MAGNUM ON THE MOVE

paajarvi by rob ferguson

Magnus Paajarvi is on waivers today and at least three people I know are hoping he gets claimed on waivers—two hoping it’s Oilers and a third who just wants someone to claim the Swede. Why?

Hey, you’re not going to see me mocking Dusty or anyone else for that matter. Magnus Paajarvi has a lot of things to recommend him as an NHL player and his speed is exceptional. Will someone take him on waivers? I think it could happen. Will it be the Oilers? Perhaps not. One reason why: The GM, coach and scouting director who took MPS are no longer in the organization. That’s a part, not all, of the reason for passing on him. 

WHAT ELSE?

Our man Paajarvi has a solid reputation for being a two-way winger with speed but the offense isn’t exactly a monster. Here are his points-per-60 at five-by five over the last several years:

  • 2014-15 0.00 (no points in 94:35 playing time)
  • 2013-14 1.21 (in 543:45 with St. Louis, ranking No. 10 among forwards)
  • 2012-13 1.56 (in 499: 28 with Edmonton, ranking No. 5 among forwards)
  • 2011-12 0.75 (in 477:06 with Edmonton, ranking No. 11 among forwards)
  • 2010-11 1.33 (in 1039:27 with Edmonton, ranking No. 8  among forwards)
None of these numbers are earth shattering, this is not the track record of a promising offensive player. That said, since Paajarvi’s reptuation is as a two-way player, is offense as important? Further, are those numbers (1.20 5×5/60 during his career) good enough to play a third line role?  As with all things, it depends on how you reach that 1.20 number and the 2013-14 season weighs heavy on this decision. 

paajarvi by rob ferguson2

WHAT HAPPENED IN ST. LOUIS?

Back in 2013, Jason Gregor spoke to Ken Hitchcock about how Paajarvi would be used in St. Louis:

But with Magnus we feel that we got some definition on that third line which we didn’t have before and we think that he’s going to add a lot to our group. He’ll probably get 10 to 20 goals and as I said he and Bergie are going to be able to play against top players. 

Didn’t happen. Paajarvi’s time in St. Louis has been frustrating for all concerned I’m sure, seems to me the team has been unable to find a place despite some good results. In 2013-14, despite what we might view as a low 5×5/60, his shot-attempts-for/60 ranked No. 2 among Blues forwards. Source

Paajarvi is still a young player, but the Blues are going a veteran route in an effort to win Stanley. I suspect Paajarvi is going to need a little luck to make it but there’s an interesting story to tell. 

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER 2014-15

paajarvi vollman 2014-15

This is just a 10 game look and he didn’t score at all during those games. That said, Paajarv was being used in a ‘shut-down’ role in those games and his possession number was positive despite it. Small sample size, but it does indicate that he can be somewhat effective without the puck (his linemates were most often Patrick Berglund and David Backes in those games). Let’s look at his first St. Louis season. 

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER 2013-14

paajarvi vollman 2013-14

Paajarvi had an easier time during the 2013-14 season, getting more sheltered minutes and a better zone start push. His offense—1.21 points-per-60—probably cost him the job in 2014-15. MPS scored just four points in 243 minutes with Patrik Berglund, that’s 0.98 point-per-60 on a line getting soft minutes and expecting to push the offense. The Blues may have felt that 2010-11 season was the real Magnus, and it was—there just isn’t enough offense even when playing the soft parade. 

SHOULD THE OILERS CLAIM HIM?

No. Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle (when healthy), Benoit Pouliot, Teddy Purcell, Lauri Korpikoski, Nail Yakupov, Matt Hendricks, Rob Klinkhammer are the likely group on W, with Leon Draisaitl and Anton Slepyshev shooting for one of the skill jobs. Paajarvi’s problem is that he’s neither fish nor fowl. His time on a skill line in the NHL, against softer competition, hasn’t produced enough offense. His time on a checking line has been successful in a smaller sample size but a team like the Oilers has already committed to Korpikoski, Hendricks and others. I’m sure someone will want me to mention rugged, so I’ll also say MPS is not an overly physical player, and that’s the reason St. Louis is employing Steve Ott (I’d rather have Paajarvi but Ken Hitchcock keeps placing bets on Ott). 

There may be a team—I’d suggest Arizona where slow trains run (but not well) on at least two lines—where MPS can find a home. He may also find a good spot in the next expansion draft. I’m with Dusty, hope he lands somewhere. I don’t think it’s going to be Edmonton. 

Photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved. 

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  • John Chambers

    We should be pleased in some odd way that for the Oilers this former high draft pick has at least been upgraded along with draft picks into Griffin Reinhart.

    The trade MacT actually won / Jury still out on Chiarelli’s half of it

    • YFC Prez

      What are you talking about? PRV, Alex Plante, Riley Nash , Marc Poutiot, Robbie Schremp , Jessie Ninimaki…. ALL STELLAR PICKS….just give them more time!!!!

      Those years. Like 2002 to 2007. It would be tough to find a team with a worse drafting record over a five year span.

      As for PRV. Eberle is hurt. PRV is free. Zero risk to trying him out again. If it doesn’t work ala Grebeskov. Waive him again. He can at least play on the Condors.

  • paul wodehouse

    …nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo way

    …he’s always played like a girl and that’s not a knock on the womens’ program…he just doesn’t have it…back to Europe with him and disappear!

  • paul wodehouse

    With the acquisition of Ryan Smyth so went Paajarvi’s ice time & confidence. That forced trade was a part of the decline of Paajarvi in my opinion. He trended well & played well during his first year! Liked his talent for sure.

  • fran huckzky

    With those wheels somebody has tohave spot for him. He kind of reminds me of Cogliano. When he finally realized he was Todd Marchant and not Brett Hull, he turned into a pretty good player.

  • Kevwan

    In 65 NHL games since MPS left the Oilers he’s had 34 total hits. That’s a rate of about 0.5/gm.

    Compared to Korpikoski’s ’14/15 rate of 2.0+/gm and Klink at almost 3.0 – I know who I’d prefer.

    I’m not saying he has to turn into Cal Clutterbuck or Matt Martin but he has to play more physically if he wants to stay in the league.

    Edit – btw congrats Jays. Looking forward to cheering them on in the playoffs.

  • YFC Prez

    Honestly, he probably learned more about being a pro being in St.L. than he ever would have here. I say we take and play him with Anton and Leon as 3rd line, he’s a better 3rd line player than Yak is today.

  • TartanArmy

    Just no room for MPS, even with Ebs injured who do you sit? He doesn’t fit as a 4th liner, so you’d have to slot him 3rd and I think there’s better options there. Ebs is only going to be out 10-15 games, then what? Seems pointless, and as a previous poster mentioned, been there done that. Sail on MPS.

  • Serious Gord

    He might be a two-Way player. But that doesn’t mean he’s a good one.

    Borderline cowardly player with zero tenacity. Some team will pick him up because he was a first rounder and can skate. They will be disappointed like everyone else.

  • O.C.

    In a perfect world he would have been a free agent and tried out all training camp. Wish him well, unfortunately this team is stacked with higher skill forwards OR heavier forwards in positions he would hope to fill

    There are at least 13 other teams that should come calling.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    Chiarelli & T-MAC

    At the start used words like, compete – Hard on the puck – aggressive stick work – body positioning and skill.

    While I loved Paajarvi’s shot, and speed that was pretty much all he brought.

  • Joy S. Lee

    YES!!!!

    Claim the guy and slap him alongside McDavid and Hall. Do you see where I’m going here? Those three together would be a blur, and he could be the defensive conscience of the trio.

    What have you got to lose if it doesn’t work out; he helps you on the farm (if that’s allowed) or gets claimed by someone else? What have you got to gain if it works out? Lots. For one thing, speed is necessary; did you see tonight’s game? That was the most obvious difference. To me, that’s a chance worth taking.

    He’s been under Hitchcock’s tutelage for a couple of years, so I’m sure he has a grasp of systems by now. We need some additional speed. Put him on the 3rd or 4th line. I’ll take him over Purcell any day of the week; at least he has some upside. Lots of guys get another chance. He’s TWENTY-FOUR years old. Think he might get jacked about suiting up beside #97? I do. (I don’t honestly expect Chiarelli to do it; he loves slow, physical players too much. But I’d sure be excited to see that trio in action. I’ve always felt MPS could be a good player. It may be that I was wrong on this one, but I’ve also never felt that he got a chance to play with the elite guys very much, it was always sporadic at best.

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