Photo Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Training Camp Battle: Right Wing and Jesse Puljujarvi

If we assume Leon Draisaitl plays about half of his games at right wing this coming season, that means there are 287 “man games” to distribute among the other starboard wingers in the coming year. The battle ahead will be a year-long process and by spring we should have a very good idea about Edmonton’s future at the position.

It is my belief that Peter Chiarelli will want to give Jesse Puljujarvi a full chance to win a starting job on the second line. When the general manager traded Jordan Eberle, it’s likely there were three objectives:

  • Cap relief/increase options
  • Change out a smaller skill player for a bigger winger (Bruinization continuing)
  • Make room for a young player/less expensive option

The options to replace Eberle at RW include Ryan Strome, although he may end up centering a line on his own. Anton Slepyshev showed very well late in the season and playoffs, Drake Caggiula had chemistry with Connor McDavid and Zack Kassian posted some impressive offense for a guy who had so many goals called back. There’s also Jussi Jokinen and 2017 first-round pick Kailer Yamamoto.

In my opinion, it comes down to Jesse Puljujarvi. He started well a year ago, but the coach watched him miss some golden chances and (I believe) reacted by squeezed his playing time. Puljujarvi lost his confidence, eventually spending the heart of the season in Bakersfield with the Condors.

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You can’t blame the player (he is 18) and you can’t blame the coach (his job is on the line 82 games a year in the toughest league on planet earth).

2020 NHL UFA Top 30: Chris Tanev and Brenden Dillon


  • I chose these three players as a comparable to Jesse Puljujarvi, you may feel there are more appropriate comps.
  • JP’s draft year is closest (in my opninion) to Mikko Rantanen, these are absolutely two seasons that could have come from the same player.
  • JP’s draft +1 season is (in my opinion) ‘in the range’ with Nylander and Rantanen. Your mileage may vary, Rantanen played more of a feature role for San Antonio.
  • David Pastrnak had separated by draft +1, I don’t think that is in doubt.

Based on all of this information, I think Jesse Puljujarvi will play the entire season in Edmonton, scoring about .45 points-per-game. That’s my estimate for this player, and should put him in a second/third line role.

The one thing that could get in the way? At some point in the year, Puljujarvi is going to struggle, perhaps getting playing time squeezed by Todd McLellan. The player is a year older, a year more mature, and we can reasonably expect him to react more positively and eventually win that playing time back.

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We should not expect 30 goals this coming season, or even 20. David Pastrnak scored 15 NHL goals in his draft +2 season, and I think that total is somewhat in the range of reasonable for Jesse Puljujarvi.


  • Roberto

    Maroon, Lucic, RNH, and JP(maybe not this year but next), IMO all could/should conceivably score 15-20 plus goals . McDavid and Drai probably more like 25 – 30 plus each. I don’t think it’s a stretch for Cagguilla, Kassian, Letestu, Strome and Slep to score about 10 each. And Khaira is an unknown, but seems to be an excellent energy 4th liner. The potential to have an extremely balanced high scoring forward lineup is there. D seems to be set, with nothing but improvement hopefully coming from Nurse, Benning, Klef and Larsson… And Sekera and Russel should be steady. Talbot is one of the best goalies in the league. Mix that with teams like LA, ANA, and Chicago all getting older and likely worse, things look pretty promising for a few years.

    • McRaj

      I agree that LA and Chicago got older and worse. But Anaheim has a very young D core and some young forwards. We are going to be battling it out with them and Calgary for the foreseeable future in the division.
      Maroon, Looch, Nuge, and Drai will all be somewhere between 20 and 30 goals. I think Strome will be between 15 and 20. The big difference I believe will be McDavid who I foresee having a 75 Assist, 40 goal season.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        I think a Strome centred line will surprise. with Jokenen & PuIjajarvi on the wings, (3rd).
        I also think that a Draisaitl centred line with Lucuc (L) and Nuge (R) would be some great chemistry on the 2nd line.

  • DiscoBiscuits

    This all makes me very uncomfortable. I see three “comparables” who were better than a point per game in the AHL in their D+1 and still started their D+2 in the AHL (Rantanen, Pastrnak), or stayed in the AHL for the patter part of their D+2 until they had proven they could do better than 1.0 PPG (Nylander). My takeaway from these numbers is it’s still too soon for Puljujarvi: bringing him up now with expectations of success on the second or third line is the same old Oilers formula that will see him set up to fail, turned into our next goat, and driven out of town.

  • OriginalPouzar

    For me, two of the biggest keys this season are the abilities of Matt Benning and Puljijarvi to take their games to the next level. We have a RW hole and the 2RD hole to fill.

    Jesse should score a goal in game 1 of the regular season and then ride that wave of confidence.

    Benning should run with the 2RD spot and allow Russell to slip to 3RD when Reggie comes back – We can’t have Russell on 2RD, if he’s on the 2nd pairing he needs to play the left side where he is a more efficient puck mover.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    I’m going to hazard a guess that looking at that picture with Gustuvson in net that the shot he is getting in position for counted as a goal.

    Just a random guess.

  • madjam

    I feel upper limits for Jesse could be immense even this year . He has the talent to be elite , a dose of confidence could prove immense . We should see a different Jesse this year more adapt at the culture of N.America and understanding of English . Like a missile ready to launch.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    Prediction: Jussi Jokinen offers to help Jesse communicate with the coaches, but Jussi Jokinen turns out to be a jerk and secretly tells Jesse the OPPOSITE of everything the coaches are saying which causes Jesse to score 23 own goals and post the worst CORSI and FENWICK stats ever tracked.

  • Slipknot 8

    JP should be sent back to the AHL if he can’t step in a contribute right away, most 19 year olds would be sent back to JR at his age. Bring in Jagr on a one year deal.

  • toprightcorner

    I wouldn’t mind JP playing half a season on the 1st line in the AHL, especially since there is a little more offense there this year. Nylander did that and it worked out very well for him.

    Oilers are not in a position where they should feel the need to rush JP to the NHL. They can pick up a veteran RW at the start of the season, there will be a few out there.

    Everyone that is hard on JP should shake their head and realize that the original likely option in Pierre-Luc Dubois dropped significantly in Junior last year and scored just over a P/PG. a total drop of 44 pts in only 18 less games than his draft year. JP ill be fine, he is very mature in the defensive end,just needs to learn to let the puck do the work for him. With an off season working on his shot and a quicker release, he will start to put pucks in the net. He has a quality shot with good strength, he just needs to release it faster to beat NHL quality goalies.

    My preference is start the season in AHL for at least 20 games. If in the NHL, I would prefer him on the 3rd line with sheltered minutes, starting him on the 2nd line could be a mistake. If Draisaitl plays RW, I would prefer to see Jokinen play 3C and Strome play 2RW and JP 3RW. Though I think the Oilers have to play Draisaitl at 2C to spread the opponents defence thinner between 2 lines and to truly see if he can drive the second line allowing for a Nuge trade. Surviving without Nuge should be the Oilers focus as they can’t afford a 3C for $6 mill .

  • nuge2drai

    Love to see Jagr join this team.

    Maroon McDavid Draisaitl

    Lucic Nuge Jagr

    Jokinen Strome Puljujarvi

    Cagguila Letestu Kassian

    Love it. One move away from depth all positions.