Magnus Paajarvi had a solid rookie season in 10-11, but was lost in the flood last season. For Paajarvi, getting back to his 15-goal rookie pace has a lot to do with confidence and getting the bounces.
In a recent article for hockeysverige by Ola Winther, Paajarvi details his season–what went wrong, and what he did about it. Math tells us Paajarvi wasn’t getting the bounces, especially in terms of NHL shooting percentage:
- 10-11 season: Shots on goal/percentage: 180/8.3% (Boxcars: 80gp, 15-19-34)
- 11-12 season: Shots on goal/percentage: 79/2.5% (Boxcars: 41gp, 2-6-8)
Paajarvi’s shooting percentages in his SEL career (19 goals on 263 shots, 7.2%) and his time in OKC (7 goals on 100 shots, 7%) suggests we’re not looking at Jordan Eberle. However, his 2.5% shooting percentage in the NHL in 11-12 would appear to be confirmation of the player’s suggestion that he wasn’t getting the bounces:
- Paajarvi: "What was the big difference was simply that the pucks did not want to bounce my way in the crucial positions. It locked up mentally and it’s something I take from this season, it’s how incredibly important the mental part is."
At times in 11-12 Paajarvi looked like he had lost his confidence and was not driving to the net as we’d seen him in 10-11. This can happen and certainly his lack of playing time and a specific role early in the season must have had an impact. It’s interesting to hear new coach Ralph Krueger emphasize players knowing their role as a key component for next year’s squad.
A rough start in Paajarvi’s rookie season was met with patience, but in 11-12 coach Renney sent him away for seasoning. Renney had some things going on the top 2 lines and didn’t want to worry over Paajarvi’s development with the good times rolling. The result was a worn down Smyth and a lost season for 91, but Paajarvi managed to find the positive
- Paajarvi: "I felt that I developed a lot in Oklahoma. I had to take a lot of responsibility and played well in the powerplay that penalty kill. It gave me a lot and was definitely something that strengthened me."
Paajarvi went 34, 7-18-25 in OKC and regained his game. His playoff performance in the AHL (14gp, 2-9-11) was even more impressive as he finished 2nd in points and led the Barons in assists.
Paajarvi is a positive, determined young man who handled a tough season with aplomb. He is very much focused on being an Oiler long term and has nothing but positives to say about the city:
- Paajarvi: "All are talking hockey here. It’s a great hockey culture. I personally love the city, the fans and everything else here. Once we start winning, I can only imagine how magical it will be."
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Magnus Paajarvi speaks and conducts himself with a maturity that implies a much older player. He took the demotion to Oklahoma City in stride, improved his game and remains determined to get better and make the NHL as a regular on the Edmonton Oilers.
This sort of attitude is refreshing after years of seeing first rounders fail to work on improving their footspeed, or balking at the idea that their talents were best suited to being a modern Guy Carbonneau.
Magnus Paajarvi is proof that in life it isn’t what happens to you–it’s what you do about it after it happens to you.