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.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    If you extrapolate the numbers – give MPS about 200 shots (2.53 multiplier) that brings him to 5 goals, and then bump his shooting percentage up to 7.5, he’d be on pace for 15 goals.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    I’ve had this thought on MPS for a few months now. Can he become a center? He has many things going for him, including speed, defensive awareness, size and hockey knowledge beyond his 21 years of age. Although he may be better suited for the wing, there is a logjam there.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    I agree with pousar99, trading this guy now would turn into HUGE regret down the road. I see him as a strong support guy like the big Sweeds on Detroit’s roster. ie. Holmstrom, Samuelsson, Franzen. Like many of you I’ve been reading the blogs over the summer but I’m not convinced that trading our assets for a proven D-Man is necessary. Weber, Suter, Doughty, Pietrangelo, are players that get developed and turn into coveted assets…patients ppl. I don’t think the D we have now is as bad as lasts years stats suggest. With a new coach, and increased offense 5×5 all we need to do is win 10 of the 1 goal games we lost last year. Thats roughly two extra wins/month. I think the team we have right now, better coached can do that. Then the playoff Experience will translate into our current D prospects as legit NHLers.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    Paajarvi with his size, skill, and skating ability, has the potential to be an elite matchup player, a la a Dennis Rodman for the multiple NBA championship Pistons.

    What he doesn’t bring in offense, he will give by taking away the offense of one of the other team’s best offensive wingers.

    i.e. The net (GF – GA) per 60 min differential (or relative Corsi, adjusted for competition) I think/predict will be above average in the medium term. For Paajarvi, I think this will always be more important than looking at the raw boxcars.

  • Lowetide

    I get concerned when I hear people talking about using MP in a trade to get a D man for example. Yes, this kid is not going to be up with the Fab Four but he still has lots of potential and a great attitude. Trading him now would be a big mistake. I see him as a long term Oiler, possibly a second liner, maybe a third liner, but a big, talented young player and gifted skater.

  • Kodiak

    I like the kids perseverance and I think that will get him to the next level.

    I’m not sure why so many are wanting to give Hartikainen a shot ahead of MPS. His offensive output and potential doesn’t seem anywhere close to MPS. I do think MPS alongside Horcoff and Smytty on the 3rd line wouldn’t be a bad situation for the kid either.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Thanks for finding that interview LT. I was really impressed with mps and his missing sense of entitlement. I hope Krueger plays him as the 3RW sliding him and Smyth up the lineup as injuries happen. I want to see how he handles tough opposition with his speed and size and good chainmates 2way

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Really great attitude on this kid. Can’t help but wish him all the best. I’m not sure he is fully sold on how to use the tools god has given him though? Although it’s too early to pass that judgement.. this year should tell us a lot on what he’s being told to do. As I believe he’s the type to take and run with the advice given.

    More and more i’ve been thinking that Gagner’s term here in Edmonton is going to be decided by the ability of Harti or Paajarvi on the wings in the top 6. If they can be successful by adding size then Gagner stays.. if not?

  • RexLibris

    Paajarvi’s “lost” season may have some benefits for the Oilers in the short term. I doubt that his name, regardless of how he performs this season, will be mentioned in the same breath as Hall and Eberle when discussions of contract renewals come about.

    That speedbump in his career path may save the Oilers some cap space for a short time.

    From my perspective, I see Paajarvi with the potential of a very valuable 2nd-3rd line winger who can shift up or down to play with various teammates and situations. In a few years, should Pitlick graduate to the NHL, a line of Paajarvi, Gagner and Pitlick could be a very valuable and balanced (offense, defense, forechecking) line, should the Oilers keep them all together.

    When we look back at this period, Paajarvi’s comments might be the watershed moment for the organization where the AHL is no longer seen as a slap in the face, but as an opportunity, similar to what Renney said he wanted to instill in the team.