To quote the legendary Bob Cole. Everything. Is. Happening.
From a content perspective, the Edmonton Oilers are the gift that keeps on giving. It’s been a busy 48 hours the organization, here’s my best attempt at breaking it all down.
JESSE ON THE OUTS?
What an interesting three days in the life of a 20-year old trying to find his way in the National Hockey League. I find the entire timeline of all this Jesse news to be intriguing in itself.
I reached out to Puljujarvi’s agent, Markus Lehto, on Tuesday to ask about the speculation that his client may not want to go back to the American Hockey League. He replied in a timely fashion by simply stating that he did not want to comment on or off the record at that time. He had been open to discussions with myself in the past so I took his refusal to comment as a way to avoid throwing any unnecessary fuel on the fire which is more than fair.
Then on Friday morning Ryan Rishaug tweeted this.
Oilers had discussion with Markus Lehto, agent for Jesse Puljujarvi today. Team is open to trading him if a proper return can be found, and in the meantime an AHL stint to help boost offence and confidence is being considered. No decisions yet.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) February 15, 2019
I’m not sure if Rishaug’s source was the team or the agent but if I was a betting man, I’d say it was the team, which then led to Lehto’s response later in the day via Mark Spector.
Jesse Puljujarvi's agent, Markus Lehto, tells Sportset he is unsure if staying with Edmonton is best for his client.
Column to come shortly. pic.twitter.com/QtSFGI00M6
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) February 16, 2019
Jesse Puljujarvi’s agent, Markus Lehto, tells Sportset he is unsure if staying with Edmonton is best for his client. Column to come shortly.
There was one quote from Spec’s article that leads me to believe Lehto decided to respond after seeing Rishaug’s tweet. “Look, I’m not the guy who is going around playing coach or general manager. It’s a two-way street.”
Is that Lehto’s way of saying if the Oilers want to talk about the situation then I will as well? I believe it is after his “no comment” to me earlier in the week.
Once again, I could be wrong, but I don’t think it’s too crazy to read into the way this all went down. It’s just an example of why this relationship may be past the point of no return.
There are basically four options for the Oilers right now.
- Keep playing him 10 minutes a night on the 4th line.
- Play him with Nuge for the next 25 games and live with the consequences, good or bad.
- Send him down to the American Hockey League and LEAVE him.
- Trade him.
FAIRWELL MR. TALBOTO
We have heard the last of the Cam Talbot shutout song on The Nielson Show and this makes me sad. The good news is we have a Koskinen shutout song but I’m not sure we will ever get to play it.
As long as the Oilers didn’t bring back any significant salary in a Talbot trade it was always going to be, at worst, a tie. Personally, I think a draft pick would have been a better return for the Oilers but considering they don’t have another goaltender they want to bring up to support Koskinen this deal does make sense. Stolarz will need to play at least 30 minutes in ten of their remaining games or else he will be an UFA at the end of the year. Maybe Stolarz works out, maybe he doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world either way.
As long as they don’t give him $13.5 million over three years everything should be fine.
THE RETURN OF SAM
I’ve always liked Sam Gagner and I’m happy to see him get another legitimate shot at salvaging his NHL career.
I was told by someone close to the team that the Oilers had been contemplating bringing Sam back as early as December, talks may have only heated up over the last couple of weeks but he was a guy they had discussed at an earlier time. The thing that stands out in my mind the most about Sam is that when the team was struggling you would go into the room after the game and he was the one guy who was always sitting in his stall waiting to talk to the media. He wouldn’t run away and hide; he was ready to face the fire and did so in a very professional manner.
Spooner for Gagner is not a loss for the Oilers and maybe it ends up being a win simply because of Gagner’s presence in the room. I’m interested to see where the slot him in on the power-play.
It still looks ridiculous on the organization that in a less than two years they turned Jordan Eberle into a version of Sam Gagner that has spent the majority of the season in the American League.
SO LONG SPOONER
One final thought on Spooner. When the Oilers acquired him it was made apparent by a number of people that Spooner isn’t a bottom six guy. He is a player who can only really fit into an NHL lineup if he’s playing with skilled players in a top six role.
Spooner played 25 games with the Oilers and played 56:22 with Nuge, 33:07 with Draisaitl and 25:19 with McDavid. I’m not going to sit here and tell you Spooner would have worked out if given a legit opportunity in the top six I’m simply pointing out that he didn’t get a legit crack in the top six. If you weren’t going to give him a look in the one spot he may actually have success why did you trade Strome for him in the first place?
I’m excited to see what’s next. Kind of.