91 Days Until The Season Begins
Photo credit:© Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis2 months ago
Throughout the summer and into the fall, we’ll be counting down the days until the Edmonton Oilers begin their 2023-24 season with a daily trip down memory lane. Today at 91, we have Magnus Paajarvi, the “P” from “H.O.P.E.”
During the 2005-06 season, John Tavares broke into the OHL as a 15-year-old after becoming the first player ever to be granted “exceptional status” to start playing major junior at a younger age. Tavares scored 45 goals and 77 points as the youngest player in the league and became regarded as hockey’s next prodigy.
Meanwhile, over in Sweden, there was another talented teenager making a name for himself. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson became a star at TV-Pucken, Sweden’s biggest youth hockey tournament, when he scored eight goals and 11 points over eight games for his home district of Skane as a 14-year-old.
He joined the Malmo Redhawks for the 2005-06 season and dominated Sweden’s U16 league with eight goals and 13 points over five games. Paajarvi-Svensson put up five points in 13 games for Malmo at the U18 level that season and made his debut in Sweden’s U20 league despite being only 15 years old.
After another season between Malmo’s U18 and U20 teams, Paajarvi-Svensson joined his older brother, Bjorn Svensson, with Timra IK. He scored 22 points over 18 games for their U20 team and made his Elitserien (now SHL) debut at five months and 12 days, becoming the fourth-youngest player in the league’s history.
Paajarvi-Svensson scored seven goals and 17 points over 50 games for Timra IK in 2008-09 and showed that he could thrive on the smaller North American ice when he scored seven points over six games for Sweden at the 2009 World Juniors in Ottawa.
Heading into that summer’s draft, there was a clear top-three of Tavares, Victor Hedman, and Matt Duchene, while Paajarvi-Svensson was expected to go fourth or fifth. The Oilers were linked to Nazem Kadri, Zack Kassian, and Dmitri Kulikov and there was talk that they might try to trade up to select Evander Kane. When their pick at No. 10 overall rolled around, Paajarvi-Svensson’s name was surprisingly still on the board and the Oilers made the slam-dunk decision to draft him.
Edmonton Journal Clipping From Saturday, June 27, 2009.
Paajarvi-Svensson stayed in Sweden for the 2009-10 season and scored 12 goals and 29 points over 49 games for Timra in the elite league. That year’s World Juniors in Saskatchewan was huge for Oilers fans as Paajarvi led Sweden with 10 points while 2008 first-round pick Jordan Eberle was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
The Oilers inked Paajarvi-Svensson to an entry-level contract the following June and he announced he would be shortening the surname on his jersey to just Paajarvi when he came overseas in the fall. Paajarvi hit the ground running in Edmonton as he scored a hat-trick in his first NHL pre-season game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
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Along with Eberle and Taylor Hall, Edmonton’s first-overall pick from the 2010 draft, Paajarvi cracked the Oilers’ roster out of training camp for the 2010-11 season. Paajarvi scored 15 goals and 34 points over 80 games in his rookie season and the performance of the young trio generated optimism that Edmonton’s young core could guide the team to success in the coming years.
Paajarvi’s rookie season with the Oilers wound up being his best. He put up just three assists over his first 25 games during the 2011-12 season and got sent down to the Oklahoma City Oil Barons of the AHL. The following season, Paajarvi started off in the AHL while the NHL was locked out and scored 20 points over 38 games. The NHL season finally started in January and Paajarvi scored just 16 points over 42 games for the Oilers.
By the summer of 2013, Paajarvi had fallen out of favour when it came to Edmonton’s rebuild. Eberle and Hall were performing well on the wings and the team had used their first-overall pick in the 2011 and 2012 drafts to select two more forwards, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, so Paajarvi became expendable.
Though many assumed that Paajarvi would be moved in a deal for a defenceman, the Oilers packaged him up with a couple of draft picks and traded him to the St. Louis Blues for David Perron, a veteran forward who offered more grit and jam in his game. The Oilers finally wound up with a defenceman a few years later, as Perron was moved to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a first-round pick that was later dealt to the New York Islanders for Griffin Reinhart.
Paajarvi spent the next few seasons as a depth player bouncing between the Blues and their AHL affiliate. During the 2017-18 season, Paajarvi was claimed off of waivers by the Ottawa Senators. He spent one more year in the NHL with the Sens and left to play in Europe for the 2019-20 season.
All told, Paajarvi scored 62 goals and 124 points over 467 games in the NHL. That’s a solid career, but it isn’t the level of success that many were visualizing for him when he was Sweden’s teenage hockey prodigy.
How many days are left until the Edmonton Oilers start the 2023-24 season? 91! Can you guess who will be featured in tomorrow’s countdown?
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- 98 Days Until The Season Begins — Jesse Puljujarvi
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- 93 Days Until The Season Begins — Petr Nedved
- 92 Days Until The Season Begins — Tomas Jurco
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