHL full time.
This season, Paajarvi's OKC performance during the lockout was pedestrian and he was not certain to get a regular job this NHL season.
Which brings us to the Edmonton Oilers and the tremendous need for immediate help. A player like Paajarvi--who looks like he's finally emerging as an NHL player--might fetch you a solid veteran rental for the stretch drive and give the Oilers a chance to finish closer to the second season.
That's why Steve Tambellini's comments today are so timely:
- Tambellini: “Whether you’re in the playoffs or not, if you can upgrade your team or improve it, we’ll do that, but most of the people here are the people we’re going to be counting on for some time. You’re not going to give up youth just for a quick fix there, that’s for sure.”
If you look at the men Edmonton has traded away--even in the last few years--it really points out the importance of waiting to see what these kids are going to be as mature hockey players.
- Andrew Cogliano, now enjoying a solid season on the left coast
- Jarret Stoll, Stanley winner in LA
- Matt Greene, same as Stoll
- Kyle Brodziak, solid career in Minnesota
- Riley Nash, 2 goals tonight for Carolina
The club's current trouble--bottom 6 forwards-might get a nice boost from the men listed here, and I think the club could find a spot for Matt Greene on the Oiler blue.
HERE TO STAY
At this point, Paajarvi is extremely unlikely to be sent down (he becomes waiver eligible either later this season or next fall, depending on how many games he plays down the stretch) based on merit. He's certainly one of their best forwards most nights, and gave a fine showing on this road trip.
By eye, by advanced stats, by any measure, Paajarvi is delivering quality play. His goal and assist tonight show just how well he's playing this season. Whether it's confidence, the right chemistry or the hockey Gods shining a light, young Paajarvi has become an overnight sensation.
After all this time.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
If you're an Oiler fan, this isn't your first rodeo. You know that this thing can go sideways any number of ways. When it comes to Magnus Paajarv, I think we can safely say he turned the corner just in time, and the Oilers' patience has paid off in a big way.
Now, about that playoff run....