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Photo Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Puljujarvi to the Top Six

Based on the lines from practice, the Oilers — after 80 games — have finally decided on letting Puljujarvi get another taste of the top six. I know what you’re thinking: “What if this kid blows it for the Oilers in these critical games?” I’m here to rest your mind at ease.

Jesse Puljujarvi is not having a fantastic season for the Edmonton Oilers. He’s in his second season but the big, talented forward has not adapted particularly well to his role in the NHL. He has just 12-8-20 in 63 games this year. The former fourth overall pick has some challenges to overcome but I’m willing to look at some context before I start to panic.

For starters, Puljujarvi is hella young. He’s still a teenager and despite this being his second NHL season, he’s still the ninth-youngest player in the NHL this year (minimum 10 games). You can make a case that the Oilers have not done this young man any favours by pushing him to the NHL a year ago and continuing to do the same now. I recognize that Chiarelli emptied the wings and probably pencilled JP into a spot, but it’s hard to argue time on the top line in Bakersfield wouldn’t have been more appropriate than playing the third line in Edmonton. As a European pick, he’s one of the few players where the parent club even had the chance to send him to the AHL as a teenager.

Puljujarvi’s youth was the topic of a recent Todd McLellan quote in a Jim Matheson article, “Somebody said Jesse’s 19-going-on-17 with the way he carries himself and how happy-go-lucky he seems. Whether that’s fair or not, I don’t know. But he is a young 19.” A young 19, for whatever that’s worth, seems like a great thing to this blogger. I would kill to be a young 19 again. *Stares into the distance*

So he’s young, it’s true. He’s also (somehow) only this season been given a full-time English teacher. One would have thought whether here in the bustling metropolis of Edmonton or down in California, the Oilers could have found someone who taught English for a kid from the Finnish hinterlands, but maybe there just aren’t enough people who speak the now almost dead language.

Now, it is not uncommon nor unreasonable to assume that inexperience and language barriers are going to result in issues at the workplace. That holds as true in your office as it does on the ice. And NHL coaches are here to win, presumably, which means that young players in the NHL aren’t going to get the same chances as veterans who can clearly communicate with the staff. That’s just human nature.

Jan 4, 2018; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi (98) skates against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most common concerns I see used in the argument to keep Puljujarvi out of the top six is that he’s not ready to handle those minutes. The youth, the language barriers, and his results show that he’s just not there yet. I’ll grant the youth and the fact that he might only be able to fluently order a pizza over the phone are real, but I disagree with the results.

Jesse Puljujarvi currently sits fifth among the 13 Oiler forwards who have played at least 500 minutes in shot attempt percentage. He’s fifth in unblocked attempt percentage, sixth in scoring chance for percentage, and fifth in goals for percentage. When he’s on the ice, the Oilers are winning the battle for control of the puck and ultimately goals. Good things are happening with JP on the ice.

His usage doesn’t exactly scream “sheltered” either. He’s basically 50/50 in the split between defensive and offensive zone faceoffs, which is low on the Oilers. I’m not a fan of the “Quality of Competition” stats or arguments, but Puljujarvi is sixth among Oiler forwards with at least 20 games in Time on Ice Percentage quality of competition. What I’m getting at is that it doesn’t look like we can say with any certainty that Puljujarvi being on the third line for much of the season has actually meant that he’s faced easy competition, nor that the coaching staff has kept him safe.

What we can say is that Puljujarvi has played 776:07 in 5v5 play and 458:58 of that has been with Milan Lucic. That’s 59.1% of his season with a man who has hit rock bottom in his NHL career. Puljujarvi has scored 17 points 5v5 this year and nine of those have come with Lucic patrolling the other wing. That translates to:

With Lucic 1.18 P/60

Without Lucic 1.51 P/60

If we look specifically at how Puljujarvi has worked with McDavid or Draisaitl (the two centermen of Edmonton’s top six moving forward), we see that they are the centres who Puljujarvi has had the most individual success with.

In McDavid, Puljujarvi found a pivot for 250:36 5v5 with whom he produced a solid 1.92 P/60. They had a 54.7% CF together as well as a 61.9% GF. Now it is impossible to hide when you’re playing with Connor McDavid. Those would have to be the toughest minutes (in terms of competition) that you can find as an Oiler and the results were great in goals, shots, and individual points.

Time with Draisaitl has been much more elusive for Jesse. They have only shared the ice for 76:03 5v5. Considering that the year was lost and Draisaitl has been finally tasked with driving his own line, it’s actually shocking how little these forwards have played together. It is only natural to assume that there is a not-too-distant future in which they would be paired together very naturally. In the extremely brief time that they’ve been on the ice together, Puljujarvi has produced 3.16 P/60 (wow) but the duo has been on the wrong side of the puck and behind in the score.

Two games are a laughably short time left in the season to get a decent handle on whether Draisaitl and Puljujarvi can be compatible. This is something the coaching staff has had a long time to experiment with, but for reasons that I don’t think matter, they’ve avoided doing so. The insinuation from Matheson’s article was that Edmonton’s top centres didn’t want him on their wings. The results with McDavid don’t support banning him from duty there and there really hasn’t been much time at all put in with Draisaitl.

What I’m sure of is that the Oilers didn’t draft Jesse Puljujarvi to play on their third line, and spending the majority of his time with Lucic and Strome doesn’t appear to be helping him learn how to play in the top six. Perhaps the team just needs to let the kid play and live with the consequences rather than teach him how to be a third liner and face those consequences.

  • J.R.

    I hate to admit that I hate the way McLellan runs his lines. Even worse than the Macblender.

    I don’t like the never ending coach carousel but I won’t shed a tear if we see a big change here…hopefully Joel Quenneville.

  • ScottV

    Yes – he has been a victim of McL’s blender and lack of identifying and sticking with those who require additional patience to work things through.

    You don’t always go with what seems to be clicking in the here and now.

    Some players require a coach who looks beyond the here and now. You see a player for what he will become and you extend additional rope and patience toward that end.

    One of many many examples – being dumb enough to ride a 145 lb kid in Puljujarvi’s place because he made a bit of a splash in camp.

    Another player that has taken way too long to develop is Khaira. I knew 2 years ago, that big Khaira was worth going to and staying with at bat.

    Handling of the forwards is just one of a number of things that ought to have McL outta here, at years end.

    • ed from edmonton

      An NHL coach has a one word job description, i.e. win. So yes they all go with what is clicking (assuming something is clicking) here and now.If they don’t coach to win, but to develop players they will not be NHL coaches for very long. If Tod Mac is fired next week, it won;e be because he didn’t develop JP well, or that he juggled his lines too much, it will because his team didn’t win enough games.

      • camdog

        You mean the “guys in Orange” didn’t win enough games. If he gets fired it’ll be his coaching methods that get him fired. The L formation on the penalty kill openly mocked by veteran NHL players on other teams and the powerplay. If Gretzky and friends believe that other methods could be successful Todd’s gone.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Not to mention Slepy… I 150% agree, if there is such a thing?
      Same, Same in San Jose with all the firepower at their disposal.
      Cup final, year after.

  • ed from edmonton

    “Perhaps the team just needs to let the kid play and live with the consequences rather than teach him how to be a third liner and face those consequences.”

    I don’t pretend the know why JP has been limited to primarily bottom 6 time. although if Matheson is correct and top centers are not keen on playing with him that is both curious and disturbing. However I think we need to keep in mind the objective is to win hockey games in the NHL, player development is what should happen in the AHL.

  • Rock11

    At what point do Leon and Connor start getting the Taylor Hall whispers. If the two best, highest paid players one of whom is the captain refuse to play on a line with another teammate perhaps there is a character issue.

    • ubermiguel

      No one said Connor refused to play with Jesse: “McDavid isn’t comfortable with him on his right-wing quite yet because he doesn’t process things quickly enough for the captain’s all-world game.” Holding teammates accountable for being good at hockey is the opposite of a character problem, it’s called accountability and this team needs more of it.

      • Hemmercules

        How are things not going his way?? He’s 19 and getting 13 minutes a night in the NHL. This whole conversation seems so ridiculous to me. I honestly cant see how playing lesser competition is bad for him. They aren’t press boxing him, he’s getting PP time. He plays on the third line and its “OMG they don’t like him, his development is ruined, play him with Conner already”. The bump him up and its “OMG he’s gifted top line minutes he didn’t earn, his development is ruined, send him back to Bakersfield”. Its a no-win in the eyes of Oilers fans. I think he will be fine, probably a second line winger that pots 40-50 points. He will continue to learn the NA game and get better as time goes on. Be patient.

        • ed from edmonton

          I didn’t mean to suggest JP is hard done by. I don’t like the comparisons with Yak. JP keeps his mouth shut (maybe because he can’t speak english) and plays the game.

  • morsecode89

    I’ve always wondered that if Jesse’s last name was Patrick, and he was from Northern Saskatchewan and not Northern Finland, drafted in the same position with the same skill set, how much different the organization, media and fans would treat him. Obviously, the language and the cultural barrier wouldn’t be there, but I bet people would be more sympathetic to his season and happy about Jesse’s potential.

    Some very astute things that stick out in this article are that JP’s the 10th youngest player in the NHL, and his numbers, fancy or not, are pretty decent despite not playing a lot of time with Connor, and barely playing with Draisaitl as his center. And the fact the Oilers didn’t get JP an English tutor until this season.

    Overall, I just have no idea why you draft a thoroughbred, even one who is a little rough around the edges, and put him in a position he’s not going to succeed. What’s the harm of playing JP with Connor or Leon at this stage? The Oilers have been cooked since February. Give JP zone starts. Play him on the PP. Just play him more.

    There has to be a give and take thing here. People complain about a player being handed minutes and not ‘earning it’ yet Caggiula and Rattie and Lucic have all been gifted ample time next to Connor, and none of them have the ‘upside or draft pedigree’ of JP. It just makes you wonder what the thought process is of this entire organization at times.

    • Hemmercules

      “And the fact the Oilers didn’t get JP an English tutor until this season”. This is one of the most laughable things I’ve heard about JP and I’ve heard it a few times. JP is only 19 but he’s an adult, don’t you think he should take it upon himself to learn the language on his own considering he wants to be in America and play in the NHL?? Do the Oilers staff also wipe his ass after he does a poo poo?

      • ed from edmonton

        Agree that JP could have taken some initiative here, but everyone of different and at 18/19 I don’t know if I would have taken the initiative. You also have to keep in mind that high end athletes have been recognized as having special talents and therefore treated differently than the rest of us.

        • Hemmercules

          So you would move to another country that doesn’t speak english and wouldn’t take the initiative to learn the language to make things better for yourself? If JP is really that stupid there is no hope for him.

      • Odanada

        Couldn’t agree less. Any well run organization would have provided the tutor because they wanted to welcome the young player and help him to feel comfortable in his new home. It’s supposed to be an NHL franchise, the most elite league in the world, not some beer league in Moncton.
        Duane Sutter VP of Player Personnel
        Rick Carriere Senior Director of Player Development
        Scott Howson VP of Player Development.
        Surely one of these people would have clicked that a tutor was a good idea. Not having the werewithal to foresee the need for a tutor is bush league.

        • Hemmercules

          From what I have read on the subject the Oilers had him learning english from the get go. Im not sure if that means a program or an actual person but its not like they just let it totally slide. He also played out most of his first season in the minors with 2 other Finnish players that speak english quite well. I dont know how the hell his agent didn’t line that stuff up in the first place? If his agent wants a payday you would think he would do everything to make his client more comfortable and have him in a position to succeed.

  • percy

    Going to be interesting to see what our braintrust comes up with this summer. When ever in doubt take the north American born player. Never seen a organization make so many blunders as this one.

  • Oiler Al

    I am pulling for the kid, he has size, speed and a decent shot, but I really question his IQ.
    cant seem to be able to connect the dots.He show’s little to no improvement since seasons start!He knew about wanting life as an Nhl;er why didn’t he work on his English back home as many kids do starting at a young age, wanting to play here.
    He should be developing in the AHL… then again Fleming and Co., need to be shown the door down in Bakersfield.At the end he was to raw and green to be in the NHL this year.

  • TKB2677

    I am going to say the same thing every time I see a Puljujarvi article talking about playing time.

    Puljujarvi is just over 4 months older than Yamamoto. There isn’t an Oilers fan, blogger or media guy who for a second thinks Yamamoto should be in the Oilers top 6. They don’t even think he should be a pro this year and there is a big group of people who think he should star in the minors next yet. Yet Puljujarvi should be in the Oilers top 6? So if Yamamoto was 4.5 months older, all of a sudden he should be an NHL top 6 winger?

      • TKB2677

        So what if there is a size difference. Just because you are big, doesn’t automatically make you a better player. Being 4.5 months apart in age, these guys would have basically the same amount of hockey experience years wise. If anything, Yamamoto might have a leg up just because he has played north american hockey his whole life.

    • OldOilerFan

      Good point @TKB2677, couldn’t agree more. The kids was drafted based on his potential. That potential is still there. He’s only 19, his body is still growing, he’s going to get bigger! Now that he has language help, he’ll be able to understand the coaches better. And order pizza better. All good. We don’t have a lot of assets in the organization, let’s not lose this one just yet….

      • toprightcorner

        Bang on, McKenzie and Button both said that Puljujarvi would likely be the slowest to reach his potential of any of the other top 10 picks, but because of his 2 way acumen, he will be one of the better overall players of that draft.

      • TKB2677

        People seem to forget that the only reason he is allowed to play ANY hockey in the AHL at his age is because he is European. If he was playing junior hockey when he was drafted, he’d be on his junior team.

  • Rama Lama

    It’s kind of funny to give him top-six minutes now! TM is beyond desperate and will try anything. JP may not be ready for top six minutes but if that is the case why not leave him down in the AHL for the entire season. Every game I have seen this year I contend Jesse is not the problem.

    The problem is that our coach is still trying to figure out lines at game 80 of the year………no wonder the season is lost. The team was not prepared for the start of the season as our coach was still trying to figure out who stays and who goes 15 games into the season! The the line blendering began and has not stopped ……….it’s no wonder this team is where it is.

    Time for a new coach that can prepare his team at the start of the season and give his line combinations more than two shifts to prove themselves.

  • Slipknot 8

    Comparing JP to the Oiler roster is really not a great comparison when you’re comparing him to Kassian Caggiula Slepyshev Lucic and Aberg…. well you get the point….The Oilers roster is terrible.

    Shooting or shot attempts while a positive in that JP is clearly listening to the coaches (volume) is not an accurate of what’s taking place on the ice, it’s more like a false positive in that yes, he’s shooting, but perimeter shots are usually blocked or easily saved, in this case saved.

    No JP is stripped off the puck far more; he is -12 which is the third worst for forwards on the Oilers, defencemen tend to give the puck away more, Russell is beyond brutal by the way.

    Facing the third line whether you like Q of C or not, the Oilers are hard matched with 97 and T-Mac also matches this way, this is undisputed so the second will almost always role out against the 2nd Q of C leaving Lucic, Strome and JP to face the third best, they may get the 4th at home from time to time but dollars to doughnuts Strome’s line is facing the thirds.

    I don’t mind keeping JP back, limiting what he’s doing on the ice and where he’s being deployed. The question should be is he learning? Yes he is.
    To be completely honest…..I don’t see much difference between JP and Magnus Paajarvi..

    • crabman

      @Slipknot 8
      I agree completely. He has the highest S/60 but he tends to fire from everywhere. Rw earlier in the year he seemed to carry the puck more than he probably should and that was playing with McDavid as well. I don’t think he is a puck carrier as much as he is a shooter and he has been carrying the puck much less lately. The results might not be coming at the moment but he looks his most comfortable on the ice playing on the 3rd with Strome. If he is an Oiler longterm I fully expect for his role to increase and have him in the top6 but for now I have no problem with him on the 3rd line and learning how to play in the NHL.
      He should have been doing his developing in the AHL last year and again this year if he wasn’t ready but Chiarelli counted on him being NHL ready and didn’t provide cover incase he wasn’t.

  • camdog

    Jesse should have started his NHL career (when he was called up) on the third line with Strome and then given a push if his game warranted it. Playing him with Connor and then on the fourth line was bad coaching. Lucic falling off the cliff at Christmas wasn’t something any coach could have dealt with. He still has to play top 9.

  • The Whispererer

    Honest question.
    I have not seen or heard any Oilers official state that they waited until this season to help Jesse learn English. I have only read it in the comments section on ON.
    Early this season i watched Jesse being interviewed between periods of an Oilers game. Admittedly, the interviewer kept the questions simple but Jesse clearly understood what was being asked and he responded appropriately, albeit in broken English which would be expected off someone who is learning a new language but has not yet mastered it. This does not suggest to me that no one was helping him to learn the language.
    Can anybody point me to an official statement from an Oiler executive saying that they did not provide Jesse with help learning English until this season ?

  • crabman

    @ Henderson, The way you frame this article and the stats you use does make it sound like he has played like a top6 forward and was miss used this year. But when digging a little deeper into these stats he hasn’t performed that great.
    That is a lot of his even strength time with Lucic at 59% of his 5×5. But He has also spent 32% of his time with McDavid.
    Puljujarvi’s average time on ice at 5×5 this year 12:36m/g. 250:36 w/ McDavid works out to be about 19 games on McDavid’s wing and with 1.92pt/60 that’s about 8 pts with McDavid. Pro rated to a 34pts per 82games. Hardly what one would expect playing on McDavid’s wing.
    On the whole a 1.39pts/60 overall

    • crabman

      @ Henderson( continued ), On the whole a 1.39pt/60 overall after spending 42% of his 5×5 time with either Draisaitl or McDavid isn’t great production. that still only has him at 8th on the team of players that have played over 40 games.

      • crabman

        @ Henderson, where do you find your stats? things like player usage. time on ice with each player and points while playing with each player? I can’t find this and would like to dig deeper myself.

        There is nothing wrong with 1.98p/60 at 5×5. I would like to look at the pts/60 for everyone else who has had time at McDavid’s wing. That would be a better comparison than just looking league wide. Nuge has always been good, 50-55pt guy. With McDavid he is a point a game. So how does Puljujarvi’s pts/60 with McDavid stack up to the rest. What does McDavid’s pts/60 look like with and without Puljujarvi? Puljujarvi’s pt/60 total for the season is 1.39/60. That’s less than Khaira, 1.5/60, or Lucic 1.46/60. Lots of ways to look at this. I know you use his time with Lucic to explain his low pt/60 but what is Lucic’s pt/60 away from Puljujarvi?
        What is Lucic’s pts/60 with McDavid just as a fair and balanced comparison? I ask because I don’t know and that information would be useful in evaluating Puljujarvi’s play and effect on his teammates.

        If Puljujarvi played the entire season on McDavid’s wing scoring 1.92pts/G and assuming he would play the same amount as say Rattie has per game with McDavid, 13:56 at 5×5. that would give Puljujarvi 36 pts at evens in a 82 game season. Hardly a lock as the best option for McDavid this year. Rattie, who I think we can all agree isn’t an allstar player, has a 2.52pt/60 at 5×5 with McDavid and 48pts/82 games at 5×5. The McDavid effect is real.

        Any help you could give me to find this information would be greatly appreciated.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    The guy has 0.3ppg this season on a Sh&tty team. Jesse is only 19(!), can skate very well for a big kid, and has a hammer of a shot. He’s just fine. Chill pills for everyone while he develops into a very good player.

  • Consultant

    Every Oiler article with analysis of any type or on any player always has an element of Chiarelli failure. Here it is his penciling in a 18/19 year old too early and too high in the line-up. Only three more days with this idiot then its on to a new chapter.

  • Leichs

    What has he done since he got drafted? He wasn’t all that great over seas, he barely could crack the Finish team last year and was relegated to extra attacker for the tournament, hes been average at BEST in the Ahl and even worse in the NHL. But yeah hes got all this hidden talent and elite shot that everyone can see. I wish him the best and hope he lights it up but people seem to be pretty delusional on him because he went 4th overall. Seems like another Yak to me in the sense that he could have the tools but doesn’t have the IQ to put it together. Cant teach hockey smarts, ask Yak. Maybe there’s a reason Columbus Finnish gm passed over him lol. Not trying to be harsh or bash the kid, but he hasn’t done ANYTHING in ANY league since the Juniors.

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      Wow, just wow… Harsh AND bashing… My take: a premature indictment of a 19 year old coming from the cheap seats. Nothing more. What did you say about Drai (and all his delusional supporters) the year he stunk it up for half a season in the NHL? You probably wrote him off too. Opinions like that (“the kid’s a bust) are part of the reason why we can’t have nice things as Oilers fans (and keep nice things). Jesse is fine.

  • toprightcorner

    I agree with the 3rd line deployment. Playing with McDavid means facing the opponents best line and best dmen, that is not how a young player learned to adapt to NA ice.

    I liked Chairelli’s original plan of bringing in Jokinen as a mentor and 3rd line linemate and have Nuge center them, giving him some shelter and surrounded by defensively minded vets that had show offense. Jokinen was a tire fire and McLellan played Draisaitl with McDavid and Nuge at 2C. Jokinen moved to center and Cagullia played LW so JP had a terrible line for him to develop on.

    He played with garbage LWers the entire year Cagulia/Jokinen/Sleppy/Lucic then take his most common centers to start the year, Letestu/Jokinen. He played well with Strome for a while but the team didn’t have enough veterans with offence to support him.

    Puljujarvi is currently the Oilers second highest scoring winger on the team (3rd if you include Maroon’s time) He did that playing on horrendous 3rd lines, but I don’t know if he would have succeeded any more playing on the 2nd line. Lucic dragged that line down. They had to see if Sleppy could hang and worth an RFA offer (he isn’t). The lack of Oilers winger depth cost JP in development, not becasue he should have played higher, but because they had to play his center on the wing and had nobody to mentor him.

  • toprightcorner

    “If we look specifically at how Puljujarvi has worked with McDavid or Draisaitl, we see that they are the centres who Puljujarvi has had the most individual success with.”

    Shattering news!!

    That would be the same for every winger on the team and likely any other winger in the NHL.

      • toprightcorner

        Playing with elite players doesn’t make the game less difficult, it means they get a few extra token points based on the work of those elite players. Linemates can help you get more points but it doesn’t instantly make you a better player. Rattie didn’t turn into into a regular NHL top 6 wingerby having success with McDavid, he has the same talent he did in the AHL. JP won’t magically develop faster playing with McDavid, he will get more points, but nobody can say that finding his spots on the ice is easier on that line or he will learn to read the game faster on that line. His success will be the product of the success of his linemates. If you want JP to become a better player, he needs to figure it out with lesser teammates and when he has the advantage of playing in the top 6, he will be much more successful because he worked hard to learn those skills.

  • toprightcorner

    With everyone on the team having a terrible season except for McDavid, Draisaitl and Nuge (when healthy) No player in their 1st full NHL season would look very good on this team. This years Puljujarvi on last years team probably has 18 goals and 35 points. He still has a long way to go but this season has to be held in context with this years terrible team.

    I don’t think JP should have played anywhere other than 3rd line this year. I also think Yamamoto should play at least 40 games in the AHL and only get called up if he is in the point per game range. Second unit PP should have happened more.

    Oilers fans complain the Oilers rushed to many players back in the day like Gagner, Schultz, Nurse, even Draisaits first year and gave them too much responsibility too soon. Now fans are mad they are taking their time with JP and should give him more responsibility. If they played JP in the top 6 and he struggled, those same fans would say he got too much too soon and be mad. It doesn’t matter how JP had a tough season, fans would complain no matter what if he didn’t get in the 40 pt range.

    That is not fair to a 19 year old, without his family or friends, trying to learn English and have the pressure of your great friend Laine light up the lamp while you are struggling. Almmost everyone here was probably an idiot getting drunk all the time when they were 19. Let the guy find his confidence and his game and he will figure it out, what line he plays on won’t speed it up, he will get there when he gets there and he will be a heck of a player.

  • toprightcorner

    Europeans typically take a couple years to find some success in the NHL, only the elite of the elite are able to have immediate success.

    First 5 season of some Europeans

    Daniel Sedin – 34/32/31/54/71 Highest points – 104 (Art Ross)(first 3 years played mostly 3rd line)

    Hendrik Sedin – 29/36/39/42/75 Highest points – 112 (Art Ross)(First 3 years played mostly 3rd line)

    Jere Letonen – 28 points as 23 year old rookie/43/42 – 7 time 20 goal scorer

    Loui Eriksson – 19 pts as 23 year old rookie/31/63/71 – 2 time 30 goals, 5 times 20 goals

    Barkov – 24/36/59/52/77 – not much higher PPG than JP

    William Karlsson – 20 as a 23 year old rookie/25/78
    Rickard Rakell – 31 as 21 year old rookie/43/51/66 – 3 30 goal years
    Zibanijad – 23 as 20 year old rookie/33/46/51
    Silfverberg – 19 as 21 year old rookie/23/39/39/49
    Teravainen – 9 as 20 year old rookie/35/42/62
    Mikko Koivu – 21 as 22 year old rookie/52/42/67/71
    Niederreiter – 1 point in 55 games as 19 year old rookie/AHL 1 full season/36/37/43/57 – four 20 goal season

    I don’t think there would be much disappointment if Pujujarvi turned out to be any one of these players. a regular 20 goal, 45+ point player (Jordan Stall/Hornqvist numbers) is a solid top 6 winger. I think JP has the skill set to be a 25 goal, 55+ pt player (Hoffman/Neal numbers) and those are top line wingers.

    Everyone just needs to be patient and stop blaming mgmt/coaches or the player.

  • Svart kaffe

    I think it’s pretty clear observing Jesse and listening to what people working close with him says. He’s likely more than a bit immature and possibly feels entitled to stuff. His own reaction to not being selected #3 was the first tell. Then changing his number to 98. He’s got an ego and when things don’t work out he doesn’t dig in harder but sulks instead.

    Management have been quite transparent about wanting to light a fire under him and one way to do it is playing him in the bottom 6. Obviously he can become a magnificent player but he’s got to start carrying himself like a pro and fight for his opportunities. On every level he’s played at before the NHL he was probably one of the best players thanks to his physical gifts and natural skill-set.

  • OilerForLife

    I believe that Puljujarvi will mature at a slower rate than Draisaitl. He needs to use his frame to protect the puck, and to battle for the puck harder. Working on short passes, puck support, and develop some chemistry with his teammates, because he seems to be working alone on many plays. These are skills he can learn in the AHL, and there is no shame in that. I’d rather see a NHL ready player function in the top 6. This isn’t a sprint, but rather a marathon in regards to his development. To allow him to earn his progression would serve him and the Oilers better.

  • Moneyball

    At what point do we just admit that we drafted a third liner? That was obvious after his first 10+ games in the NHL. He just doesn’t have the hockey sense or the drive other players do.