Born April 12, 1991 (age 20) in Norrköping, Sweden
Left wing for the Edmonton Oilers
(Note that I’m just going to type Paajarvi and not use the umlauted as.) I’d just recently seen a photo of this man and deduced that I needed to find out his story. He was born of a retired hockey player father and formally uses his hyphenated last name in honor of his Finnish maternal grandfather. However, he uses just Paajarvi on his jerseys due to space. Maybe because of dad’s goading, Paajarvi began playing hockey when he was just six years old. In 2007, he followed his older brother Bjorn to the Timra IK team: big bro played on the senior squad and he on the junior. That didn’t last long, though–he was playing on the Elitserien level at the age of 16. He went tenth overall in 2009 to Edmonton and had one more year in Sweden before coming over to North America. 2010 saw his NHL debut, signing a three-year entry-level contract with the Oilers.
This photo celebrates Paajarvi’s first hat trick, done during a preseason game last season against Tampa Bay. He’s great right out of the gate! He also had his first pro regular-season game and pro regular-season goal against Calgary, Edmonton’s big rival. His rookie campaign finished with 80 games played, 15 goals, 19 assists and 16 penalty minutes. However, he hit a bit of a sophomore slump for this season, registering just 3 points in 25 games and then sitting out six more. He went down to Edmonton’s AHL team in Oklahoma City for a little while in December but has returned and is working to improve. Seeing as he had such a great rookie season, he will improve! He just needs time.