Any hope of an NHL return for Magnus Paajarvi has been put on hold, as the winger has signed a two-year contract with HC Lokomotiv of the KHL. Paajarvi played last season for the Ottawa Senators, but became an unrestricted free agent when his one-year deal expired.
Paajarvi, 28, was the tenth overall pick in 2009 by the Edmonton Oilers. Despite showing off his impressive offensive skill early on, scoring 15 goals and 34 points as a rookie, the Swedish forward struggled with consistency and effort throughout his NHL career. After failing to catch on with the Oilers he ended up in the St. Louis Blues organization, where he was used as a depth forward bouncing between the NHL and AHL for several years. Ottawa was actually the first chance he had to be a regular again, but even there he only contributed 19 points in 80 games last season.
It’s hard to rule out a return to the NHL completely, but the fact that Paajarvi signed for two seasons will certainly make it difficult. He’ll be 30 by the time he becomes a free agent again and probably too old to make any real improvements in his overall game. Unfortunately this may be the end of the NHL story for another high Edmonton draft pick.