Paajarvi making most of Oilers ice time

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:43 AM ET

ST. LOUIS — It's an opportunity Magnus Paajarvi is relishing.

While a number of his teammates have succumbed to injury this season, Paajarvi is fortunate to have remained relatively healthy throughout the year.

And as one of the few left standing, the Edmonton Oilers rookie is getting more ice time than envisioned at the start of the season.

"I want to play as much as possible," Paajarvi said. "This is great for me to get this opportunity. It's unfortunate, you never want to see anyone get hurt, but it's part of the game.

"When you get an opportunity, you have to try and make the most of it and I'm learning a lot, getting a chance to play a lot more than maybe I would have if everyone were still in the lineup."

With seven forwards currently injured, which includes Taylor Hall, Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff and Sam Gagner, the Oilers offensive options are limited heading down the stretch of the season. The team is simply trying to survive the rest of the year, take their draft pick and move on.

For Paajarvi, however, the last nine games of the year provide an opportunity to showcase his skills and his developing chemistry with countryman Linus Omark. The two have provided offensive flair where there's so little of it to be found.

"I've been playing with Linus for a while and I've gotten to know him very well," said Paajarvi. "I think he compliments everyone. He's a hard worker and gives us great passes. We were able to create chances, but unfortunately we were not able to score on Tuesday and that's what we needed to do.

"That's why we didn't get the two points, we have to be more effective."

Omark has proved especially troublesome for opponents in the offensive end. His ability to create offense seemingly out of nothing and spot teammates in scoring positions is what's spurring the team along in this time of need.

"When I'm out there with Linus, I have to get open and score goals," Paajarvi said. "We have to trust each other when we're out there. I can skate with the puck and he can hold the puck, so I have to work hard to get open. We're playing with a centreman (Liam Reddox) who can do a lot too. We have to trust each other.

"It didn't work out Tuesday, but I think overall, it's worked out well with Linus."

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

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