Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I'll be the first to admit that I have high hopes for the Oilers #91, he's big, fast, has a decent shot, and can play in all three zones. Here's the catch, after acquiring Ryan Smyth the Oilers left side because rather cluttered. Top 6 icetime for Paajarvi became unlikely. So you have a player that ended the year on a good note suddenly penciled into the bottom 6.
After 5 games with fellow countryman Linus Omark opposite of him, Omark became a HS and eventually was sent to OKC. Apparently the 2nd PP unit's early season failures were pinned on the Swedes as Paajarvi has not had a regular PP shift since game #8 of the season and Omark got the dreaded news that he was OKC bound.
Paajarvi has been a healthy scratch 4 times this season, played less than 10 minutes in 5 of his last 12 games, and after what I'd consider a decent showing by him last night in the top 6, he has once again been relegated to the 3rd line with Eric Belanger. Paajarvi's confidence with the puck looks non existent, his body language comes across as someone that is defeated, things are looking grave for him right now.
There has to come a point where the coaching and management of this team starts putting this players development front and center. If he is going to struggle on the 3rd and 4th line and get no PP time, then the best place for him is in Oklahoma City under the tutelage of coach Todd Nelson. With Teemu Hartikainen out with a shoulder injury, that should mean even more potential ice for Paajarvi.
Paajarvi is going to have to work his way out of his slump whether it's on the 1st or 4th line, but being a HS and playing 8 minutes or less a night is hardly the best way to do that. Playing against inferior players, Paajarvi should be able to get his game going, and as long as he doesn't start developing bad habits down there, it could only help his game. Many prospects have had to go through the AHL to get to the big show and it paid dividends for them. Paajarvi might be the next in a long line of players that used the AHL to prepare them for the NHL game.
Whatever the case, time is a wasting. The last thing that we need is to sit a recent high pick in the PB and waste what should be a solid complimentary player that can put up some offense and turn him into a mess of a player permanently.