Thank You, Columbus

There’s reason to believe that plans were likely changed at
the last minute for the Oilers at the 2016 Draft. They weren’t supposed to be
drafting in the top 3. In fact, the NHL’s new lottery rules made Edmonton the
first team to drop more than a single place in the draft order. They should
have been drafting 4th. Well, technically they did, except Columbus
excused themselves from using their top 3 pick to select a top 3 player. Win,
Edmonton.

The Blue Jackets had the chance to take the player ranked 3rd
in every single scouting service. Puljujarvi was 3rd for
hockeyprospect.com, ISS Hockey, Future Considerations, McKeen’s Hockey, NHL
Central Scouting, TSN’s Craig Button, and TSN’s Bob McKenzie. There was talk of
the big three. In Edmonton we heard maybe it was a big four after Tkachuk’s
performance in the Memorial Cup, but let’s settle on the big three being the least
divisive.

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The Blue Jackets bypassed that completely drafting
Pierre-Luc Dubois third overall, leaving Edmonton the opportunity to draft in
the top three despite losing that very thing in the lottery process.

I can’t say for sure that I know what the Blue Jackets were
thinking except that there were rumblings that Columbus wanted a center. Now,
they still didn’t select a center. Pierre-Luc Dubois is a winger. They just
think, perhaps, that he might be able to play center better than Puljujarvi.
Outside of an organizational need for a thing that Dubois isn’t, I don’t really
have an answer to the question of why the Jackets love the Oilers so much.
Maybe just trying to keep things friendly in hopes Chiarelli opts not to offer
sheet Seth Jones? No idea.

All that matters is that the Oilers won the lottery months
after losing out in it.

As of the mid-season marker, Puljujarvi was the 2nd
highest rated player by NHL Central Scouting. He was ahead of Laine for a long
time. It wasn’t really until Laine exploded in the World Championships that he
cemented himself ahead of Puljujarvi. He’s fast, he’s big, he’s a playmaker,
and he’s a Finn so you know he doesn’t mind the rough stuff. By all accounts, this
kid is a stud.

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Puljujarvi, in addition to playing the last two seasons
against grown men in the Finnish league, starred for Finland at the World under
18 Championships and the World Jr Championships this past season. At the U-18’s
he played 4 games and scored 5-2-7. At the U-20 World Junior Championships he
played 7 games and scored 5-12-17, being named the tournament MVP as its
leading scorer.

For the Oilers, he’s also very importantly a right wing who
shoots right (unlike Yak who is a left-shooting RW). It provides different
looks, different combinations for the coaching staff. It also opens up
management to more potential deals knowing that they will still have at least
one player in a skill forward position that shoots right.

The fact that this young man is so talented is not lost on
the fans and media in Columbus either. Many were aghast to watch their team
willfully deny themselves Puljujarvi’s services. Michael Arace of the Columbus
Dispatch had this to say:

General manager Jarmo Kekalainen said he would take the best
player available, regardless of position. Then, he turned his back on the best
player available and everyone at First Niagara Center knew it. The media on the
risers raised their eyebrows and a vocal crowd keened.

What was this man doing?

Puljujarvi was, by consensus, the best player available to
the Jackets and they did not take him. They didn’t even swing a deal where they
could get some pieces — other picks, anything — by trading down to an area
where Dubois would have still been available. (New Jersey, for example, traded
down one place and picked up a third-round pick; presumably, there was a better
deal than that for Puljujarvi.)

As an Oiler fan, it was I who was conditioned to believe
Management would find a way to blow everything. Apparently this is what it
feels like when you aren’t expecting to have the rug pulled out from under you.
As the author of those quotes would say, there’s nothing I have against
Pierre-Luc Dubois, but I can’t help but think Edmonton was gifted an incredible
player, a superior player.

Seriously, I feel like I’ve watched the kid on the left grow up. I am old now.

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Did that change plans? I think it must have. I was not
expecting the Oilers to go through the Draft without making a trade at all.
They stood pat. That doesn’t mean they still won’t make a deal before Free Agency
formally opens, but they certainly weren’t going to be trading the 4th
when the pick’s value skyrocketed moments before Edmonton went on the clock.

New circumstances, new options to consider. That’s what
happened to the Oilers right before they had to make a critical choice.
Edmonton has Jesse Puljujarvi as a part of their organization today when it was
almost inconceivable 24 hours ago. That’s a huge win.


  • Wintoon

    This year we drafted defensive D men with size. The only problem with that is, unless they can really skate well, they will end up as pylons.

    Would like to have seen the Oilers draft highly mobile D men with some offensive skills. Players like Girard and Fox were available.

  • MacT'scurlyhair

    Chia is still pronouncing Pdiddy’s name wrong. Not that I care, just find it amusing how he pronounces the J. Kinda like… Suck it I will pronounce it the English way lol

  • Thud9

    Could someone explain to me why someone, a Flames fan or anyone not a fan of the Oilers for that matter, take time out of their lives to come on this site an make negative comments towards the oilers or their fans.
    I would like to understand the psychological thought process behind “you like something I don’t, therefore, it’s stupid and I must tell you that it’s stupid”
    Could someone, preferably a person who feels the need to exhibit such behaviour, explain please?

    • RTB

      Oh that’s easy here is a list that will most likely hit on at least 3 points for theses kinds of people.

      They are:

      1. Single/lonley
      2. Have not had sex with some one than a plam sister in well over a year
      3. Was likely dumped by his last girl friend/wofe due to his man love obsession of the any flames player.
      4. VERY likely he has mannequin at home with interchangeable faces of past a current flames hockey players to converse with so he doesn’t feel so so lonely
      5. Has no actual friends but probably thinks and counts anyone who responds to a post of his as a friend.
      5. His Greatest accomplishment is life was attending a flames game 2 yrs ago
      6. Has a grade school mentality that he is unable to grow out of.
      7. Has a Socially underdeveolped personality that can only respond to other adult with insults and your mama jokes, this make him feel superior and smrt

  • Petrolero

    Why did kerkalainen do what he did? The answer is simple. His subconscious was still giving him nightmares for how he helped mactavish bring nikitin here. The guy just needed to unburden himself of guilt. And so he gifted us puljujarvi.

    Word is he slept like baby last night.

  • Marcellus Wallace

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is CBJ’s cap issues and how it may have affected their decision. Jones will eat up every cent they have available and then some so choosing a player that will go back to junior next year may have had something to do with it.

  • OilCan2

    Jesse is going to look great on a line with McDavid & the Drake. They both have the wheels to keep up to McDavid. Jesse, with his size and speed will be a force. When I watched the highlight reel of his last season I thought ” gosh he is so much bigger and faster than those other juniors!” Oops; make that the Finnish Pro League against grown Vikings. the Drake has the wheels and the hands and the gritty edge.

    Hall, Drai & Yak.

    Pouliot, RNH & Ebs.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    There were a few guys that were talking about Chychrun should have been Edmontons pick before the draft. I think he is a good player but apparently Gms around the league did not see him as that high of a choice.
    When I heard Columbus say ” from the Screaming Eagles” I literally said ” holy fu?k” out loud.
    What great fortune that was. If it wasn’t him then we would have still got a great player in Dubios. I just don’t think he would have the effect on the Oilers that Puljujarvi will .

    • madjam

      Chychrun had one bad game against the U.S . and his stock fell a lot . That fateful game he got severely schooled by C.Keller of the U.S.team . U.S.A. , I believe beat Canada 7-1 that game , and Keller had about 5 points . Ironic , Arizona got both players first round in retrospect .

  • If the Jackets and their professional scouting staff had Dubois as the BPA then that is who they should have picked…. Dubois is a swiss army knife forward, plays all positions and is not exactly a ham sandwich. Furthermore, who in central scouting and the rest of the hordes that post these lists is more connected in Finland than Jarmo K?

    Columbus had integrity and stuck to their beliefs, thus deviating from popular opinion and central scouting, good for them and their organization.
    If a teams decisions are bound by popular opinion and a third party list… why have a scouting staff, save the cash and buy a few lists, get a grade 9 student to cross reference them while having beers in the suite.

    The Oilers have a popular opinion pick on their roster…. how is that working out? He traded yet? Did they get more than a dead dogs carcass for him?

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      How do you know how connected he is?

      He wanted a Centre to replace the dumb move of hiring Torts and trading Johansen. He might not be the smartest GM in the room.

  • Mitch92

    As a former Toronto Maple Leaf fan who really did not want the Leafs to draft Auston Matthews I have decided to throw all my support toward the Oilers seeing as they drafted both the players who I wanted the Leafs to draft the past two seasons. First off, anyone questioning the addition of Jesse Puljujarvi should understand one thing. His biggest weakness is his limited grasp of the English language. Fortunately he can continue to learn the language and it does little to hurt his on ice performance. If Todd McLellan is wise he will line Puljujarvi up with McDavid and never look back. I predict Puljujarvi will win the Calder and make Panarin’s point total look ordinary. They could develop into the greatest one, two punch since St.Louis/Stamkos.

    Now come on Chiarelli, be bold and get these guys some defense!

  • Deke Rivers

    Will you guys please stop blaming MacT, Lowe, Howson, Quinn, Sather, or whoever else didn’t pull off a miracle trade over the past 37 years. Every team has had a management group that has underperformed. Flames, Canucks, Leafs, Sens, etc. So don’t think we’re the only ones.
    Chiarelli is a highly qualified manager, and no one in his position will be influenced by MacT, Lowe, Howson or whoever. MacT did make some good choices, squeezed performances out of his player and quite frankly knows more about hockey than most of us, he does have a value but Chiarelli won’t rely on any one individual.

    Stop blaming any decision by the Oilers you don’t agree with on MacT, Lowe, or others.

  • madjam

    It might just be possible Chia was hired because he could work well with MacT. and Howson . If Nicholson and Katz wanted that type of GM , then that is up to them . Not saying that is the case , but it visually seems to trend that way . Chia seems to have a healthy respect for the two of them , and maybe we should to , seeing as they are still an integral part of team structure . If they were so bad they would have been removed and replaced by now , but that is obviously not the case . Chia the new voice .

  • camdog

    Columbus was heavily trying to trade down, but only under the belief that they would still get Dubois. There were no biters.

    There was chatter over the past month about Finns being hard on Finns. Columbus going off the board wasn’t a surprise to those that were listening to the signs, however most hockey people were in disbelief to them actually going off the board, because most scouts considered that to be a bit ridiculous.

    • Spiel

      It really did seem like everyone who was trying to trade up wanted Dubois – including Columbus. If they thought they could trade down and still get Dubois, Columbus would have. They knew that whoever traded up to 3 wanted Dubois – so they kept the pick.
      It was an off the board pick and probably not a good managing of assets, but I think you need to respect Columbus’ staff for sticking to their convictions on this pick. Part of me wonders what they saw in JP to shy away and or if this was simply drafting for positional need.

  • camdog

    Right now teams are looking at free agency to acquire offensive talent. Once the bloated contracts are signed teams that missed out on Stamkos and company will be looking for offensive players to fill the void. A few d-men should break loose at this time. This would be the time for PC to make a trade. Tough to trade good offensive players at the draft when there are some really good players that are available as UFA’s.