Bring Back The Electric Norseman!

Once again, Patrick Thoresen wants to return to the NHL. He tried to land an NHL job last year and was unsuccessful after a spectacular KHL season, so this year he went out and had a more spectacular KHL season. This is a guy who deserves another crack at an NHL job.

Normally, for a player like this who was a defensive specialist the last time he played in the NHL, I’d be busting out the advanced statistics. For Thoresen, I don’t need to (although his are superb); I watched nearly every game he played as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. Defensively, his positioning was as good as any player on the team. He never backed down from a physical battle, he forechecked like a demon, and there could never be any doubt about his work ethic or intensity. Aside from his size, he was the kind of fourth-liner every coach dreams of.

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Thoresen’s problem at the NHL level was producing offence. At 17, he came over to the QMJHL and spent two seasons playing major junior hockey in Canada, scoring 73 points in 60 games as a rookie and following that up with 108 points in 71 games the year after. Along the way he was stellar for Norway’s U-18 and U-20 international teams. He went over to Sweden, starting in the Allsvenskan before moving up to the Swedish Elite League for two seasons. In his second year he scored 36 points in 50 games, which was enough to convince the Edmonton Oilers to bring him over and give him a shot at an NHL job.

Thoresen produced relatively well at the AHL level, but managed only six goals and 24 points in a little over 100 games in the NHL. After two seasons, he couldn’t get another NHL job and was forced over to the KHL.

Thoresen’s been a revelation in the KHL. In 107 points in the world’s second-best league, he’s scored 51 times (remarkably, 42 of those goals came at even-strength) and added 66 helpers for a total of 117 points. Along the way, he went plus-63. He’s turned into a faceoff-winning machine over there; with a 55.2% success rate on 754 face-offs. He’s playing in all situations, and finished with a little under 18:00 per game this last season. He’s also been a staple for international Norwegian teams, managing a point per game at last year’s World Championships and five assists in four Olympic games in 2010.

Despite all the success Thoresen has had in the KHL, that’s not where he wants to be. In May of last season, Thoresen explained why he’d be willing to take a massive pay-cut to return to the NHL:

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“I know I can score 20-25 goals in the NHL. If so, I’m going to earn the lost money and play in the NHL for many years. I have faith in myself and know what kind of potential I have.”

At 27 years of age, Thoresen’s been a bit of a late-bloomer offensively but he’s still a young man. He’s shown drive, grit and defensive responsibility at the NHL level before. His scoring has shot off the charts since his jump to the KHL, and could represent a major step forward from his last stint in North America. He’s added faceoff ability to his repertoire. Beyond that, all it will take to get him over here is a one-way deal near the league minimum.

This seems to me like a no-brainer. It’s time for someone to take a chance and bring back the Electric Norseman.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Not that I have anything against bringing him in, I’d still like to bring in a proven NHL two-way forward. Not another I did well at every level other than the NHL guy.

  • @ baggedmilk:

    I’m not especially interested in rehashing my take on Paajarvi. I wrote the article, had my say, and other people had theirs.

    This is an article about Thoresen. A more relevant argument would be about the great value provided by Colin Fraser, JF Jacques or how Ryan O’Marra needs an NHL job. Those are the kind of guys Thoresen could replace.

    Nobody – other than you – ever connected Thoresen to Paajarvi.

    • John Chambers

      I thought the “Paajarvi Should’ve Been Held Back a Year” reference was appropriate for one reason:

      When constructing an article based on opinion, it’s important for the author to make explicit what is their opinion, and what is fact. Framing your point of view with phrasing such as “In my opinion”, “based on these facts I conclude”, or “the evidence suggests”, posits that you are conveying your point of view.

      However, boldly stating things like “Penner is fat”, “Tambellini is dumb”, “Chinese Walruses can’t play hockey”, evidenced by the title to your Paajarvi article, or several points that appear in the above article, you display your opinion as being a fact. This is why myself and BaggedMilk seem so compelled to debate your “facts”.

      I like your articles, Willis. Several of them have made me re-think the way I see the game or evaluate players. But I think you can be a better journalist by staying clear of broad-sweeping claims like “Paajarvi should’ve …”, and rather pose a question such as “Should Paajarvi have been held back”, then provide support for your position.

      “Could we see Patrick Thoresen back in the NHL based on his performance in the KHL?” would’ve been a better thesis.

      • You keep on suggesting that Willis is a Journalist as if he is a credited member of the media, or went to J-School, or even claims to be a Journalist the way Dr. Phil claims to be a Doctor.

        He isnt, he didnt, he doesnt. He is a blogger, and a damned fine one. That is all.

        Interestingly, you also appear to be giving a man who writes proffesionally a lesson in writing. I find this about as hilarious as me teaching Roy Halladay how to throw curve-ball.

    • Never did I say Thoresen would take Paajarvi’s spot or anyone else on the roster, how are you coming to that conclusion? My connecting the Paajarvi article to today’s Thoresen piece is a “here we go again” look at what you’ve written lately. Stop getting so offended when someone disagrees with you.

  • Ender

    Anyone here remember that great-old original Nintendo game game, Dr. Mario? I used to love that game. Played it for hours. No one would play me because I’d set up elaborate drops where my opponent would just start making progress and then the heavens would open with trash dumps all over him . . . ah, good times. I digress.

    The ulimate challenge on that game was to beat level 20 on high-speed. It was pretty hard; from the beginning of that level, there was no room for error. I eventually got to the point where I could beat it just about every time. Know how I got that good?

    By practicing on level 20-high, over and over and over again.

    Practicing lower levels didn’t teach me how precise I had to be right out of the gate. Practicing slower speeds didn’t teach me how to let my reflexes make the decisions instead of my brain. Only by playing at the highest level of difficulty was I able to perfect the highest level of difficulty.

    This thread has been completely hijacked from it’s original topic, and since I’ve already gone on record as saying I support Jon in his notion that Patrick Thoreson should return to the NHL (and I say the Oilers), I’ll throw out my 2-cents on Pääjärvi’s ELC as well. Playing in the AHL or SEL might not have hurt Magnus’ development, but I don’t think it would have helped him as much as doing the real thing here every day. It’s not all about the gametime he sees with the Oilers. Every practice, every optional skate, he gets better here than he would doing similar things elsewhere. It sucks that we’ll have to pay him more down the line maybe a year earlier, but he’s going to be better a year earlier because of it.

    None of this, by the way, has anything to do with Patrick Thoreson’s situation. Apples and oranges.

  • I have to say Souray made this what it is. Its not the Oiler’s fault that no one wanted to trade for him and its still not their fault that no one is willing to take him for half of his salary. Even when/if the oilers buyout his contract, will there be any team willing to sign him?

  • stevezie

    “It’s time for someone to take a chance and bring back the Electric Norseman.”

    That’s his thesis. This is a thesis that is supported by all of the facts in evidence. You have introduced neither a logical reason to dispute the links between these facts nor any countervailing facts. Hence your objection to this thesis is supported by neither evidence nor reason. It is obstinacy born out of an instinctive reaction and nothing else.

    • John Chambers

      I’m not criticizing the article because I want to be an ass. I’m criticizing it because I know Willis can be better.

      Young hockey players, journalists, CEO’s, etc can all benefit from a challenge, or some insightful criticism. It’s not always a pissing contest. This however was not a strong piece.

      I’m not convinced that Patrick Thoresen, after proving his offensive abilities in every league except the NHL is really going to come back and take the world’s best league by storm. Willis is. We differ in opinion. I only ask that as a budding journalist he take a position and be prepared to debate his. That to me seems to be a fair and responsible goal for an editorialist.

  • Clyde Frog

    We are a last place team, losing twice as many games as we win. How anyone could possibly say NO! to any player who is performing well or has an upside that we can aquire for NOTHING is well beyond me…

    But there are enough of the aformentioned posts to make me smash my head into the keyboard.

    How the Oilers are so quiet on the waiver wire is beyond me as well, but then again I am not being paid in giant bags of money to make decisions for a national hockey league franchise…

    If the opportunity cost is non-existant how can anyone say “not my team!”? Is our 2nd, 3rd or 4th lines winning so many games that we just can’t demote ANY of these superstars?


  • stevezie

    I’ve read a few people asking what the NHL equivalencies of his numbers are. I don’t know Babs, but I do know this: he’s tied for second in league scoring. He’s outscoring Yashin, Jagr, every other KHL player your care to name except Radulov or Cervenka. This does not mean he will light up the NHL, but it is clearly an impressive accomplishment.

    You could argue the time doesn’t need more small players, you could argue that there’s no way that he could be worse than Fraser, but I don’t see how you could argue that a solid defensive player with a great attitude and skill on the dot doesn’t put himself in contention for an NHL job when he ties for second in the world’s second best league’s scoring race. Forget what you think about Paajarvi, or Willis- try to argue that the player I just described doesn’t deserve a few looks this summer. I’d love to hear it.

  • stevezie

    I really hope Thor finds a job in the NHL, just not with the Oilers.

    But did you think about Jozef Vasicek JW? He’s posting pretty good KHL numbers too, specially in the faceoff circle.

    He’s much bigger than Thor and he’s a czek. Could probably help Hemsky to want to stick around a little longer.

  • @ John Chambers:

    That’s an interesting take. And if I were a budding journalist I think you’d be quite correct. If this were a news report, it would be a failure on bias alone.

    I’m not a journalist, though, and almost certainly never will be. I’m not trying to present neutral, unbiased data; I’m writing my opinions.

    • Yes Willis, I’m personally attacking you on the Internet to invalidate your opinion. Now you’re reaching, but hey, which straw did I get? I’m guessing if you’re playing too, it’s the short one.

  • Bucknuck

    What did Willis do to get such antagonistic snotty comments directed his way. I can’t figure it out.

    The guy gets paid to write his opinions; he writes them. We can agree or disagree and carry on with our lives. I love the debate. I like thinking about possibilities.

    I disagree that Paajarvi should have been put into the minors this year, but i don’t resent the fact that JW disagrees with me. I just figure that it’s an interesting discussion.

    We are all fans of the same team here, folks. Keep your stick on the ice. Tip a glass, eat some popcorn, and chill out.

  • O.C.

    Wow JW you must have pissed a few people off about something. Right from the beginning it seemed to me that you were being attacked. Just to clarify this is only MY OPINION!!

    On Thor, why not give the guy a shot. Whats the worst that can happen. I don’t know if people have noticed but we suck basketballs!

    This place is getting very negative i hope the people that figure debating equals attacking grow up. It a feckin blog people!

  • Crash

    No, to another Patrick Thoresen stint..this team doesn’t need Patrick Thoresen…this team needs Ben Eager, Chris Neil, Zenon Kenopka, Kevin Bieksa

    Maybe someone out there can use Patrick Thoresen, but I highly doubt Thoresen will bring much more to the NHL than he brought before…

    After reading extensively JW’s many opinions my feeling is, with a guy who berated the Oilers for not resigning Fernando Pisani, not bringing Souray back here even after his me first atttitude and complaining that the Oilers didn’t sign Dominic Moore I’m inclined to think that Thoresen would likely be a bust back in the NHL.

    • stevezie

      You don’t think Dominic Moore would help this team? Well you’re crazy, but that’s no sin.
      You’re making the same mistake Bagged Milk is: you’re writing off this new opinion because you didn’t like some past ones. Anyone who is a good skater, defensive player, face-off man and energy guy who is capable of dominating in KHL can play in the NHL. No one is saying he’ll make all-star teams, and he might not fit in Edmonton, but he can play.

      • Crash

        Are you not writing off our opinions? My opinion is Patrick Thoresen does nothing to help this team get better.

        I’m not making any mistake, I gave you my opinion. So it’s ok for JW to have an opinion but mine is not valid?

        My opinion is Thoresen will not have any impact of note on any team in the NHL despite whatever it is he does in the KHL. I think you’re a bit loony to think he would.

        And no, I don’t think Dominic Moore would have done thing one for this team. He would have been another Colin Fraser, only older. Another smallish forward who is bad defensively, doesn’t hit, doesn’t fight, doesn’t score, isn’t a set up guy. What has he done with Tampa, a strong team no less? Check out his minus 16 rating.

        That would have worked out well here.

        • stevezie

          Well Moore does have six times as many points as Fraser, and while I will admit to having missed most of the Tampa games this year, when Moore was with the Habs he hit, hustled and scored. He was also one of the best players on a bad Leafs team a couple years ago, and he’s played 400+ games. I think that makes him more qualified than Fraser. You’re right about him not being a difference maker though.
          It seemed like your problems weren’t with JW’s current opinion, it was with his past ones. My problem with your opinion is that its wrong, all on its own. Not dramatically wrong; Thoresen might not be great, but he’s obviously at least the tenth best forward on this team.

          How was he a joke? Why are you ignoring that he is dominating a very good league? How many fourth liners would go to the KHL and do that?

          • Crash

            Fraser has a Stanley Cup ring too….does that make him a star?

            Yes, I have seen enough of JW’s opinions to know that I don’t share many of them.

            So does this discussion get any better by me saying, my problem with your opinon is that you’re wrong?

            And how is it that Thoresen is obviously the tenth best forward on this team? Please show me the evidence on that because the last time I saw Thoresen nobody in the league wanted him.

            Pretty much all of the guys who are leading the KHL are NHL castoffs, guys who couldn’t cut it or guys who have never made it at all. Matt Ellison is the 10th highest scorer in the KHL for cripes sakes and Jagr is in there and Aleksey Morosov, who was cast off a long time ago. Pavol Demitra is right near the top too….if he was so good why did Vancouver let him go? Why didn’t someone pick him up too. Why are you ignoring that Thoresen came and already failed? Why are you ignoring that many of the KHL’s top scorers were in the NHL but can’t cut it anymore? Why are you ignoring that some of the top scorers in the KHL couldn’t even make an NHL roster?

            I think you’re giving the KHL a bit too much credit.

  • Clyde Frog


    So a 30th place team has NO room for trying a player that is having incredible success in another league… What can the team possibly lose by signing him and giving him a shot, oh wait… NOTHING… I can totally see the logic in avoiding trying new players, cause you wouldn’t possibly want to lose out on NOTHING.

    We need more grit? That is the only solution?

    Too bad games aren’t won by scoring more goals… Oh… wait…

    • Crash

      Yes seriously,

      The Oilers don’t need to be wasting their time with reclamation projects and need to move on to the things they really need.

      No grit isn’t the only thing, they need a good d-man or two as well….They are set up nicely going forward with skill forwards and are about to add another one at the June draft. A bit more nasty and a d-man or two and things will be looking up.

      What could they possibly lose by signing Thoresen? Oh how about they would be bringing in someone who can’t cut it in the NHL and has proven as much. Thus he would be taking a spot away from someone who really needs it (ie: Paajarvi) or from someone who would actually make the team better.

      Thoresen would not make the team better and he is yet another smallish forward who wouldn’t help the team from having their show run one iota.

      Talk about taking this team backwards or at the very best, sideways….brilliant.

      • Clyde Frog

        Lol, spoken like a true internet hero.

        You don’t lose anything, if he doesn’t play his way onto the team he is in the AHL or claimed off waivers. Again, you can’t actually lose anything by giving him a shot.

        To take an obstinate stance that for him to be on the Oilers we MUST drop our future to AHL which would only destroy our team is a joke. If he didn’t make the team better why would they keep him and put down Paarjvi, fraser or Jacques?

        We are a 30th place team, our 4th line is a joke, our 3rd line is a joke and on certain nights our second line can be a joke. Our Powerplay is worst in the league, our Penalty kill is right down there as well…

        So again, taking ANY player that is fighting for top spot in a professional league with out actually giving anything up except a possible spot on the 30th place roster in the NHL cannot be a definition of a loss at all. Either you sign him and let him play his way onto the team thus improving the club OR you sign him, he doesn’t crack the squad and you have someone in the AHL with NHL experience waiting for an injury call up. Yeah thats all kinds of horrible right there….

        We are the worst team in the league, that does mean there is something disfunctional with our roster… You don’t get last place 2 years in a row by being having a great line-up that is working well together and you don’t get out of it by passing on opportunity.

        • Crash

          Huh?, internet hero? Ok, if you say so.

          Perhaps you didn’t notice, Thoresen already played here and in other NHL cities and he was a joke…so you want to replace guys that are a joke with a guy that is a joke…


          We’ll see how many teams are lined up to get Thoresen….my bet is the list is short.

          What you do to get out of being last is address your needs, not add more junk.

  • BarryS

    Does not the KHL use the bigger European Ice Surface? Playing on smaller ice is harder than playing on bigger, the game is marginally slower in Europe. Its taken Paajarvi and Omark time to get used to the more crowded NHL ice, to say nothing of the hitting.

    How do you figure larger ice and less hitting into Thoresen’s better play? And what quality of faceoff men has he faced?

  • Clyde Frog

    So other than the fact that you don’t like the kid do you have ANY basis to not giving him a shot on the worst team in the league? No?

    Obstinance for the sake of obstinance, awesome!

    To think it was only months ago everyone was having the exact opposite argument about Omark… Sure he didn’t light it up in the KHL, but that was his team, the game, the coaching and on and on it went. Good thing we passed on him to, wouldn’t want to let another smallish player near this roster. Using the logic of just cause, we might have to demote Taylor Hall to AHL to make room! Oh wait…

    Yet here is a player that is actually performing well, fighting for top spot in the league! Oh no! Don’t give him a shot, oh god he might replace one of the players on the worst team in the NHL! Oh noes!!!!

    We already played him in a 4th line role, players can’t develop! Please ignore, Cleary, Whitney, Franzen, Datsuk and the rest… That would never happen again! (Not saying he is a guaranteed 100 point man, but there is a definite shot he could better Fraser’s 4 points…) He isn’t gritty enough all he is doing is scoring goals, putting up points, playing defensively and winning faceoffs… How could we ever find a spot for that on this team, you can’t tinker with a team like this.

    • Crash

      You’re something else, quite a bit condescending, no? I could also accuse you of obstinance, no? Once again, this team has needs….show me where I said this team doesn’t need to be tinkered with.

      Omark is getting his shot now….he’s just starting and while it’s early it looks like he just may have the jam to play in this league.

      I have nothing against Thoresen, I’m just telling you, in my opinion he can’t make it here, in this league, he doesn’t have it. He showed us that already. This team has enough small skilled forwards and all of them are better options than Thoresen.

      This team has needs, I already spelled out my thoughts on that…this team should NOT stand pat as is. Is there anyway I can say that louder so that you hear it? So that you know I’m not saying this team shouldn’t be tinkered with.

      This team needs some nasty, this team needs some push back, this team needs some d-men.

      This team does not need Thoresen.

      I’m out

  • Clyde Frog

    Ooohh, feisty tonite, aren’t we Mr. Jonathan “Bruce” Willis?
    I like it.
    I always liked Thoreson, save the goal he scored against the flames in the last game of the year which cost us the lottery and Patrick Kane. Water under the bridges.
    A defensive guy like him deserves a spot on our fourth line. It’s just that we have too many mighty mites already, we need size. If he could win faceoffs however…
    Plus, we have a guy just like him named The Red Ox who will deserve a spot next year. Another NHL team should take a shot at Thor though, for sure.

  • StrangePhD

    And all this time I thought we remembered Thoreson with some fondness… Let’s be reasonable though, if he were to find a spot on the Oilers, it would not be at the cost of an Omark or Paajarvi, but of a Jacques or Fraser. I see little reason to doubt that Thoreson is a better player than those two.

    • Any guy that proves himself to be better than Jacques, Fraser, SMac and (dare I say) Reddox deserves a shot at those positions. Doesn’t matter where he’s currently playing.

      And this idea that once you’re “banished” to the KHL, you’ll never, ever be able to redeem yourself by simply putting in the time and effort to improve is beyond simplistic. All athletes mature at different rates. The idea that improvement and redemption is impossible is ludicrous. Tell that to Dan Cleary and see how far you get.

      Guys like Thoreson get walk-ons into camp. You play them for a few exhibition games and let the chips fall where they may. What have you got to lose?

  • JW

    Is there a way we can find out faceoff percentage in the KHL? What is Vasicek’s?

    If I am the Oilers that is who I go after for a one year deal to replace Colin Fraser. He will be 31 in September, three years younger than Marty Reasoner will be. In some ways a perfect age for a fourth line checking player. He is big and won the cup in Carolina in 05.

  • Crash

    I got sick of reading all the bs comments on this, so I just decided to skip it and add my .02.

    First of all I don’t think Thoresen would be outing any of our top rookies for a spot. If he did then he better be showing something special.

    Second why would you tell someone not to get defensive and then say they should defend their opinion? Makes no sence.

    Third point is that I am ABSOLUTLY sick of hearing people compare this rookie or that player to the Sedins…. Just in case you morons didn’t notice there are TWO of them. Claiming that Gagner needs more time to develop because those 6’3″ swedish twins were late developers is pathetic to say the least!! There are no comparables to the Sedins unless you can find me to more 6’+ twins that have played together their ENTIRE lives!!

    Fourth all the “so called” experts were saying that Magnus may be the most well rounded and ready of the three to step in to the league before the season started. All I heard is how this guy played with men for the last 3 years. Saying now that he should be held back or making any other excuse for him is a joke. The guy can play, we know that. He will come around in his abilities and will fit in nicely in the NHL.

  • There’s arguments on both sides of the table as to whether Magnus should have been kept in the AHL, and both sides have their points. However we all know the reality is that the Oilers had every intent of keeping him up here to sell the tank job “rebuild”. So isn’t this back and forth rather pointless?

  • Sorensenator

    Wow people are retarded. Quit jumping to conclusions already! Willis can write about Barney if he wants to.

    With that being said….lol….Willis views Thoresen (spelt SEN at the end so many retards spelt it SON) as being worthy to make another comeback to the NHL, not Edmonton in particular.

    It’s hilarious, the first three comments to this blog all referenced the Oilers having enough small forwards and 3rd & 4th liners. Do you people even read the material?

    Thoresen is a capable winger that may earn a spot with a team like the Penguins, who lack top 6 quality wingers with the exception of Kunitz.

  • PhillipSmithson

    What do the Oil have to lose? The Norseman has a decent faceoff percentage too?? Do it! Put him in between Omark and Magnus and watch the ice melt with the speed.

  • PhillipSmithson

    The only league where Thoresen’s offence hasn’t translated is the NHL and that’s unfortunate because it’s clouded a lot of people’s opinions on him.

    The fact of the matter is he’s at worst a decent bottom 6 NHL player. On a terrible Oilers team in 06-07 (and playing a regular shift during “the stretch”), he managed to not get murdered on the ice when everyone was bleeding goals against.

    He was a low event player. His offense wasn’t there but his defense was.

    It would be a no lose situation for the Oilers to bring Thoresen into the NHL next year. At worst he’s an upgrade on Smac/JFJ/Fraser and can contribute on the PK.

  • positivebrontefan

    Wow!!! Testy bunch! We must be in the Dog days of another 30th place run for this to be such a bitter place. Did we not ask for ELPH? Careful what you wish for fellas. Granted there have been points where the E in ELPH has been lacking but hey, we have another 1,2,or,3 pick comin our way!
    With a Sean Couturier in our lineup who needs Thoresen anyways. Does he deserve a shoot in the NHL? Hey Omark did. And I think hey’s doing fine. Just not here. Give the new kids the ice time.

    And stop bitching, it’s not like we cheer for Toronto. We actually have an upside.

  • Clyde Frog

    I am sorry, John. If you can’t figure out what the author’s opinion is in the piece, then it’s a failure of comprehension not writing.

    Offering advice like adding prepositions like “It is my opinion” or “My conclusion is thus” is rediculous and only demonstrates your lack of knowledge. In any university class they would NEVER tell you add such nonsense. Succinctness is the hallmark of good writing, we know what the author’s opinion is because HE’S WRITING THE PIECE, we do not need him to make that explicit.

    JW clearly stated the ‘facts’ in the piece; Thor is a scoring well in a good league, he’s scoring at EVs, he’s defensively responsible etc etc.

    His opinion is also VERY clearly stated; someone should think about giving him another chance in the NHL.

    You are the one that cannot distinguish between the two, so please keep your tips to yourself as it’s clear that you don’t know what you’re talking about.