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?
I’m betting that Paajarvi gets claimed on waivers…because I have to at this point…I’m going down with the ship.
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) September 30, 2015
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.
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)
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
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 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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