This is Magnus Pääjärvi. In all of the excitement of watching Taylor Hall and his thrilling moves, in seeing just how smart Jordan Eberle is and how well that converts to the NHL, young Mr. Pääjärvi has been lost in the crowd. No more. The kid with Swedish and Finnish roots is having an impact most nights.
In his last 5 games, MPS is 2-2-4 and 0 plus minus. He had a pocket just like that in mid-December but after that the young man went 9 games without posting a crooked boxcar number. Recently, coach Tom Renney added him to a line with Sam Gagner and Linus Omark and the chemistry was obvious as soon as the trio jumped over the boards. If Magnus can stretch out this hot streak and that line can manage some sustain then for the first time since opening night we can speak of the trio in the same sentence. Here’s what each has managed so far:
- Hall 46gp, 14-13-27 (.587) -10
- Eberle 37gp, 9-14-23 (.621) -4
- Pääjärvi 44gp, 6-12-18 (.409) Even
Pääjärvi’s numbers aren’t in the range with the other two rookies in terms of boxcars, but his plus minus reflects what has been an impressive performance away from the puck. If a coach gives out gold stars for being on the right side of the puck upon turnover, this kid would have a bunch of them.
Let’s dig a little deeper than the boxcars. Here are the trio’s EV numbers per 60 minutes. This isn’t 5×5/60, as Gabe Desjardins numbers haven’t been updated yet. My source is nhl.com:
- Hall (Even strength) 46gp, 11-11-22 (1.84)
- Eberle (Even strength) 37gp, 6-10-16 (1.78)
- Pääjärvi (Even strength) 44gp, 5-9-14 (1.44)
Still an edge for Hall and Eberle, but we can also see much of the boxcar advantage has to do with situations (TOI, linemates). Speaking of situations, let’s see how well these kids do on the powerplay:
- Pääjärvi (PP) 44gp, 1-3-4 (4.08)
- Eberle (PP) 37gp, 1-4-5 (3.38)
- Hall (PP) 46gp, 3-2-5 (2.50)
We shouldn’t get too excited, this is in a very small sample. Still, the kid seems to have something going on and as he gains confidence things should improve even more. It’s a long season and by the time summer arrives we might forget this little bump in productivity from Magnum PS. However, if he can build on it with Omark and Gagner this could be the point in his rookie season we point to as the beginning of something special.
The kid is good with great rising. Stu MacGregor, you magnificent bastard.