Monday, September 22, 2014

Magnus Paajarvi Autograph Card

Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson remains an enigma for many fans and general managers, but it's easy to see why he was drafted 10th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2009: at barely 23 years of age, the 6'3'', 210-pound rocket has impressed at every single level he has played at, usually at a much younger age than all of his peers; he made Team Sweden's Under-16 team at just 14, enabling him to earn three World Juniors medals (silver in 2008 and 2009, bronze in 2010), and two World Championship medals (bronze in an incredible 2010 season, silver in 2011). He was the youngest Swede ever to make the team, then medal at the World Juniors.

And it's not like he was a passenger on either the Junior or Men's teams: he has 41 points (on 16 goals and 25 assists) in 30 games in Juniors, and 7 goals, 9 assists and 16 points in 18 games with the adult teams, making the 2010 Worlds All-Star team in the process.

And that's not counting Sweden's win at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka U-18 tournament. In North America, the Oilers didn't have enough players of his level on the team for him to shine, and their AHL affiliate wasn't much better, though he did accumulate 11 goals, 24 assists and 45 points in 72 games over two seasons with the Oklahoma City Barons.

He has improved his defensive play, and because of that may become relegated to third-line duties, which really shouldn't be his spot, because putting him in a long-term defensive capacity may lead him to grow tired of not using his skills and eventually to some laziness. He has all-world speed, all-world hands, and all-world moves; he loves making spectacular plays; he has size and back-checks - he belongs at least on a second line, and second-unit powerplay.

As a power forward, I expect him to enter the 20-to-25-goal stage of his career this season, and to be a threat for 35-to-40 from ages 26 to 31. Ironically, what hurt him in Edmonton - lack of able bodies to surround him - is no longer the case with the St. Louis Blues, where the team's depth may force the them to start him with less playing time than he'd require.

And so this may have been my favourite pull from Upper Deck's 2013-14 Edmonton Oilers Collection (#FI-MP of the Franchise Ink sub-set), featuring a blue-sharpied autograph (with his Oilers jersey number - 91 - tagged at the end) on a sticker:

It therefore checks #91 off my Oilers Numbers Project, and makes me 28-for-78 in collecting autographed cards of ''used'' Edmonton numbers.

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