Magnus Paajarvi isn’t dancing around the truth. The last couple years have been frustrating for the former top prospect, and he wants to be back in the National Hockey League.
“I want to play every game. You never want to be outside. It’s been frustrating. I’m grinding on,” Paajarvi said before the Wolves lost 2-1 in overtime to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Ryan Sproul’s winner. “I realize I’m still young. I feel like I’ve played up in the NHL a lot and I have proven myself that I can and been doing it well. I just need to find that consistency when I play up there. Hopefully I can get going here in Chicago and get it back.”
Being in the AHL at age 23 probably wasn’t what Paajarvi envisioned. Edmonton made him the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft, and he scored 15 goals and added 19 assists during his 2010-11 rookie season.
Even after two disappointing seasons that were split between Edmonton and the AHL, Paajarvi was still considered a good prospect when he was traded to St. Louis in July 2013. But that promise wasn’t reached last season when he played in 55 games and had only 12 points, and seemed further away this season in only 10 games before clearing waivers and getting loaned Tuesday to the Wolves.
“I didn’t expect it but I could see it happen. I need to play games, that’s what I think and that’s what the Blues thought as well,” Paajarvi said. “My situation – I didn’t really play a whole lot of games. I’m a young guy. I need to play to develop so they made the call to send me on waivers.
“Hopefully I can get my rhythm going and just start playing.”
Now with the Wolves, Paajarvi should get the playing time he needs to get into a rhythm. He’ll be given a chance to get into a comfort zone and maybe regain some confidence that’s wavered along with his playing time, albeit in a league below the NHL.
“It’s kind of a mental thing, but we’re going to try to make him as feel as comfortable as possible,” coach John Anderson said. “Hopefully he plays hard for us and doesn’t stay here long and goes right back up.”
NOTE: Defenseman Brent Sopel missed his seventh straight game with a finger injury. Anderson said he’s day to day.