Note: This is the scheduled post for tonight, I’ll have an update on Klefbom’s injury later in the evening.

Winning organizations have more NHL players on the ice each evening than the other guy, and the truly great teams sprinkle in two or three impact players, have above average special teams and good to great goaltending. I think Magnus Paajarvi’s role on the Oilers as a “winning team” is not yet known to us, but we know that the club can’t afford to lose him.

They need to make this pick count.

Coach Todd Nelson has decided to put MP in a feature role in OKC, alongside the Nuge and Eberle. This has to be one of the truly incredible opportunities for an AHL player in the league’s history–rivaling the bunch who were lucky enough to play for Al MacNeil 40 years ago.

Tony Featherstone played for MacNeil in the AHL, after getting in a little more than one season with the California Golden Seals. Featherstone flourished under MacNeil, scoring plenty one year with Morris Stefaniw and Yvon Lambert as his linemates. Only Lambert made it, but that’s the thing about the minors: not everyone grabs a job in the higher league.

But a 10th overall pick in a pretty strong draft? That’s a guy you need to figure out, to help succeed. I’m good with the Nelson strategy–run that kid out there for 500 at-bats with the man-boy Eberle and the passing savant Nugent-Hopkins. And if after 40 games he has 7 goals, then you better find a checking role he can succeed in–God knows the Oilers will need penalty killers and role players.

Paajarvi isn’t going to make the Gretzky-to Kurri, Messier-to-Anderson category, but he might get a job as a complementary player on a skill line. I’d say he has a better chance than Hartikainen or Pitlick. However, if he ends up being from the Dave Hunter role playing family that’s fine too.

But they can’t lose him. Tom Renney lost him once, chasing wins in a season that was destined to have few. Todd Nelson’s job is to find where he fits, and to make sure he gets his swagger back in the place where so many Yvon Lambert’s have gone to re-invent themselves.


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7 Responses to "PAAJARVI IN OKC"

  1. DSF says:

    The rubber finally hits the road for Paajarvi.

    If, after 40 games he isn’t a PPG player in the A, he’s not a top 6 player.

    Where I disagree is that ‘the Oilers can’t afford to lose him”.

    3rd and 4th lines all over the NHL are populated by former first round picks who couldn’t get the job done and their services are always readily available.

    However, to succeed in that role, Paajarvi will need to re-invent his game.

    There are very few coaches in the NHL who will tolerate a perimeter player in his bottom 6 and I would suggest those are coaches of losing teams.

    Now or never.

  2. oilers89 says:

    Good post Lowetide! I agree the oilers need to figure pajaarvi out. IMO he is already an NHL caliber player when it comes to his defensive abilities. I think he has a career either way but if he could figure out how to play a more power forward type style with some offense, well then we have one hell of a player!

  3. striatic says:

    the truth will out in 20 games with RNH and Eberle.

    this is a good thing.

  4. Ryan says:

    First time back here in a week. Still no NHL, but a +1 comment from DSF.

    When he isn’t trolling for the Canucks, DSF sure makes some good points. 🙂

    PRV strikes me as a thoroughbred with a ten cent head (for creating offense).

    If he can’t learn by osmosis from playing with two of the smartest players in our system…

    If he can, Lordy that would be something.

  5. Ryan says:

    Either way, it’s he can develop at least some chemistry with them, you’d hope they try it at the NHL if we have a season-at the very least for a p&d.

  6. VOR says:

    Striatic, DSF,

    In hockey it can take years for the truth to out. Maybe at 27 Magnus is reduced to being a training camp invite. Maybe he has managed to score say 44 goals in his first 400 NHL games. Even that doesn’t necessarily spell the end of a career or a busted first round draft choice. At 28 he may become the heart and soul of a Stanley Cup Champion and one of the most respected players in hockey.

    It happens. Because it happens first round draft choices, particularly ones who have shown some offence at the NHL level and can skate like the wind, get many, many chances. Sometimes the gamble pays off for the GM who takes that one last chance. We will know precisely nothing after 20 games or 40 games in the AHL.

    Maybe Magnus has 45 points in a full season in the AHL this year and goes on to play more than a 1,000 games in the NHL. That happens to, actually quite frequently. Even with scorers.

    The belief that some small sample size tells all in terms of a young player (heck any player) is mathematically flawed. While forwards typically develop faster than dmen it isn’t a hard and fast rule and as the Oilers so spectacularly prove knowing when to hold them and when to fold them is really tricky even when you are dealing with forwards. Snap judgements don’t help.

  7. VOR says:

    Hey DSF,

    So if you don’t score a point a game in the AHL you aren’t an NHL top 6 guy. How about this guy, 111 games in the AHL and 68 points, 44goals in his first 158 games. You beloved Canucks seem to think Ryan Kesler is a top 6 player. Paajarvi is tracking ahead of him in the AHL.

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