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.

        • 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?

  • TruthHurts98

    Puljujarvi has been traded to along with a 4th rounder to New Jersey for Eric Gryba and a 6th rounder. Al Bundy about to address the media stating it was a good deal. They have been going all in for Hughes and want the best chances at winning the draft lottery as always. Hughes will fix everything, that’s the unveiling of Bobby Nick’s “plan” coming to a burger stand in a concourse near you. And since the Gagner deal was ‘feel good’ moment for koolaid drinking fans they are also signing Robbie Schremp to a multi year deal in case they ever go to shootout in the coming years of this DOD 2.0 #becauseOilers

  • 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.

  • since79

    Isn’t it obvious that Chiarelli negotiated playing time with JP’s contract. Instead of a no movement clause he gave him NHL money by NHL games played. How else can you explain so little AHL development time.

  • 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 .

  • 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.