Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

WWYDW: Jesse Puljujarvi and Anton Lander

One of the things that Peter Chiarelli has taken care of in his time as the Edmonton Oilers’ general manager is available depth on the farm. Forward, defence, goaltending; all positions have solid minor-league players just waiting for their chance to impress.

In this week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday, we ask whether two of those players have done enough to earn another shot in the majors.

Jesse Puljujarvi spent the early part of the season with the Oilers, playing 28 games and recording one goal and eight points overall. He was sent down after long stretches in the press box, and even when dressed didn’t play a lot, topping the 10 minute mark just twice in his final nine games in Edmonton.

Since then, he’s played 22 games for the Bakersfield Condors, scoring nine times and picking up 20 points total.

In his February 14 availability, Chiarelli mentioned how impressed he’d been with the 2016 fourth overall pick during a recent visit to California:

He’s getting a lot of touches and you can see his confidence is coming back. The defensive side of the game is getting better. He’s made a lot of progress down there, he’s playing a lot of minutes. He’s going to be in the [recall] conversation come the deadline. He’s a dangerous player down there; he’s far and above the most dangerous player I’ve seen in both the games down there. I was happy with what I saw.

The drawbacks to recalling Puljujarvi basically come down to age. He plays a mature game for an 18-year-old but is understandably not a perfectly well-rounded forward at this point in his development. What he brings is size, speed, a right shot and perhaps more offensive confidence than he had when he left Edmonton.

Anton Lander, meanwhile, is arguably the best player in the AHL.

Prior to being assigned to Bakersfield, he played 22 games for the Oilers, scoring one goal and picking up four points in total. He was handed a steady diet of defensive zone starts, some time on the PK and precious little ice-time at 5-on-5, averaging less than eight minutes per game at even-strength.

Thus, his offensive totals are better than they appear. He performed competently on the penalty kill. He won 56 percent of his draws overall and 58 percent of his even-strength faceoffs.

Since being sent down he’s picked up 21 goals and 42 points in just 25 games. In the minors he’s an elite two-way centre, the Patrice Bergeron of the AHL, and a character player besides. He’s not fast nor overly big, but he’d bring defensive ability, intelligence and just maybe a little more offence than expected to a regular job with the Oilers.

That brings us back to our question: If you ran the Oilers, would you bring one or both of these forwards up to the big club? And if you did, where would you play them?


  • Big Nuggets

    with the state of our pk and faceoff abilities i gotta give it to Lander here. The AHL is a grrat development league so let Puljarvi develop and play out the A playoffs, if bakersfield makes them.

  • Oil9744

    Maybe Puljujarvi, Centre spots are filled with DD in the line up now, The only spot Puljuarvi might fit is 3rd line winger, There are 3 spots on RW taken already with Draisaital, Ebs, Kassian, but that 3rd line spot could be up for grabs even for the playoffs, I would say it’s between Puljujarvi and Slepyshev

  • oilerjed

    Personally I would prefer to see Lander at 3LW than Cagiulla or Pouliot. Lander-Desharnais-Kassian would be a very useful line in the Playoffs. Lots of players who can put in time on the Pk and this line could play a huge defensive role as well. Who knows maybe DD can somehow pull a Kruger and get some offense out of Anton as well??

  • Bubba Train

    David Deshairna (sorry bout spelling) does not penalty kill, win face offs, board battles or play defensively. Will he score above Landers pace all things (like wingers) being equal?

    What were Oilers thinking?

    • S cottV

      I agree on Desharnais – but not so much re faceoffs, but – more on being a 5ft 7in C, particularly in the Western Conference. There must be a reason for Desharnais falling out of favor in Montreal and it probably has to do with defensive lapses. His first game was ok, but the second – not so much. Far from sold on him, as the right move at 3c.

      I like Lander in the mix for his experience and reliability. I also think he is capable to produce timely secondary scoring in a pinch. More so – than he has shown. You cant completely ignore his points production in the AHL.

      I would have preferred a power rw rental at the deadline, but failing that – I would also like to see Puljujarvi back in the mix. I still firmly believe that Lucic – Nuge – Eberle isn’t gonna cut it enough and worse – that Desharnais isnt gonna be able to drive the 3rd enough either. The problem will be not quite enough pucks in the right net and too many pucks in the wrong net on both line rotation counts.

      If – the above proves to be correct, then Drai has to drop into the 2c role, opening up a top 6 rw spot for Puljujarvi.

      Despite a recent bit of probable temp improvement – I really think that Pouliot Nuge Eberle are best slotted in 3rd rotation, where they can hopefully best 3rd line matched opponents.

  • Wintoon

    I would bring Lander up and play him on the third line. He has a basket of skills that could be very valuable in the playoffs. JP has not yet ‘owned’ the AHL. He has played well but I would like to see him mature a bit more so that when he does come up to the NHL he is there to stay.

  • TKB2677

    Lander has enough skill to be a decent bottom 6 forward in the NHL that can kill penalties, win draws and chip in offensively. The fact that he lights it up in the AHL proves he should have enough offense to score as a bottom 6 guy. At the AHL level he’s playing against younger guys that aren’t as experienced. He’s playing against way more guys that are at his level of skating. He’s playing young goalies learning to be a pro, he’s playing against dmen learning to play pro defense. So he exploits that. When he comes up to the NHL, the majority of the dmen know what to do. The goalies are way better, the players are way better and the majority of players are better skaters than him. The puck that is laying in the crease ready to be put in isn’t there in the NHL because the dman gets it faster. So he doesn’t score at all at the NHL level.
    If Lander was even an average skater he’d be in the NHL maybe centering the 3rd line for the Oilers right now. But he’s below average. Lander’s skating is probably on par with Hendricks but Hendricks is bigger, grittier, tougher and more physical. He’s more willing to put his body on the line and more willing to go to the net and do the dirty work than Lander is. Plus Hendricks can win some faceoffs. Maybe not as consistent as Lander but he’s decent. So I understand why the Oilers would choose Hendricks over Lander. If you are going to have a guy up with your team who’s limitied skating wise and limited offensively, he better have more than just faceoffs in the tool box. Hendricks has way more tools in the tool box.

    The only way I would bring up Lander is if the Oilers created a true 4th line. So you could create a 4th line with Hendricks – Lander – Pakarinen/Slep. What I see as a true 4th line is that line plays very little 5 on 5, plays well below 10 mins and mostly focuses on the PK. I think the Oilers woes with the PK lately is how lousy they are on faceoffs so Lander would help that. You give that 4th line a few of 5 on 5 shifts per period to give the other lines a breather but that line is too slow to play much more than a few 5 on 5 shifts but they get a heavy dose of PK time. Which would also give our other guys a breather. For Letestu you move him up to the 3rd line and have a line of Deshairnais – Letestu – Kassian. Not a huge line but you have the size, toughness and aggression of Kassian to help. You’d have 2 centers – left and a right – so they can take the draws always on their strong side. It’s a vet line. Plus Letestu has shown he has some finish and can one time the puck. With Deshairnais’s passing ability and Letestu being a right shot, they could has some not bad scoring punch for a bottom 6 line.

  • Lander has never really been given any offensive opportunity so I’d be interested to see how he would do in a 3rd line roll with some skill forwards – maybe he plays wing and takes faceoffs. How is his speed compared to Lucic’s? Early in the season, Lucic looked slow, but recently he seems to have gotten a step back. Maybe he has a skating coach that Lander can utilize.

  • TKB2677

    Lander has 215 NHL games and 35 pts. That’s not even NHL 4th liner numbers. So why would a coach a play a guy up with skilled forwards, dragging those skilled guys down when he can’t even contribute 4th line numbers. Early in his career he actually did see some time with better players but he did nothing.

  • Oscarmike

    Lander is an elite offensive player in the AHL. It makes more sense to put him in the top 6 and on the PP.
    He plays top line minutes with skilled player in the AHL. For his game to translate in the NHL he would need to play in the same position as he did in the AHL.


  • Oscarmike

    I would like to see Puljujarvi back but closer to the end of the year and if the Oilers are in a positions where points don’t matter. Oilers can play him at least 15 minutes a night.

  • moe99

    Why not bring them both up and put them on the 3rd line. they are building chemistry in the AHL, maybe they would click in the NHL. Won’t hurt to have JP on the PP and Anton on the PK.

  • dsanchez1973

    Oilers biggest problems in the last two months: faceoffs. PK. Secondary scoring. Guy in minors: great faceoff guy, great PK, avg 1.77 p/60 this year in NHL and crushing AHL – never even remotely considered for callup. The Oilers mishandling of Lander is nearly criminal. A lineup where you put in Lander for any one of Hendricks, Cagguila, Slepyshev, or Pakarinen is instantly better.

  • okchattrick

    Anton Lander was a very good and consistent player during his time here in Oklahoma City. I think he could prove his worth in Edmonton if they would put him on the 2nd or 3rd line and give more playing time.

    • Dreadguy

      Can we please just stop with idea that Lander could produce points in the NHL if he was given more minutes? He has played nearly 3 full NHL seasons worth of games. He is too slow to be dangerous in the NHL and I have made this point in multiple threads on ON, not to mention it is obvious if you just watch the guy play. Lander ALWAYS has to be on the D-side of the play, because he simply does not have the footspeed to catch anyone from behind at the NHL level. It’s simple, he can never let anyone get a step on him, he’s just too slow. This is why his D-play is good in the NHL, but not his offensive numbers. I’m not hating on the guy, in fact, I have been a fan since he wore the C for the Swedes in the WJHC. The guy has less than 0.25ppg in the NHL and there is a reason for it. Does anyone remember the last stint that Lander played with the Oilers? I remember one play that illustrates my point perfectly: Lander was killing a penalty and caused a turnover, creating a clear-cut 2 on 1. He was caught from behind by not 1, but 2 opposition players, negating the 2 on 1. Leave him on the farm as a mentor, he is a leader and a character guy and can teach our prospects how to be professional.

  • BigMcD

    I think you leave Puljujarvi down for as long as you can and bring him in just before the playoffs then get him going. Let his adrenaline and youth help you. Off the top of my head I can’t give examples but there are people who have basically made their debuts in the playoffs and have done well.

  • Oiler Al

    Trade Lander to the Penguins, they will make a player out of him.Now I got a pop up box saying I cant post because I already said the same thing… duplicate statment.Think no?????????????????????????????????????????