I’ve always liked Magnus Paajarvi, he’s a fast train and displays a nice range of skills. I didn’t think the Oilers had any chance of getting him at #10 overall in 2009, and most of the draft predictions had him gone before Edmonton made their selection.
I am very interested to see how new coach Ralph Krueger handles Paajarvi, because there’s a player there and I think we can see him from here.
- Positives: He’s an absolute rocket on skates, with size and (possible failing) hands. He is uncommonly aware of defense and positioning for a player his age.
- Negatives: He’s a little shy in some of the physical areas of the ice and doesn’t use his body like you’d like him to; he’s also quick to exit the scoring zones and cheat for defense. That is also listed as a positive, but there are opportunities available he is not taking advantage of currently.
I felt Krueger might use him in a two-way role, a Pisani role. We would recognize it if we saw Paajarvi playing with Horcoff/Smyth or if he got some time on the penalty kill.
HOW IS RALPH USING HIM?
Ralph Krueger is using Magnus at even strength (9:15) and on the PK (1:28) AS WELL AS the PP (0:31) in small glimpses. This differs from his usage under coach Tom Renney, who gave MP 13:31 (EV) and 1:50 (PP) as a rookie and 11:46 (EV) and 1:01 (PP) as a sophomore. Renney didn’t see Paajarvi as a penalty killer, despite his speed and wingspan.
The Qual Comp charts can sometimes be a little wonky, but with the understanding that the season is early and by eye Paajarvi’s line does seem to be facing three line opposition. The exception to the rule is last night against Dallas.
Paajarvi finished 8th (10-11, as a rookie) and 4th (last season) in this discipline and if you’re a believer in CorsiRel (as I am) then it’s a very good tell. Paajarvi ranks 7th here, but really 4th among the men who are not on the ridiculous 1line.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
To my eye, Krueger is using Paajarvi in a more “complete” role, giving him a chance to show his stuff. This is a player who scored 15 goals as a rookie and clearly has some confidence issues with the puck. As we roll along this season and the wins and losses become even more dear, I wonder if RK will trust the young Paajarvi in these areas. Right now things are looking pretty good for Paajarvi, he’s getting some traction and even some offense showed this week.
Small victories are big steps.