#3 Prospect: Magnus Pääjärvi

Winter 2009: #1
Summer 2010: #2

Winter 2010: #3

Magnus Pääjärvi  is a helluva young hockey prospect. Skates like the wind, has good hands and a good attitude. Also–and this is important–he’s handled being shuttled around the lineup very well. No complaining, bitching or moaning and most importantly no grumbling within earshot of the media.

The kid is a real roadrunner.

  • Redline Report: 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.
  • International Scouting Services: He loves to dangle and is arguably one of the most skilled players available in the draft. His ability to go from standing still to full speed is unparalleled. He is a tremendous puck handler, with great outside rush ability and an unmatched capability of freezing defenders. Extremely talented around the puck, it’s his play away from the puck that truly shows off his value.
  • Central Scouting: Magnus perhaps is the stereotype of the skilled Swede coming over here in recent years – outside speed extraordinaire, ability to freeze defenders and make all his good moves work even more effectively. He was a good contributor to his team at the World Junior tournament and I think will be an essential member of any NHL team in years to come. He showed, at the World Junior championships, why the 1980 comparisons to Mats Naslund, Kent Nilsson and more recently a Peter Forsberg will follow him over to his NHL team. He’ll be a high draft pick and I’m sure he’s going to be a combination of the kind of offensive flare and skills that have made those other three predecessors great NHL players.

Unlike the other two rookie forwards, Pääjärvi’s progress has been delayed by ice time and the type of minutes he’s receiving. All three kids are having growing pains, but the Swedish kid is miles from the action. Last night, he showed the first glimpses of that pre-season wunderkind we’ve seen in quite some time, and if he can repeat it Saturday (I’d keep him with Gagner) then there’s every chance he’ll cash. I’d also like to see some powerplay time for him.

Pääjärvi is a bit of an odd duck on the ice. Many times he’s in an extreme defensive position; his positioning on plays is often curious (when he isn’t leading the rush he appears to my eye to be the de facto center on the line, entering late ala Adam Oates many years ago). I like him as a future 2-way winger, which jives with my original comparable (here) although we do see a perimter player at this point in his career. He’s getting killed relCorsi but again I believe much of it has to do with the men alongside.

I could quote every line in this article, but instead suggest you read it. Tom Renney has made some curious choices this season with the roster, but this tells us he’s going to have a massive impact on these kids development. In a good way.

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