The left winger’s addition is an interesting development, if only because a plethora of fans bemoaned the Senators passing over him in the 2009 NHL Draft to select defenceman Jared Cowen with the team’s ninth overall selection.
Fortunately, either prospect has amounted to much.
For as much as Jared Cowen has been panned, Paajarvi has failed to live up to the expectations that come with being a top 10 pick.
Although he has put up some strong underlying possession metrics on some good Blues teams, Paajarvi has only averaged 11:25 of ice time across five seasons with the Blues. Since his 2010-11 rookie campaign in which he scored 15 goals and 34 points, the now 26-year old Paajarvi has not produced more than nine goals or 16 points any of his subsequent seven seasons.
So why acquire him?
After Gabriel Dumont was felled with an injury during last night’s game against the Bruins, management might have felt obligated to add another experienced forward who could give the organization the flexibility to allow the team’s prospects to continue to develop in Belleville rather than rush them into games at the parent level.
Or maybe this is an instance where the presence of Paajarvi signals that the organization is close on moving one of the team’s left wingers.
The rumour mill is rife with reports that teams are kicking tires on Mike Hoffman and just last night, Calgary assistant general manager Craig Conroy was in town to get a first-person viewing of the Senators. Bruce Garrioch had recently linked the Flames’ interest to Zack Smith, so maybe there’s a deal in the works that sees one or both of these wingers moved out over the course of the next few weeks or months.
Whatever the case, Paajarvi is only under contract through the remainder of the 2017-18 season and at a pro-rated cost of $800,000, it’s not like he’s an abhorrently expensive addition to the roster.
With the Senators playing out the string and assured of making moves to clear out some of the roster detritus, Paajarvi is a stop-gap option who can step in and take some minutes once one of the left wingers ahead of him on the depth chart is moved out.