It was an easy decision for Magnus Paajarvi.
Following a 35-game audition last season, the 27-year-old, soon to be UFA signed a one-year extension with the Senators a month prior to free agency opening.
"I just felt so good about everything and everyone there really took care of me," said Paajarvi. "I felt like I had a good role already with Ottawa so for me to go to the open market and push for more money or whatever, I honestly didn't see a better fit for me."
"And I didn't want to throw away what Ottawa did for me either."
Paajarvi started last year with St. Louis but had been yo-yoing between the NHL and AHL for the bulk of his 5 seasons with the Blues. After a numbers game in St. Louis caused Paajarvi to be placed on waivers, he was quickly snatched up by the Senators.
"I was in a bit of a funk in St. Louis to start the year so coming to Ottawa was really a fresh start for me," he said. "Everybody really took me in and made the transition very easy for me."
Where Paajarvi struggled to find a role with the Blues, he was given ample opportunities in Ottawa. He became a fixture on the penalty kill and was used up and down the Sens' forward lines as the season wound down.
"I had a good dialogue with the coaches when I arrived. I don't only want to play on the penalty kill and defend, I want to score too," recalled Paajarvi. "I want to play with the top lines and I think it's wrong if I didn't want to do that. My role was to play a bit everywhere and I think that's where I can really help the team."
Paajarvi's solid play to finish the season also caught the attention of the Swedish National Team and he was added to their roster for the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark where they would ultimately take home the Gold Medal.
"That was an absolute blast. It was 7 or 8 years ago that I last played at the World Championship so I was excited to get the opportunity again," Paajarvi said. "The arena was just 20 minutes from my hometown so it made it extra special because I had all my family and friends there."
A successful stint at the World Championships, where he chipped in with 3 goals in 10 games, wasn't the only reminder of home for Paajarvi last season. After joining the Senators in January, he was reunited with fellow Swedes Erik Karlsson and Fredrik Claesson which is something he said made him feel more comfortable in his new surroundings.
"I knew Erik and Freddy from before so that helped a lot," said Paajarvi. "But it was very safe to say that I enjoyed my time in Ottawa last season."
Some of those fun interactions even made it online for fans to enjoy such as the time Paajarvi asked Claesson for a lift home from Canadian Tire Centre only to stumble onto an absolute trash heap on the passenger side of Claesson's ride.
"Why do you think I took an Instagram video of it? That was absolutely hilarious," he joked. "I didn't ask him if I could do it and we didn't set anything up before. That was 100% real."
Paajarvi is now hoping to replicate some of those good times away from the rink on the ice next season with the Senators. He's convinced they have the skill in the locker room to reverse their fortunes and is looking forward to being part of the solution in Ottawa.
"I feel like it's a great opportunity for me to showcase my skills and build a role in Ottawa so that I can hopefully stay for many years," shared Paajarvi. "That's my plan so now I have to show the team that I can do it."