Friday, December 16, 2011
As the Oilers continue to slide, news today that Paajarvi will follow Teubert to Oklahoma where hopefully he will find his confidence playing on one of the best teams in the AHL.
On one hand its hard to argue with Paajarvi going down. Scratched at times and with no goals and three assists in twenty five games, its clear that he needs to play and to get his mojo back.
On the other hand one could argue that it didn't have to come to this. Its quite clear that the Oilers and Tom Renney (like every other team and coach, to be honest) have their pecking order and presently Paajarvi and Omark are down that list of young players.
(Quick aside. Glenn Murray played his junior in Sudbury and boarded with an acquaintance. Great guy by all accounts. Anyways when he was in Boston as a kid the coach was Sutter (Brian iirc) and he didn't like the cut of his jib at all. After one performance that ended badly Sutter is reaming out the team on the bus on way to the airport and inflicts his wrath on Murray, sitting near the front, ranting and raving about how poorly he had played (the Sutters sound like great guys, don't they)
until finally Murray was able to point out that he had, in fact, been a scratch that night.)
I'm not arguing that Hall and Eberle are not the better options up front but for Paajarvi it must be difficult to get placed in a plugger's role after a rookie season that saw him produce 15 goals, a dozen of those at ES, and saw him produce more frequently as his icetime and opportunity increased.
Instead this season he began on a line with Belanger, another guy who has struggled and who is not a big scorer anyways. Its reminiscent of when they had Erik Cole on a line with Brodziak and Moreau and then fans bitched about his lack of production.
Has Paajarvi helped his cause? No, he has looked gunshy at times. But I wonder what the guy thinks when Hall goes down and he gets all of one game in the top six. Meanwhile Gagner gets all of the time in the world to work out of his funk.
Maybe its all part of the plan. Maybe they're pumping Gagner to be traded. Maybe Paajarvi and Omark will be back in the New Year and will be given a better shot.
Personally I'd be running Omark and Paajarvi with Gagner, leave the top six as is (was) and then have Belanger centre the fourth line/key the PK and maybe it will come to that with the season starting to slide.
I've always seen this upcoming number of months, including the summer, as the key time in this process. Remember all of the talk - so many quality wingers! Six of them! - well now we have two pending UFAs and two young Swedes banished to the minors.
All of those folks calling for Hemsky to get dealt (and he hasn't been great, I know), need to remember, good NHL players. Need to keep them. Especially when we're relying on kids to make it big down the road.
Hope Magnus gets back soon and gets his chance.
Posted by Black Dog at 3:05 PM