Magnum PS!

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.

  • As much as I like stu mcgregor and the draft choices he has made, I don’t like to credit him with this one. Crediting oilers scouting dept for picking mps is like crediting anahiem scouts for picking fowler or Phoenix for gromley.
    We were lucky that mps fell to tenth and I guess we can give credit to them for jumping at the opportunity and not passing on him to draft someone else they might have scouted more vigorously

  • I’m really liking Magnus’ progress so far. While Hall skates around like a madman and gets burned by NHL D more often than not, Magnus is finding ways to make things happen with his size and grit. Not to mention that he and Omark are crazy good on the cycle.

    It would be nice if Renney kept Linus, Magnus and Sam together. You can see Sam is having rough patches adjusting to the way they operate, but there’s definitely a spark of a very good line in the making there.

  • EasyOil

    As I’ve read from many people, it seems as though Magnus has been playing very cautiously, concentrating a lot on his defensive coverage to the detriment of his offence, as his lack of defense was one of the main criticisms of him coming over (not lack of willingness, just lack of knowing-what-to-do). Good on the kid for having the willingness to work hard at a fault. Now he just needs to find the balance between offence and defence.

    In fact, all three of the kids seem to be willing and enthusiastic about their defensive responsibilities, must be a first to have three known offensive dynamos come in and really bust a gut to nail that side of the game, no matter how great or little success they’ve had.

    LT, two questions:

    What’s your overall opinion on Petry and his ceiling? Seems like a real doozy to me, and simply delightful to watch him play.

    and

    Do you think the Oilers will ever try Eberle at Centre? I believe he was a centre in Junior but for some reason that has never seemed to be the way management thought of him. For someone with his smarts and sense, would it not make sense to try him there?

  • cambosmash

    I think Magnum PS might surprise a few people and take the fastest skater on Saturday. On two occasions last night guys tried to hit him and he ended up crushing them. If he throws on a few pounds he’s damn near Penner’s size, except with blazing speed and ridiculous hands. The last 5 games he’s also been deadly on the boards and worked a solid cycle with Gags and Linus.

    Like you said, he just has to realize he’s bigger than the majority of guys on the ice, and more talented, and faster, and my hero.

  • Golden Seals

    What impresses me is his explosive stride. I agree once he gets more strength those rushes can go to the net instead of on the perimeter. I’m actually a bit more of an optimist and see 40 goal potential.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    “as he gains confidence”

    I think you hit the nail on the head, and I’d add muscle to that sentence as well, beause as of right now he’s one lanky/skinny kid.

    What will take him to the next level IMO will be driving hard to the net (like Hall does) in a year or two, he’ll have the confidence to try and the size/strength to accomplish the task when he does.

    I’m confident we’ve got a 30/60 guy here to go along with hard back checking. If he’s on our second line (like it looks like he will be) we should be in great shape up front.

  • Eulers

    My fist FIST!!!!

    Edit:

    Also, a very belated Merry Fistmas to the OilersNation community. Enjoy the pics 😉

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/90404940@N00/5375750466/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/90404940@N00/5375151641/

    I have to admit I was disappointed that MPS did not meet my high expectations in the first half of the season. After the world championships and pre-season, I thought MPS would lead the rookie charge.

    That being said, I’m a long ways from pushing the panic button. I’m hopeful that, as MPS fills out his tall frame, he won’t get pushed off the puck so easily.