Looking for a reasonable comp for Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson is a difficult task even before we get to the math of things.
He’s fast, very fast (some have suggested he was the fastest player in the 2009 draft) and he’s also a big kid (6.01, 201 and turned 18 in April) so that’s a rather unusual skill/size combination for a player his age.
Secondly, he played in the Swedish Elite League (50 games, significant minutes–11:13 a night) and ranked 3rd among eligible players in SEL points. He was very impressive at the World Juniors and earned his points (MPS did not play on the featured line often).
Notorious hard markers Redline Report had this to say: “Swedish winger Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson possesses blazing speed and is the best pure skater in the entire draft. He’s also got good size and strength, and has been competing against men in the Swedish Elite League all year, so he may be ready to step in and play in the NHL right away.”
He has been compared (in terms of style) to Mats Naslund, Markus Naslund, Ales Hemsky, Maxim Afinogenov, Alexei Kovalev and even Pavel Bure. The problem with all of those comparables is that the range of style is pretty incredible. Pavel Bure and Ales Hemsky are wonderful comps, but they’re not terribly similar players. Mats Naslund was a wonderful player, but this guy is a giant in comparison.
So, where do we start? I like to begin at the draft. Here are the Swedish forwards who played in the SEL at age 17 and were drafted in the 1st round from 1991-2009. I’ve listed their draft number, the year, their boxcars, their points-per-game and their percentage of team offense. They are ranked by points-per-game:
- Peter Forsberg (#6-’91) 23gp, 7-10-17 .739 12.78%
- Markus Naslund (#16-’91) 32gp, 10-9-19 .594 14.28%
- Niklas Backstrom (#4-’06) 46gp, 10-16-26 .565 22.8%
- Robert Nilsson (#15-03) 41gp, 8-13-21 .512 14.89%
- Niklas Sundstrom (#8-’93) 8gp, 1-3-4 .500 3.38%
- Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson (#10-’09) 50gp, 7-10-17 .340 11.18%
- Jacob Josefson (#20-’09) 50gp, 5-11-16 .320 10.73%
- Daniel Sedin (#2-’99) 45gp, 4-8-12 .267 9.3%
- Fredrik Sjostrom (#11-’01) 31gp, 2-3-5 .161 3.22%
- Henrik Sedin (#3-99) 39gp, 1-4-5 .128 3.88%
- Alexander Steen (#24-’02) 26gp, 0-3-3 .115 1.66%
- Niklas Bergfors (#23-’05) 25gp, 1-0-1 .040 0.78%
- Anze Kopitar (#11-’05) 5gp, 0-0-0 .000 nil
- Jonas Johansson (#28-’02) 5gp, 0-0-0 .000 nil
- Michael Holmqvist (#18-’97) 9gp, 0-0-0 .000 nil
- Marcus Nilsson (#20-’96) 12gp, 0-0-0 .000 nil
The math suggests the young man drafted by New Jersey this year is a nice match, but that’s not really helpful. We don’t know the minutes played by the Sedins but can guess it’s less than MPS enjoyed this past season with Timra. The math doesn’t like Naslund as a comp and it scoffs at a Forsberg comparison.
I think it’s too early. I like to marry the math to a player who fits the description but no one jumps out yet. It took awhile to settle on Vincent Damphousse and Doug Gilmour as possible comps for Gagner, and it took some time to see Rick Middleton as a comp for Ales Hemsky. I don’t know who we’ll choose as a comp for Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson over the next 12 months and at this point I don’t know if he’ll be Swedish.
In terms of style I’d pick Naslund from this list, in terms of size Niklas Sundstrom is probably about right and there is no useful stats match on this list.