I’m expecting to be thoroughly impressed by Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson when he arrives in town early next month, and so are the Edmonton Oilers, who inked the big and talented Swedish left-winger to a three year contract today.
That certainly goes for chief scout Stu MacGregor, who called Paajarvi-Svensson’s name with the 10th selection in the 2009 Entry Draft and will welcome him to Edmonton when the Oilers host a rookie camp July 5-9.
"When we drafted him, we were thrilled as an organization to get him," MacGregor told me today. "We think he can be a major offensive force. He does everything at a very high tempo."
Here’s excerpts from the new release:
"General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have signed Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson to a three-year NHL entry level contract.
Paajarvi-Svensson, the Oilers 1st round choice, 10th overall, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, recently completed his third season with Timra IK of the Swedish Elite League. The 6’2”, 201-pound left-winger from Norrkoping, Sweden, finished third in team scoring with 29 points (12G, 17A) in 49 games.
The 19-year-old has also seen considerable action internationally, most recently winning the bronze medal at the 2010 World Championship in Germany with Team Sweden. He led the team in scoring with nine points (5G, 4A) in nine games, was third in tournament scoring and was selected to the tournament all-star team, all at just 19-years-old. Paajarvi-Svensson also has won two silver medals at the 2008 and 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship. In 2008, Paajarvi-Svensson became the youngest player ever to play with Sweden when he was just 16 years and 8 months old."
When MacGregor talks about Paajarvi-Svensson, who is primarily a left-winger but told Jason Gregor of TEAM 1260 today he can also play right wing, he draws some comparisons to Ales Hemsky.
"He makes plays at high speed," MacGregor said. "Hemmer does that, too, and Magnus drives to the net from both sides. He’s a lot like Ales in that he’s scored some incredible goals.
"I think it’s going to be exciting for us to see a big kid like this coming at defenders with the kind of pace he plays at."
From what I’ve been told, Paajarvi-Svensson might be the most NHL-ready prospect fans will see at training camp in September. He’ll certainly get a chance to show it, likely lining up behind only Dustin Penner on the depth chart at left wing.
The big Swede is one of the reasons I believe the Oilers will opt to take centre Tyler Seguin with the first pick at the 2010 Entry Draft in Los Angeles. Unless I’m misreading the tea leaves and being sold a bill of goods on Paajarvi-Svensson, he’s got a chance to be no worse than the Oilers second-line left-winger this coming season.
SEGUIN TAKES HIS SHOT
While Taylor Hall made the most of his chance in the spotlight with an MVP performance for the Windsor Spitfires at the Memorial Cup, Seguin made hay with his opportunity at the NHL combine.
That’s no surprise to MacGregor, and it’s one of the reasons why Seguin is so highly regarded by Oilers scouts.
"He’s very competitive," MacGregor said of Seguin. "He looked at the competition (Hall) and said, ‘How can I step it up here?’ He took it off the ice and he did it in the gym.
"Both these kids want to be the best guy. That’s what makes both of them so special. Taylor had his chance at the Memorial Cup and Tyler made the most of his opportunity (at the combine)."
Hall, as everybody knows, didn’t take part in all of the physical testing at the combine in Toronto after a gruelling playoff run. That’s caused some fans to jump off the bandwagon they piled on during the MC and start talking about Seguin.
THIS AND THAT…
— A lot of fans know Oilers play-by-play man Rod Phillips will throw out the first pitch tonight at the Edmonton Capitals home-opener down at Telus Field. What you might not know is that Phillips should be right at home on the bump.
Phillips, 68, shouldn’t have any trouble hitting the mitt. The Skipper was a pitcher in his youth growing up in Calmar. In fact, while playing with the Calmar Cubs in the old Oilfield League — I think it was in the late-1930s — Phillips tossed a one-hitter.
— Applications continue to come in from those looking to take Phillips place as play-by-play man, but unless an established big-hitter with an NHL resume comes calling, I still see Bob Stauffer as the leading candidate to get the job.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — moving Stauffer into Phillips spot and making Kevin Karius of Global TV his analyst is a combination that’s difficult to beat. If you listened to Stauffer and Karius work together this season, you know what I’m talking about it.
— MacGregor made the call on the firing of scout Chris McCarthy last week after consulting with Tambellini. It’s his staff, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another change coming.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.