For weeks people (myself included) have been calling for Paajarvi to be sent to Oklahoma City, especially if he wasn’t going to be getting playing time here. Once it finally happened there were some critics that worried that this might be bad for him. They argued that this could create a bit of a rift between him and the team. Really?
While I felt such worries were ludicrous, Paajarvi’s comments on his demotion should cause all such crazy people to stuff their faces with their feet. I guess it’s possible that he is really upset about things, and only said the right words for appearances sake, but from what I’ve seen and heard from (and about) Paajarvi in the past I firmly believe he meant what he said. His words today show a lot of maturity, and suggest to me that not only will he find his game, but he will be an outstanding player for years to come.
The two quotes that I liked the most as they strike me as honest and smart are: “Sure, it sucks because I want to be here and be a big part of the Oilers” and “I think it’s a good thing that I’m going down and getting an opportunity to play big minutes again.” I would be shocked if he doesn’t find his game quickly and light it up in the AHL just as Omark did before getting injured. I would be even more excited about things if Omark was healthy and the two of them could play together, but no such luck there (at least not yet).
So how long should we expect him to be playing for the Barons? There’s really no way of knowing. My guess is that it will take two things to see him called back up this season. Obviously he will have to find his offence, but I don’t think that will be enough. Likely it will also take some injuries (or trades) to our top nine to get him back up. If he doesn’t find his offence I don’t see him being called up unless there are a large number of significant injuries (like last year), and we really hope that doesn’t happen. I think he’ll find his game quickly, scoring his first goal before Christmas (that’s only two games and one period if you’re wondering).
Now if only they would “demote” Lander and allow the two of them to develop some more chemistry playing big minutes and racking up the points and I’ld be ecstatic!