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.

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.


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.

  • dougtheslug

    Yakupov’s development was not messed up by the Oilers. He was just a very bad hockey player with the lowest hockey IQ I’ve ever seen. Look at what he did with 2 other NHL teams and in the KHL, where he is middling player on a loaded St Petersburg team. Puljajarvi looks like the exact same type of player, dominating as a big 18 year old and forever out his depth as a pro. Columbus GM Jarmo Keläläinen knew what he was doing when gave JP a pass in favor of Pierre-Luc Dubois in the 2016 draft ( he has 22 goals, 51 points this year). Another massive scouting fail by the Oil, not a development fail.

  • 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.

  • bcoil

    OR…. JP’s is pouting and refuses to go down to the AHL .I am starting to think we have an entitled young man who thinks that he is a whole lot better then he is .I can tell you from watching him he seems to refuse to go to the tough areas .He plays like he weights 150 pounds not over 200 . And is always winding up like Ovie waiting for some one to feed him the puck .He is not Ovie and needs to learn to play the game the right way .

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      The good news is that it is another deep draft this year (serious, no sarcasm). We are good at the lottery stuff. Maybe one day the hockey stuff too.

        • Beer_League_Ringer

          Nothing we have except players we need to keep are worth a 1st rounder. However, our last three 2nd rounders were Ryan McLeod + Oliver Rodrigue (2018) and Tyler Benson (2016). Our last two 3rd rounders were Samorukov and Skinner (2017). Caleb Jones was a 4th rounder. Ethan Bear and Maksimov 5th rounders. My point is if we are trading “NHL players” for picks there is light at the end of the tunnel, but that might never happen. Why? Because everyone from the media to the fans think that a full rebuild “wastes” McDavid’s prime years. How many times have we heard those words? “Wasting McDavid’s prime”… What do you think the rush was to begin with (dealing Hall, etc)? Until our organization gets that BS out of their heads, we are screwed.

          If you ask Connor whether he’d rather wait 4 years to build the team around him (the right way) and then win multiple cups he would say yes.

          We (and the media) are the “win now” voice that every Oilers GM and coach has to deal with daily, or else it’s abject failure. We need to follow the Winnipeg and Nashville models.

          • dougtheslug

            The “win now” desparation was at the root of most of Chiarelli’s egregious mistakes, from trading a first and second round pick for Griffon Reinhart (“jump starting the rebuild” we were told, whiffing on potentially Matt Barzal and Sebastion Aho), losing the Hall trade (a Hart trophy winner for a solid 3-4 dman because we couldn’t wait to develop our own) right up to the moronic Manning acquisition (didn’t we have ANYONE in the organization to hold the fort when 2 dmen went down with injury?) This organization has no idea when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. They all need to just walk away. Or preferably, run.

  • Jimmer

    Good Lord…does J.P. have an outstanding warrant in the state of California? There has to be a “hidden” reason as to why he can’t go to Bakersfield…sheesh! There is no logical reason why this is happening…

  • JasonY

    Poor decision by management. They should let him play down there. He is only 20 years old. The kid imo should play this season and at least half of next year in AHL. They messed up yakupov and they’re gonna mess JP as well. I’m calling BS on the whole Nicholson “over-ripe” philosophy. Just talk and no substance.

    And for the media people or so called pundits already wanting JP to be traded, I call them hypocrites. Let the poor boy head down to Bakersfield play and actually over-ripe.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      Why do I get the feeling there is some side handshake agreement that if Jesse doesnt want to go down to the AHL he doesnt have too, much like Koskinen would have to agree to go down deal.

    • MrBung

      Oilers didn’t mess Yak up. Talent finds a way. Yak did not have the strength and hockey IQ to play in the NHL. Some guys have it and some don’t. As much as the Oil mess up – or slow the development of players in certain cases – Yak was not going to be any different. He would have reinvented himself as a player and it wasn’t going to happen. The KHL is his fit.

      • Yak was probably never going to be the 1st line play-driving winger he was drafted to be, but he certainly had the skills to be a solid 2nd-line complementary player if the Oilers hadn’t ruined him. You know, exactly the kind of player the Oilers currently lack.

      • JasonY

        I disagree. The oilers have no fortitude to send these pedigree players to the minors. Never had. Even if they don’t send him down have some strength like yzerman to hold out and not be dictated by the player. Sit him out the entire year. This organization is weak weak weak as is the media. Once things turn sour for the player, everyone here think trade. Have some strength and stick with the player.

      • Alf

        You would think a scout would have picked this up……. screwing up a #1 pic and a #4 calls for a firing imo… does Messier’s brother still scout for them?? Okay then it will never happen…

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    I didnt know JJ was playing hurt all this while, I never really heard what his injury was but he is on IR now and the Oilers are sticking Jesse on IR too according to TSN??? Jesse’s is hurt? or is this a feelings thing? Something seems a little off about this