Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson is the best pure prospect in the Edmonton Oilers system. He plays against high-level opposition in the Elitserien. He was one of the best skaters in his draft class; one scout told The Hockey News, "With his ability to get around forwards and the way the game is called now, he’ll draw two minor penalties a game with his outside speed."
His offensive numbers weren’t great in his draft year, a fairly common occurrence for players in Europe. Another scout told THN, "If he were playing junior, maybe he’d have 40 or 50 goals. But he’s playing against men." Fortunately, his numbers have improved dramatically this season.
He has size (6’1", 198lbs), he has skill, and he plays a position (LW) where the Oilers could use an infusion of talent.
Like Jordan Eberle, the next best prospect in the system, Paajarvi-Svensson has World Junior credentials; he’s represented Sweden on three occasions at the U20 championship, and was a star in his draft year, scoring seven points in six games and adding a plus-6 rating. But it’s Paajarvi-Svensson’s work in Europe that has really been eye-catching.
This season, Paajarvi-Svensson has played 43 games, scoring 12 goals and adding 15 assists for 27 points. Using Desjardins' league translations, that projects to an 18-goal, 40-point season. But it also stacks up well against a player which Central Scouting Director E.J. McGuire compared Paajarvi-Svensson to: Peter Forsberg. Here are Paajarvi-Svensson and Forsberg, both one year after being drafted:
|Player||GP||G||A||PTS||% of Team Offence|
Naturally, that isn't to say that Paajarvi-Svensson is going to turn into Peter Forsberg. Forsberg's draft-year totals were better than those of Paajarvi-Svensson, and projection nearly two decades later is, at best, inexact. It does, however, say very good things about the young Swede's potential.
There's a dose of 'saw him good' in here too; I've liked what I've seen from Paajarvi. He skates very well, his offensive skills are obvious, and despite some defensive shortcomings he looks for all the world like a player who is going to turn into a difference maker. Everything the scouts say, his draft position, the projection (especially relative to his age) all point to the fact that this guy is going to be a player. He's also keeping up with the other forwards taken in the top-10 in last year's draft:
*playing in NHL
Johan Barrander had a great look at MPS for Copper & Blue in December, one which I highly recommend reading. Paajarvi's going to be a player. The only question is when we'll see him in North America.