MPS Comp

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:

  1. Peter Forsberg (#6-’91) 23gp, 7-10-17 .739 12.78%
  2. Markus Naslund (#16-’91) 32gp, 10-9-19 .594 14.28%
  3. Niklas Backstrom (#4-’06) 46gp, 10-16-26 .565 22.8%
  4. Robert Nilsson (#15-03) 41gp, 8-13-21 .512 14.89%
  5. Niklas Sundstrom (#8-’93) 8gp, 1-3-4 .500 3.38%
  6. Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson (#10-’09) 50gp, 7-10-17 .340 11.18%
  7. Jacob Josefson (#20-’09) 50gp, 5-11-16 .320 10.73%
  8. Daniel Sedin (#2-’99) 45gp, 4-8-12 .267 9.3%
  9. Fredrik Sjostrom (#11-’01) 31gp, 2-3-5 .161 3.22%
  10. Henrik Sedin (#3-99) 39gp, 1-4-5 .128 3.88%
  11. Alexander Steen (#24-’02) 26gp, 0-3-3 .115 1.66%
  12. Niklas Bergfors (#23-’05) 25gp, 1-0-1 .040 0.78%
  13. Anze Kopitar (#11-’05) 5gp, 0-0-0 .000 nil
  14. Jonas Johansson (#28-’02) 5gp, 0-0-0 .000 nil
  15. Michael Holmqvist (#18-’97) 9gp, 0-0-0 .000 nil
  16. 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.

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45 Responses to "MPS Comp"

  1. knighttown says:

    A couple of other options:

    Erik Cole- Blazing speed off the wing. Excellent size but questionable finishing abilities. Coles a little more physical.

    Radek Dvorak- He'd be an Erik Cole-lite.

  2. mc79hockey says:

    What, they don't have any tighter pants in Sweden? This guy might give Emo Nilsson a run for his money.

  3. Lowetide says:

    Actually they do, ABBA owns them all though.

  4. DanMan says:

    knighttown: You said it brother.

    Eric Cole is the comparison. When I heard the one negative of MPS was his hands around the net, I immediately thought Cole.

    I really hope he's not Rob Niedmermayer.

  5. Lowetide says:

    In the USHL at age 18, Cole had 140pims. MPS had 4 pims this past season.

    This is not a reasonable comp.

  6. zeus says:

    Someone from Sweden posted on hfboards that Timra's coach was criticized in the media for not playing MPS enough. I'm not sure how much the other SEL players played on your list, but it would be interesting.

  7. Coach pb9617 says:

    LT, what about G/P as a % of total team G/P?

  8. Lowetide says:

    Yeah, but I don't really see a match here. He's big, fast and skilled. He did not deliver a big season but he's 17 and playing against men.

    Who is he?

  9. Coach pb9617 says:

    he's 17 and playing against men.

    Who is he?

    *cough* Jari Kurri?

  10. Lowetide says:

    I'd weep. Openly.

  11. DanMan says:

    LT, I wouldn't expect a 17 year old getting 11 minutes a game in the SEL wanting to take a lot of minor penalties. A men's pro league is much different than the USHL.

    Plus there is no fighting in Europe. Some of those guys come over here and suprise. I wouldn't have ever seen Smid as a fighter, but he held his own this year.

  12. Coach pb9617 says:

    I'd weep. Openly.

    I have no idea what I'd do if that were the case. Given my outright love of Kurri…man.

    I'd open with weeping and progress from there.

  13. knighttown says:

    Cripes LT, you watched Cole play an entire season and your going to pull out math from when he was 18 to tell me he's tough. I watched every game and I know what I saw. Which do you think is a more typical of Erik Cole's career. The 150+ penalty minutes from his goon-squad laced season in the USHL or the 65 he's averaged over a long NHL career.

    Please don't call Erik Cole some tough guy when notorious baddies Jason Spezza, Alex Kovalev, Sid Crosby and Geno Malkin had more PIMs, many of them in less games.

    Maybe he turns out to be Lady Bing but I'd say its quite possible Cole and Magnum PS end up with similar PIM numbers. Or at least as possible as using the lethal sniper Markus Naslund as a comp to a guy who is suspected to have questionable finishing skills.

  14. PunjabiOil says:

    There are concerns about MPS:

    1. He fell down to 10th because scouts questioned his ability to translate offence to the professionals. The rebuttal to this would be Kopitar, Anze
    2. His shooting % numbers were low in comparison to SEL peers.

    You would like to hope he's another Backstrom or Naslund, as opposed to a Rob Neidermayer or Radek Dvorak.

    No concrete answers yet.

    So we wait.

  15. PunjabiOil says:

    On the flip side, I believe only 1 of his point was earned on the powerplay.

  16. DanMan says:

    Eureka! Drumroll please….

    Tomas Sandstrom

    I have no statistical comparables, but Sandstrom was awesome.

    He got robbed by Roy in the 93 finals so, you know, that shows his lack of finish.

  17. Lowetide says:

    knighttown: He had TWO MINOR PENALTIES! The league leader was Yared Hagos (142) so it's not flag football or anything.

    I honestly don't see any kind of indication that we can reasonably connect MPS to an Erik Cole.

  18. blackadder says:

    Blazing speed, size, likes to go to the net. I haven't read much about his hockey sense – if it's off the charts maybe Kurri is a decent comp but that's putting a lot of pressure on a 17 year old.
    I'm hoping for a Markus Naslund. He's not showing the numbers Markus Naslund did in his draft year, but then again he's not playing with Peter Forsberg either. A more realistic comp, but hopefully MPS comes with better hockey sense, could be Martin Gelinas. He came in with the same sort of skill set, and ultimately turned himself into a pretty decent hockey player.

    If not Gelinas, how about a bigger Rejean Houle? A smaller Johnny Bucyk? Anders Hedberg (the NHL version, not the WHA superstar)? Harvey Jackson from the kid line, maybe?

  19. DanMan says:


    No fighting in the SEL, so that means he took 71 minor penalties in 50 games!

  20. Lowetide says:

    blackadder: Very interesting list. Houle was a very good two-way player from the get-go (John Ferguson retired after a playoff run in which he felt Houle had carried him–I believe as a rookie) but he had some outstanding offense too.

    Hedberg is a fascinating idea, he was a legend as a teenager in Sweden too. Good stuff, thanks.

  21. Matt N says:

    Mike Gartner?

  22. pboy says:


    No fighting in the SEL, so that means he took 71 minor penalties in 50 games!

    If most of those 71 penalties were taken in the wrong zone, I would think you were talking about theCaptainethanmoreau.

  23. Hanson#4 says:

    MPS on draft day “I want to make a great impact and a lot of speed, and want to drive to the net all the time, and want to do things with the puck all the time, and try to make plays, and try to make goals, and just be offensive impact for the team.”

    HockeyFuture "Defensively, he has throughout his career as a junior been considered as a sloppy player with not enough willingness to back check and to the dirty work."

    Finally the World Jr 'sh!t their pants" comment shows me a free spirit which makes me think of Glenn Anderson !

  24. Moose says:

    Well one of the reports on him was he creates chances with his speed but doesn't finish them. What about a slightly bigger Russ Courtnall?

  25. TC91 says:

    I think that Milan Michalek would be a pretty good comp if MPS does indeed have questionable finishing abilities (I'd rather not though).

    I will also throw in Michael Frolik and Patrik Elias too.

  26. Moose says:

    TC91: You just beat me to it. Agree on Michalek…he's a pretty average finisher and still gets 20+ a year.

    Also, I think whomever said Rob Niedermayer might be on to a good comp as well.

    Erm, a bigger, braver Cogliano?

  27. editor says:

    I'd say ales hemsky is the best comp.

    Based on articles, comments and video, seems like he has:

    All world skills, likes to carry the puck on his stick, has tremendous speed, drives to the net off the rush, doesn't initiate physical contact but doesn't shy away from it, good but not great vision, doesn't finish (is he just more of a playmaker and people choose to veiw that as he can't finish?), doesn't take a lot of penalties, kind of lazy in his own zone…

    Seems like hemsky to me, although i'm probably not the best judge

  28. Mr DeBakey says:

    It took 25 tries to come up with
    Glenn Anderson?

    1977-78 Bellingham BCJHL
    62-69 -131
    with 46 pim

  29. DanMan says:

    A little off topic.

    What do you guys think about taking a chance on Alex Bourret on a one year two-way? He's 5'10" 205 was drafted 1st round #16 overall to ATL in 2005. He has been cursed with injuries, but he was an impact player in the AHL for the most part when healthy. The scouting reports before the draft that year referred to him as a "tank on skates". Heres the line:

    2002-03 Sherbrooke QMJHL 61 13 15 28 73 2003-04 Lewiston QMJHL 65 22 41 63 94
    2004-05 Lewiston QMJHL 65 31 55 86 172
    2005-06 Shawinigan QMJHL 67 44 70 114 133
    2006-07 Chicago AHL 45 11 21 32 46
    2007-08 Hartford AHL 54 9 24 33 78
    2008-09 San Antonio AHL 48 3 11 14 44

  30. Boondock says:

    The difference between some of these comps is MPS is a boy in a man's body, while comparables (Naslund, Nilsson, etc.) were skilled players in the body of 12-year old boys.

    I still like the Radek Dvorak comparison the best, but anyone expecting Forsberg is going to be sorely disappointed, but I would welcome a young Dvo on this roster.

  31. DanMan says:

    22 years old

  32. Lowetide says:

    Boondock: Dvorak is an interesting name and you make a good point about MPS being a man already. One of the reasons Zetterberg almost passed through the draft was he hadn't grown at all by 17.

  33. DanMan says:

    Some of these guys get a lot bigger and they don't necessarily stop growing height-wise at 18.

    When Bobby Holik was drafted he was 60"-6'1" and 195 lb. He became 6'4" 230!

    If MPS gets to 6'3" and 215-220, I think the Sandstrom comp might hold up .

  34. PDO says:

    Wasn't size a concern for Roenick when he was drafted?

    I haven't read much about his physical game… but if he likes to drive to the net, he's certainly not scared of that side of the game.

    Cole before he broke his neck was one hell of a hockey player… and he was still a damn good one after, just not quite the same level.

    I can't wait to see what the kid does on the smaller ice with that kind of speed.

    I haven't really seen it mentioned, but could he have a camp that saw him make the team?

    It'd have to be a camp and then some… but if he plays 5 exhibition games and comes out with 7 points…

  35. godot10 says:

    Okay, I haven't watched MPS play hardly at all, but the size and the skill set is pretty similar to Mark Messier, playing against men at age 17 with the Cincinatti Stingers of the WHA.

    Disclaimer: I just back home from Bluesfest and a bar, and am probably drunk.

  36. PDO says:

    Wait, speed and size?


    We drafted OVECHKIN!?

  37. Art Vandelay says:

    Magnum PS. Awesome.

    Also think the Russ Courtnall comp is closest.

  38. Black Gold says:

    Wait, speed and size?
    We drafted OVECHKIN!?

    Haha nice.

    On the other hand, speed and size?
    We drafted Chimera!

    Seriously though, how much bigger do we expect him to get?
    he's 6'1", 201?

    He's likely done growing, and it isn't easy to add weight without affecting that 'all world' speed.

  39. Kevin says:

    This if off topic, but I just wanted to mention a little note I saw on CapGeek tonight.

    "POPULAR CAPGEEK BUYOUTS: The top five buyout queries executed on in the past week were for Dustin Penner, Wade Redden, Georges Laraque, Marian Hossa and Daniel Briere. That group accounted for a quarter of all buyout queries, with Penner comfortably in the lead (ahead of Redden) with a 7.3 percent share."

    I wonder how many of those queries were just MacT hitting refresh while crying into his jack and coke…

  40. Ben says:

    You actually have Nicklas Backstrom's numbers listed form his 18 year old season. He was actually quite a bit further back from MPS as a 17 year old. He went pointless in 19 games in 04-05. Considering he's the most recent comparable on the list, that should create some optimism.

  41. shep says:

    i think he looks like a young mats sundin when he plays.

  42. ian says:

    Thanks for bringing up Anders Hedbergs name.I had a flash back to my time in the Peg.
    When the Jets needed a goal the would dial up "The Hot Line" Hull, Hedberg and Nilsson
    Oh Happy Days

  43. Bruce says:

    Flash and dash but no finish? (OK, half Finnish)

    LT: Is MPS Bobby Sheehan? Randy Rota? Rusty Patenaude?

  44. Master Lok says:

    Coach pb9617 said…

    I'd weep. Openly.

    I have no idea what I'd do if that were the case. Given my outright love of Kurri…man.

    I'd open with weeping and progress from there.

    Unfortunately MPS is Swedish, and lacks Kurri's… "finnish".

  45. spOILer says:

    Hartikainen seems closer to Cole than MPS.

    Dvorak, I'd bet was far better defensively at the same age. There's not many players who could forecheck and retrieve pucks along the boards as well as Radek.

    Anderson maybe, but Andy had decent finish and was a shit disturber.

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