For whatever reason, Magnus Paajarvi never really fit in with the Edmonton Oilers. Maybe it’s because he brought more than one dimension to the ice when he played and did something aside from fire the puck from a distance as soon as he entered the zone. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s a big-bodied winger that doesn’t mind banging bodies and playing in traffic.
The St. Louis Blues traded a solid asset in David Perron to land Paajarvi, so it’s somewhat surprising that he is just now set to make his regular season debut for the club. The lineup has been working for Ken Hitchcock though, and there’s really no reason to shake up a club that is winning.
St. Louis has cooled off a bit after a hot start and has dropped two of its last three contests, so Hitchcock is shaking things up a bit. Paajarvi seems poised to benefit in a big way if he can stick with his new linemates.
Hitch also said that he really likes Paajarvi’s game right now. Paajarvi is now with Roy and Tarasenko. #stlblues
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) October 20, 2013
Those two have been outstanding for the Blues so far, and there’s a lot of talent to go around on that line. Paajarvi adds a whole new wrinkle to that line’s ability to attack the net, and could provide a net-front presence for Tarasenko and Roy. The former is clearly the trigger man while the latter tends to pass.
Add in a Paajarvi that is playing his bang-and-crash game, and this trio could stick. He has to show the tenacity that made the Blues want to go out and get him in the first place though. Hitchcock spoke to David Staples of the Edmonton Journal during the preseason and discussed what he’d seen from his newest player up to that point:
What we saw in the last 20 games in Edmonton was a high level of tenacity and something you can build on. He hasn’t shown that here. He’s shown at times like he’s overwhelmed, but he’s showing more offensive ability than we thought — ever.
Paajarvi holds his own fate in his hands now, and needs to play a strong string of games with this good line to make the jump from press box to top-nine contributor.