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Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson might not be ready for NHL just yet

The Edmonton Oilers are poised for a fresh start this season. After all, there’s only one way to go from where there are now and that’s up. They currently have the top pick in this season’s draft -- unless they choose to trade it away -- and should be set to draft Taylor Hall. He’ll be able to step in and make an instant difference, although the Oilers will still be deep in a rebuilding process and are far from being just “one player away”.

So let’s not forget last season’s first round draft pick by the Oilers, the raw but extremely talented Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson.

While gearing up for last year’s draft, MPS had a reputation as a player with incredible upside but one who is still more interested with just scoring goals and every other part of hockey bores him to tears. After another year of playing in Sweden and then being named to Sweden’s World Championships team, it appears that those reports still hold true


From David Staples of the Edmonton Journal:

Right now he tends to skate in wide circles in his own zone, arcing and swooping about, hungry for a breakout pass. He doesn’t appear lazy, just somewhat clueless. Along the boards, he’s tough enough, but not effective, often pushed off the puck. He’s got to get stronger, he’s got to start making quick stops and starts in his own zone, he’s got to stop following the puck so much, and he’s got to start covering his man adequately.

In his biggest game of the tournament, Sweden’s semi-final shoot-out loss to the Czechs, his coach had enough faith in the kid to send him out for a regular shift in over-time. Twice, though, Paajarvi was drawn to the puck in his own zone, and forgot to cover the man, his man, coming in late through the backdoor. Both times the Czechs had glorious chances to score, one of those shots coming from Jaromir Jagr, who even at his advanced age must not be left uncovered in the slot area, as any veteran player would know.

From everything I’ve read, and the times I’ve been able to watch him play, MPS has been one of the most frustrating hockey players to follow. He has all the talent you could possibly want from a hockey player in the offensive zone, but he never truly comes alive until the puck is on his stick.

He’s one of those guys that just glides around on the ice, waiting for the puck to come to him so can explode down the ice in the other direction and do what he does best.

But in the NHL, that will never fly. Despite how much more offensive-minded the league has become in recent years, a player that can’t pull his own weight defensively will get the quick hook, no matter how talented they might be with the puck.

MPS is certainly talented enough to make this Oilers team out of training camp, but he needs time to further refine his game. Now, he could always go back to Sweded but more likely the best option would be for him to start the season in the AHL where the Oilers can directly oversee his development.