MAGNUM PS

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.

THE MINORS

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.

THE FUTURE

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.

  • Lowetide

    Paajarvi is as defensively sound as they come and he’s what? 20?

    Last time I checked, we have a few guys who should be able to put the biscut in the basket, so lets stop worrying about his offence.

    15 goals as a rookie? Doesn’t have to be taught how to backcheck? The POTENTIAL to be a big crease crasher? Priceless…..

    Rome wasn’t built in a day(look at any Swedes numbers and you’ll know this)

    This kid can play on my team ANY DAY.

    • Lowetide

      Agreed. The guy had a solid rookie season and lost his way a little but coach Renney helped by riding Smyth heavily during the winning streak. A solid camp and as Krueger has mentioned clearly defined roles should bode well for Paajarvi.

  • Nice article LT! Everything you said made perfect sense.

    One thing people might be overlooking is the fact that Hemsky is probably on his way out at some point in the next two years and Yakupov could be moved back to his natural RW. At that point PRV could slot in on the 2nd line LW.

    And I’m not sure how much playing time PRV got with RNH last year but I think that he’d have to be putting some points up playing on the Nuge’s flank…

    Lastly, when is nation’s radio gonna be available on itunes again?

    • Lowetide

      I’m just the worst on itunes and stuff. My kids are on itunes, does that help? I have iphone now but don’t really use much of the stuff on it.

      I’m making progress, though. A year ago Wanye came into the studio during Nation Radio to teach me about twitter and now I’m a freaking bandit on that thing.

      Anyway, I don’t know. At all. 🙂

  • Lowetide

    Hard to say he has a good attitude when he makes an excuse like “the pucks did not want to bounce my way”. You make your own luck, kid. If he keeps playing as softly and timidly as he did last year, even an 8% shooting percentage won’t earn him an NHL job.

  • Lowetide

    Good topic …. I dont think Renny was a confidence builder for this player!. The kid has the tools, just as to put it all together.

    ONe think that he needs to do is go hard to the net with the puck… because his shot is not the hottest, needs to get up close and dirty with the goalie.[ forfet this gliding into the corner]
    Someone suggested that perhaps he could play CTR.?
    Has the tools and smarts.. dont recall his face off abilities.

  • I agree that this MPS needed this coaching change and could really benefit by it. He has some great skill and I believe he will be a good 2 way player for many years. Having Smyth in the fold has certainly put a wrinkle in his development.

    MPS is not a Sniper. he is fast, opens lanes for other players, and would benefit greatly by playing with some skill on the top 2 lines.

    If they move Yak to the left, which I think is a mistake then MPS will have to shift to the right or he may very well not have a place on this team this year. In my opinion Hartikainan is a better fit for the 4th line then MPS.

    He needs someone to focus time working with him and encouraging him to drive the net, bang in the corners and become a gritier player.

    Yak-Nuge-Eberle

    Hall-Gagner-Hemsky

    Smyth-Horcoff-Paajarvi

    Hartikainan-Belanger-Jones

    I think Yak is a sniper and his one time on his off wing is part of what makes him dangerous. Shifting him to his off wing may help him defensively, but I think it will take away part of what makes him special.