Home > Edmonton Oilers, Training Camp > Oilers Training Camp Starts And I’ve Got Paajarvi Fever

Oilers Training Camp Starts And I’ve Got Paajarvi Fever

September 17, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Can you believe that training camp is finally upon us? The Oilers last laced up the skates more than five months ago when they wrapped up their season on April 11 with their 47th loss, a 7-2 beating at the hands of the Ducks. Considering that the 2009/10 Oilers finished 33 points out of the playoffs and 17 points behind the second worst team in the western Conference I can’t even remember the last time they played a game that actually matter for anything. I assume it was sometime in January.

But last season is in the past and I for one am ready for a new one to start. I certainly don’t expect the Oilers to make the playoffs this season but I’m excited for the new season all the same. Barring another 500 man games lost to injury I don’t think that this years incarnation of the Oilers will be as bad as last years club and that alone should be reason for excitement. That the Oilers have multiple young potential stars in camp this year only helps to make fans like myself even more excited.

If I was to guess I’d say that Hall is the guy most fans want to get a look at, but not me. Of course I’m interested to see Hall. He was of course the first overall selection in last years draft so what hockey fan wouldn’t be interested to see him play? Maybe I’m suffering from Taylor Hall overload after listening and reading about the kid for four solid months leading up to the draft, but whatever the reason he’s just not the guy I’m going to watch. For my money Paajarvi is the guy to see.

Why do I want to see Paajarvi? Well it could be that he’s a little more mysterious than Eberle and Hall – the other two of the Oilers big three rookies. Unlike Hall and Eberle, who I’ve seen play at least ten games on television (I’ve also seen Eberle live a couple of times), I’ve only seen Paajarvi play a few games in the World Juniors and a couple more at the World Championships this year. In both tournaments he put up great numbers. At the World Juniors he scored 3-7-10 in six games. Better still Paajarvi averaged a point per game (5-4-9) against men at the World Championships and from what I saw he never looked out of place. He was even named to the tournament all star team; quite the accomplishment for a 19 year old.

On Tuesday Derek Zona posted a story on the Copper and Blue that looked at how Paajarvi’s numbers compare to NHL bound SEL players of the past. It’s fantastic stuff if you like numbers. If you don’t like numbers I’ll give the abbreviated version. Paajarvi’s numbers are very good; not as good as Naslund or the Sedin’s but better than Forsberg and Sundin. I was excited to see what Paajarvi could do before I read that story and seeing the comparable players certainly didn’t dampen my enthusiasm one bit. Based on the numbers – and at this point that’s really all I’ve have – it looks like this kid can play.

Hall is probably the consensus choice for the Oilers rookie most likely to light it up in his rookie year. But Paajarvi has spent the past two seasons playing against some excellent competition in the SEL and has fared well for a player his age. He was the youngest player to ever play for Sweden at the World Juniors. This year he played for Sweden at both the World Juniors and the World Championships, no other Swede has ever done that. Everything with Paajarvi points to good. I can’t wait to see him live.

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