Oilers give Paajarvi another shot

Oilers forward Magnus Paajarvi during the club's skills competition at Rexall Place in Edmonton,...

Oilers forward Magnus Paajarvi during the club's skills competition at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Jan. 14, 2012. (IAN KUCERAK/QMI Agency)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:06 PM ET

DETROIT - Magnus Paajarvi got another opportunity to make a better impression.

The winger was back in the lineup for the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings, recalled the day before to take Ryan Nugent-Hopkins spot on the roster.

Paajarvi, 20, started the season with the Oilers but has twice been sent down to play with the Oklahoma City Barons to look for his game.

ďIím glad to be back here and I just want to make an impact and be a lot better than Iíve been,Ē Paajarvi said prior to the contest. ďI want to show myself and others that I can play good hockey. Iíve done it before, and I really want to be better.Ē

To say Paajarvi has struggled with the Oilers this season would be a mild understatement. The Swedish sophomore had just four assists in 38 games heading into the encounter against the Red Wings. He had 15 goals and 19 assists in his rookie season.

Wednesday, Paajarvi was moved up to the Oilers second line to play with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky. He also got some time on the power play as the Oilers tried to get him jump-started.

ďI want to play good hockey, do good things and pay attention to the details,Ē Paajarvi said. ďI think Iíve done that at times when Iíve been up here, but I havenít really got the production that Iíve wanted to. Itís been disappointing that way, but itís not going to work out for you every time in your whole life.

ďYou canít get too down about it, you just have to try to keep working and be better. Thatís the main thing to do, is not to get down on yourself and believe in yourself and thatís what Iím doing now.Ē

Due to his struggles the Oilers decided to send Paajarvi down to their AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City for some seasoning.

He was briefly called up for a stretch in January, but sent back down to play with the Barons during the NHL All-Star break where he remained until getting the ticket to Detroit.

ďHeíll play a top-six role,Ē said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. ďI like his speed, I want him to go hard to the net. I want him to shoot off the rush. I want him to be a responsible player without the puck both defensively and offensively, get himself into a position to help the offence and defensively, use that same speed to make sure, at the very least, we have even numbers in our own end.Ē

Paajarvi was getting top-six minutes in Oklahoma City, where he had a goal and nine assists in 14 games.

ďI think Iíve been playing well down there although there are some games that I havenít played well,Ē Paajarvi said. ďOverall, itís been good, but the team is going really well which is good. When youíre winning a lot of games, it makes it easier.

ďIím getting time on the power play and Iím trying to build on that. Iíve been able to get a couple of points on the power play and things like that makes your confidence grow.Ē

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNdvandiest


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