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Photo Credit: © Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers aren’t sending Puljujarvi to the AHL

Despite rumours that suggested the Oilers would give Jesse Puljujarvi time with AHL Bakersfield to regain his confidence, John Shannon reported that the young Finn will remain with the NHL club.

When Andrej Sekera was set to be re-activated, many assumed the corresponding roster move would be sending Puljujarvi to the AHL. The Condors have been on a historic run over the past few weeks and are poised to go on a deep run in the Calder Cup playoffs. Puljujarvi has been toiling in the Oilers’ bottom-six and logic would indicate that an increased role on a good AHL team would be beneficial to his development.

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But that didn’t happen. Matt Benning went on the IR to make room for Sam Gagner after he was acquired, and Brandon Manning was placed on waivers for the purpose of re-assignment to open room for Sekera.

This is certainly a bizarre development given the fact Puljujarvi’s development is going poorly at the NHL level. Ken Hitchcock and Co. don’t trust him enough to give him consistent ice time and you can see his confidence getting lower and lower with each passing game.

Earlier in the week, Puljujarvi’s agent, Markus Lehto, suggested a divorce between his client and the Oilers might be the best path forward for both sides. According to Lehto, Puljujarvi is uncertain as to how the club views him and what their expectations are.

It’s easy to pin this all on the Oilers, but you also have to wonder if there’s something else going on here. The choice not to demote Puljujarvi when it’s so abundantly clear he needs consistent AHL playing time coupled with the comment from Lehto on Puljujarvi’s behalf “do these guys really want me here” makes me question if there’s a lack of desire from the player’s side to play in the AHL. I’m not one to rush to give this management staff the benefit of the doubt, but something seems odd here.

Maybe I’m reading too far into Lehto’s comments. Maybe the Oilers are truly just botching this situation. Who knows! All I can say, though, is that it’s getting difficult to visualize Puljujarvi ever hitting his stride as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

Another odd development is that the Oilers’ website lists Puljujarvi on the Injured Reserve right now.

UPDATE:

Puljujarvi has, in fact, been placed on the IR, and Josh Currie has been recalled from AHL Bakersfield in his place. Currie, an undrafted free agent, has 37 points in 49 games for Bakersfield. The 26-year-old has spent four years with the Condors and this is his first-ever recall to the NHL.

  • McHitch

    Never seen him deke anyone out.

    Never seen him on an odd man rush.

    Cycle game doesnt exist. Nothing going on here folks.

    Hes still young, but it doesnt look good.

        • Cowbell_Feva

          Do Flames fans actually think they are good enough to compete with the big dogs in the West?
          I honestly think the Flames will lose in the 1st round and it won’t be close. San Jose will win the division and Calgary will lose to Vegas.

          Thereby showing the Oilers, as bad as they have been, will have won more playoff series than the Flames during the decade of darkness. How bad is that Flames nation?

  • Oiler Al

    Yesse, would rather have a NHL pay check, than an AHL. Don’t know if you can salvage this guys NHL game.Right now h is game is worse than Yaks was, as a comparison [ of failure]. He plays like a giant Tim Bit, banging and chasing the puck all nite long.Totally lost. I don’t know if its confidence or hockey IQ.Many folks are pulling for this guy,but at this point he is far from NHL ready, and my never be.

  • 2centz

    I feel like Puljujarvi doesn’t want to go to the AHL and the Oilers are botching this. Pakarinen complained about the Oilers lack of communication as well. The Oilers shouldn’t be promising young prospects to be on the team. The Oilers just can’t seem to get out of their own way.

    Jesse will be traded by the deadline or loaned to Europe, but I’m leaning towards traded. This summer the Oilers will hire a new GM and a new coach, but everyone else will remain the same. We’ll have a nice little presser wher Nicholson vows the organization has learned from its mistakes and that this time they have it right. Bloody joke, we’re franked.

  • Big Nuggets

    I bet the agent makes more money if his guy is in the NHL so he is in Jesse’s ear telling him he deserves to be here. Should have been in the AHL this whole time.

  • Fridaydapper

    seems like a likeable guy and I’m pulling for him but To be honest I never seen any flashes of skill in his game, not once. Thought he be a bust after first season. Dump now while he got some value.

  • The Immortal

    So every scout /gm on the planet had this guy as a top 5 pick in the draft…and they all got it wrong? (and the blah blah about Columbus not drafting him…its not like Columbus is a great team either…)

    Sorry this is all on the oilers player development curve..or utter and complete lack of.