Fans have been asking for it for quite some time and it’s finally happened. Both Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto have been sent to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL, according to the Oilers’ official Twitter account.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 10, 2018
It was hoped that both young forwards could take a step forward and play a big role on the Oilers this season, but, through a month, that hasn’t happened. Puljujarvi has one goal in nine games, has spent a lot of time in the press box, and has seldom seen opportunities outside of the bottom six. Yamamoto has one goal and one assist in 12 games, got a chance on the top line with Connor McDavid, but has been bouncing in and out of the lineup as of late.
The Oilers seem keen to roll with Ty Rattie, Drake Caggiula, and Alex Chiasson as their top three right wings right now, so there’s no sense in keeping Puljujarvi and Yamamoto up with the team either to play bottom-six roles or watch from the press box. The 2016 and 2017 first-round picks can head down to Bakersfield and get some major playing time in the AHL.
We don’t yet know who will be coming up to fill the two open spots on Edmonton’s roster. I would guess veteran Brad Malone would be one of them, but the second is really anybody’s guess. They might want to keep the kid line of Tyler Benson, Cameron Hebig, and Cooper Marody intact, so maybe an older player like Patrick Russell gets the recall.
We shall see! Regardless, I’m happy the Oilers are finally doing the right thing and giving their key prospects an opportunity to find their game in the minors.