Most likely to Succeed is our newest series which points out one player from every team and explains why that player is poised to increase their point totals. While some teams may have more than one player likely to breakout and some none, we will focus on the ones who actually should improve with a full healthy season. File this article under a sleeper-type but sleepers would not be called that if people saw them coming.
You are probably expecting to see the name Taylor Hall. After all, he was the first overall pick this year, and the hype surrounding him is massive. The three players that compare most closely in that they made the early jump from Junior to the NHL are Steven Stamkos, John Tavares and Matt Duchene. In their rookie campaigns, these three guys recorded 46, 54, and 55 points respectively. As on Oilers fan, I will be happy if he can match these guys with a 50 point season, but as a fantasy owner, 50 points is not going to be good enough value for where you are probably going to have to draft Hall given the hype surrounding him. However, there is another Oilers rookie who could also put up 50 points, and you probably can’t even spell his name: Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson.
Here is the reason I think MPS will match Hall’s production in 2010-11.
He was the second-rated European player at the 2009 draft and easily could have gone in the top 5. The pedigree is there. That is not a question about that. What separates MPS from these other guys who jumped straight from Junior to the NHL is his professional experience. As we have seen with Stamkos, year one is usually an adjustment year, while year 2 is the jump to superstardom. I think we will the same with Tavares this year, and maybe Duchene. MPS, on the other hand, already has 134 professional games under his belt in the Swedish Elite League. Last season, he notched 29 points in 49 games, good for third best on his team. To put the quality of that league in perspective, Peter Forsberg, who has split time between the SEL and NHL over the last few seasons, only scores about 20% more points on a per game basis in the SEL. It is a high quality league and the competition is much higher than any of the CHL leagues. MPS has been playing in this league against grown men since he was 16, and with good results.
In the long-term, do I think MPS will be a better player than Hall? No, I don’t, but that isn’t the point of this article. This is to help you find value in your fantasy league for next season, and I believe MPS provides just that.