Saturday Sunshine: JJ’s breakout season

This week, and every week going forward, I am going to take a trip with you on Saturday’s to add a little sunshine to the Oilers landscape. In here I will take some time to look at one positive thing from the week, or that we have to look forward to. So click on that Saturday Sunshine track and let us venture out into the sunny days.

I imagine most people were thinking the first one of these that I would feature would be Connor McDavid and honestly who could blame you? He is our one true hope to lead us to the promised land of Lord Stanley’s mug but I will be definitely featuring him in the coming weeks.

This week’s positive to look back on and into the future is the 23-year-old young man from Surrey, British Columbia. Having just completed his first full year in Oilers silks. Can you help but not be excited for this guy into the future?

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The Everett Silvertips standout who had 43 points in his one season in the dub has been with the AHL Condors (Barons for a playoff run and one season) or the Oilers ever since.

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- PGP G A Pts PIM
2013-14 Oklahoma City Barons AHL 6 0 0 0 2 -1 3 1 0 1 0
2014-15 Oklahoma City Barons AHL 51 4 6 10 62 -7 8 3 1 4 4
2015-16 Bakersfield Condors AHL 49 10 17 27 69 3
2015-16 Edmonton Oilers NHL 15 0 2 2 13 -2
2016-17 Bakersfield Condors AHL 27 8 12 20 31 4
2016-17 Edmonton Oilers NHL 10 1 0 1 2 1
2017-18 Edmonton Oilers NHL 69 11 10 21 47 -7
NHL Totals 94 12 12 24 62

The ability and rise that this young man has had to go from the BCHL to the College ranks to the Dub to the AHL and now the NHL is astounding. He has found a home playing in Edmonton now and that is something to be excited about.

There is no way you can talk about Jujhar and not speak to the ground-breaking he has done as well by simply being in the league (let alone excelling). He is the third Punjab Indian-born player in NHL history. He a beacon in the community and proudly wears the ambassador title well.

On top of all that he is a great player and teammate with the Oilers. His twenty-four points in 96 games are the icing on the cake to a physical player with a nose for the net and a defensive soundness to his game. His mental and physical maturity level is what has brought him to this point and now he is shining.

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On March 8th against the Islanders, I was proud to be able to watch one of our youngest guys in Jujhar stand up to one of the league’s biggest pest/agitators in Cal Clutterbuck and he destroyed him.

And man does he ever destroy opponents:

Jujhar Khaira vs Colin Miller – Feb 15, 2018 3pd 13:02

Jujhar Khaira vs Christian Folin – Feb 7, 2018 1pd 16:06

That is the kind of player Edmonton has wanted to and craved for years. A player with the skill to chip in from your bottom six, can play in spots in your top six and act as a deterrent for anyone trying to push around your stars. The excitement for the one they call JJ is unsurprising and well deserved. He has nowhere to go but up.

Jujhar Khaira is definitely a positive.

    • Big Nuggets

      That’s one reason why I wouldn’t mind if they signed a 4th line center, so Khaira can get more opportunity to develop offensively. Many people call for Kassian to get better minutes but I would much rather see what JJ could do. If worse came to worse a line of JJ Drai and Kassian would be interesting to see.

    • Nation Dan

      I too feel this way. But very sparingly. I don’t think he needs top 6 time as much as maybe some second pp unit time. Give him some time to work on his game and round it out. He has done nothing but impress.

  • Leo Tard

    Great to see some positive coverage of the team. I liked the videos of Jujhars fights. Pumped me up a bit. After all the years of the Oilers drafting coke machines, I am pretty sure they finally found one who was worth the pick. Even though he has not fully established himself point wise, I think he makes Lucic expendable.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    Fun fact: Sunshine Saturday was the name of a live (or live-to-tape) TV show for kids on CFRN in Edmonton in the 1980s (and 1970s, I think?). The show was hosted by CFRN weather guy Eric Neville and featured trivia games based on clips from old TV shows (Get Smart was definitely one of them). Neville asked the kids questions in-studio and prizes would be revealed behind little sliding doors. Prizes were mostly movie coupons, games, and all kinds of junk food – pop, chips, chocolate bars, etc.

    When I saw ON decided to name this weekly feature “Saturday Sunshine,” I was wondering if it wasn’t some sort of nod to local TV back in the day.

  • OriginalPouzar

    A year ago, I really thought JJ’s ceiling was a fourth line energy player that could develop a PK game due to his speed. He showed more skill and more offensive ability than I ever thought he had.

    Confidence is a massive thing – I remember seeing him handle the puck like an absolute grenade a few years ago and, now, I see him skating the puck through the neutral zone with authority and making plays.

    I do think he can be a great 4C, however, with our lack of winger depth, I wouldn’t mind seeing what he can do as a middle 6 LW. If he is able to provide some decent offence, we have a value contract in the middle six and we should be able for find a cheap veteran 4C fairly easily (i.e Brodziak).

    I’m not sure he has the offence though – he shot close to 25% last season, that will come down.

    Great arrows on JJ though.

  • Beer_League_Ringer

    I must say, I love the Sunshine Saturday concept. Whoever came up with the idea (it really doesn’t matter) gets my sincere thanks. One article a week with no reason to debate (much) and definitely no reason to be a troll. For true Oilers fans, this concept and choice of inaugural article, is perfect and at the perfect time. Seriously, thank you. Sheet gets pretty negative here sometimes.