Ken Hitchcock doesn't seem to know what to make of Magnus Paajarvi. In an interview with the Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis head coach made plenty of contradicting statements in regards to the forward. When asked about Paajarvi's future, Hitchcock answered almost in riddles.
Hitchcock said Paajarvi was the "opposite" of what the Blues expected when they traded for him. This statement sounds negative, but it meant that Paajarvi has been more impressive offensively than the Blues expected. Hitchcock followed this up with a negative statement and he then removed Paajarvi out of the forward mix during practice.
Here's the puzzling statement from Hitchcock:
...his ability to make plays on the rush, his abilities to make plays on the cycle, his offensive instincts were way better than what we thought they were. What we saw in the last 20 games in Edmonton was a high level of tenacity and something you can build on. He hasn't shown that here. He's shown at times like he's overwhelmed, but he's showing more offensive ability than we thought ... ever.
Hitchcock is stating Paajarvi has more offensive ability than they believed and he's got great offensive instincts, but he's also saying there's not enough tenacity and he appears to be overwhelmed. Which is it? Is Paajarvi impressing or disappointing? Is he really doing both at the same time?
Today at practice was the first time we saw the player that we traded for. Today when it got down to crunch time and he could see numbers, there's 15 forwards here ... he went at it. He was the guy we thought we traded for today.
In summary, it sounds like Hitchcock is happy to be seeing the player with worse instincts and worse offensive skills. Either someone botched these quotes or Hitchcock isn't sure what to think quite yet.
Magnus is a great passer and defensive player. It took him awhile to fit in here in Edmonton he is a kid all alone in the big city and I think it scares him. Once he gets comfortable and it will take some time he will impress with his offense and defence is is always amazingly good defensivley. Don't expect him to run anyone but his speed and passing abilities are tremendous. He was crushed being traded from Edmonton, totally crushed it was his FIRST NHL team and he lost his best bud "Lander". It was like the snobby kids wouldn't play with him in Edmonton and he was rushed out of town. He is not going to replace Peron right away but give that kid a chance, he has so much going for him. Once he gains the confidence there he will be an awesome player for years to come.
@FrozenNotes the way I read it, he's great in practice, but cant transfer that into a game situation.
@FrozenNotes Puzzling indeed
@DougAndPattiDory Appreciate the insight. I think it'll take time for him to adjust, but I have high hopes for him here in St. Louis. Thanks for sharing your views!
@JDandTurkelton That's a fair assessment.