Even in a losing season, an NHL team can collect any number of good arrows for specific players. In the case of this year’s Oilers, the redemption of Magnus Paajarvi is one of the sweeter results.
Magnus Pääjärvi 10-11
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.36 (8th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 3.45 (6th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 9th toughest among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 12th best teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: 3.2 (7th best among regular forwards)
- Zone Start: 51.6% (5th easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 52.4% (4th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 180/8.3% (8th among F’s>100 shots)
- Boxcars: 80gp, 15-19-34
- Plus Minus: -13 on a team that was -52.
Magnus Pääjärvi 11-12
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.75 (12th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 2.84 (9th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 9th toughest among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 11th best teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: 6.6 (3rd best among regular forwards)
- Zone Start: 47.7% (11th easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 49.9% (6th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 79/2.5% (10th among F’s>75 shots)
- Boxcars: 41, 2-6-8
- Plus Minus: -7 on a team that was -26.
Magnus Pääjärvi 12-13
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.54 (5th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 2.05 (9th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 6th toughest among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 10th best teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: -1.6 (7th best among regular forwards) (-12.88 CorsiON)
- Zone Start: 51.0% (7th easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 55.3% (best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 75/12% (4th among F’s>70 shots)
- Boxcars: 42, 9-7-16
- Plus Minus: -1 on a team that was -15.
- What do these numbers tell us? He had his finest season. Best 5×5 season, he played 2nd level toughs, he had a reasonable CorsiRel and thank God his shooting percentage crawled from the wreckage. This was some redemption. The young man has earned this, it’s been a tough three seasons since coming over from Sweden.
- How could these numbers be better? Just developing, just doing it over and over again. Repeat, rinse, repeat. Guys like Paajarvi–or at least the role I think he’ll play–tend to grab the job at 23 or 24 and then go on a nice run. Pisani didn’t get the NHL job at age 25, it takes some time. Magnus is way ahead of the curve now, after this season.
- Why do you feel this way? Darcy (Woodguy) McLeod did a wonderful summation earlier this spring, I’ll defer to his post (it’s outstanding).
- Why did he get left behind? As a rookie, MP delivered a decent amount of offense based on role but he went backwards the following season. A rough start in his rookie season was met with patience, but in year two coach Renney sent him away for seasoning. Renney had some things going on the top 2 lines and didn’t want to worry over Paajarvi and Omark. The result was a worn down Smyth and a lost season for Paajarvi and Omark. I was generally strong on Renney, and do respect it must be a nightmare to bring 11 forwards who don’t shave along at the same time, but this was a case of opportunity missed imo.
- Krueger handled it differently? Well, I think Krueger read the results better. Even in his second season, Paajarvi was doing things that were useful (he was a bottom 6F helping the shot differential). Renney didn’t really find a role, but Krueger sure as hell did, and in fact Krueger used him more and more as the season wore on.
- Is there any hope for him as a top 6 forward? Sure, but probably not on the Oilers.
- What now? Oilers have Hall, Yakupov and Eberle as part of the top 6F group now, and unless I’ve missed it MacT is going to add a forward for top 6F this summer and that’s either a winger or a center to replace Gagner (who could move to wing). I don’t think he’s going to play top 6F, and I don’t think he’s going to get big PP minutes with this Oiler team.
- Will MacT trade him? Maybe. I’m more confident they’ll keep Paajarvi now than I would have been if Tambellini remained. Paajarvi does have some nice things going on, and I could see an NHL team asking after him. However, he’s a talented 2-way winger who fills a role, so if you’re going to deal him then that’s another hole created. Oilers have plenty of things to do this summer, I’m not sure adding new problems to replace old ones is a grand idea.
- How did Krueger use him? Top 6 minutes (6th) at EVs (12:18), 1:24 (PP) and 24 seconds on PK.
- What’s his likely role? Two-way winger who can PK, jump up the depth chart as required and pop 15-20 goals a year.
- He isn’t gritty enough. He’ll never be the physical force people want him to be, but Paajarvi went to the tough areas this season and scored some goals from there. He made a lot of progress, suspect we need to give Todd Nelson in OKC some credit for that, too.
- Why Born to Run? It’s about speed (Paajarvi’s crazy fast) and it’s about finding a better place than the one you’re leaving, without really knowing anything about what it looks like. I think that’s Paajarvi now. He might end up on a scoring, a checking line, or in Columbus. But he’s in a better place.
The Lowdown with Lowetide is back on the air at 10 this morning (Edmonton time) on Team 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Darcy (Woodguy) McLeod will talk about the Oilers, Paajarvi and MacT’s impact on the team.
- Mark Pavelich from MFC, we’ll talk about MFC 37 on Friday.
- Jeff Krushell from Krush Sports Performance to talk Oilers, MLB and more.
- Kent Simpson, Oil Kings color commentator will give us some insight into the Oil Kings-Winterhawk series.
I’ll also replay portions of Jason Gregor’s interview with Stu MacGregor this morning, and we’ll discuss that top 7 as it pertains to the Oilers. You can reach me on twitter at Lowetide_, 101260 via text message and of course I read the comments in this blog during the show. Hope you can tune in!