Magus Paajarvi (Photo by Getty Images)
Let me first say that initially I was 100 percent dead set against Magnus Paajarvi
going to the minors. There was no need for this high pick and high end talent to toil on the buses playing three games in three nights. I truly felt that Paajarvi was too good for that and the demotion served no purpose for him. Well I have now changed my mind and believe that if, and I stress if, the Oilers decide to send Paajarvi to Oklahoma City of the AHL it wouldn't be anywhere near the waste of time that I initially thought it would be.
The final straw for me changing my mind was Saturday night. Magnus Paajarvi
who scored his first NHL goal against Calgary wasn't good enough to play against the Flames this weekend. Instead he was replaced by Darcy Hordichuk
. Now one punch from Hordichuk would do damage to my below average looks and tv career but if you are getting replaced by a tough guy what happens when Taylor Hall
comes back? Now that's tough and seemingly getting tougher for Paajarvi.
Maybe this was somewhat predictable that Paajarvi's spot on the wing would be a difficult one when it came to getting big minutes or at least big opportunity. Hall is your number one left winger or if not him then it's Ryan Smyth
. On the other side it's Jordan Eberle
and Ales Hemsky
. There's also Sam Gagner
and let's not forget Ryan Jones
. The competition is pretty fierce for playing time. The amount you get and the quality of it can depend on circumstances and the individual player.
That's where the second year Swede has had trouble getting any traction on this season. 25 games no goals and 3 assists. On the present roster Ryan Whitney
, Colton Teubert and Darcy Hordichuk
also have yet to score but Whitney has played just 13 games and is still rounding into form. Teubert has only played 10 games. While Hordichuk has provided everything else but offence in the 11 games he's played. The 0 in the 'G' column for them isn't nearly as alarming as the one in Paajarvi's.
Here's where things get a little complicated or maybe not as that depends on which side you sit regarding how Paajarvi has been deployed. He has had one full game in the mix as a top 6 forward and I can also recall one period. Other than that he has been mostly relegated to a bottom 6 role. He hasn't been afforded the same opportunity as Edmonton's other top end players..However that hasn't stopped Ryan Jones
from putting up 9 goals. He did have games with Shawn Horcoff
and Ryan Smyth
but his goals have come from wherever he has been and with whomever his linemates have been. Paajarvi hasn't produced that kind of offence and there is a sentiment that time with talent would lead to goals, points and confidence. Things that were evident in a rookie season when he had 15 goals and 34 points. However if his name wasn't 'Magnus Paajarvi
' and you looked at no goals and two assists would anyone be saying that top 6 forward time should be afforded to him?
It's a scenario that for now could easily be remedied by a trip to the minors. In his last three games Paajarvi has played 29:21. If he heads to the AHL the winger might play that in one game let alone three. That might be a little bit of a stretch but doubling his ice time should be easy. Also he'll get to play in every situation and in every game unlike with Edmonton where Paajarvi has been a healthy scratch 5 times this season. No one could have imagined this but it might be best, right now, for all involved even if Magnus might not be OK to C life in the minors.