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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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…

  • Oilerz4life

    Unbelievable, baffling, on and on and on, never ends.

    “We aren’t botching development anymore”, and then do the opposite.

    Crock of…. Obviously aren’t interested in doing what they say, actually.

    Sorry JP

    *bass ackwards
    *crock of s#!+.

      • VvV

        Not obc at all Puljujarvi has a handshake agreement in place or is holding them hostage. Gretzky has no choice at this point unless he’s going down to be traded. Get off the obc simple minded excuse

        • Oilerz4life

          Spare me, not as simple minded as that, I’ve read the articles too professor and I’ll stick with the general conclusion that the best place for Jesse right now is on the farm. Who are you to judge my thought process or level of education? Numb skull.

          • Oilerz4life

            When I watched Jesse at Young Stars a few years ago, he dominated the tournament.

            I’m convinced he has the NHL in him somewhere. He can play strong along the boards.

            His confidence is shot.

  • OriginalPouzar

    The roster move for the Sekera activation was always going to be one of the d-men (Manning, Petrovic, Gravel) and I’m glad the organization made the right call.

    I was assuming that Jesse would head down in conjunction with Benning being activated off IR (which I believe is imminent). It appears that is not the case which is somewhat of a head-scratcher for sure.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I would swea Jesse’s agent has a side agreement that if Jesse doesnt want to go to the AHL he doesnt have to…it sue would explain a lot of this was reached after TM left

      • SSB1963

        Only thing that makes sense. The agent should be telling the player that it is in his best interests to go down and play to build his confidence up. Also make himself more appealing if they are trying to angle for a trade.

      • Beer_League_Ringer

        Well, Dylan Strome caught fire, and Anthony Cirelli is playing well this year. Only one of those two players needed a change of scenery. I don’t know what to say, or who might be out there. There aren’t many in Jesse’s situation because every other NHL team sends their unripe prospects for seasoning in the minors.

  • 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 .

  • 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.

    • 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…

  • FanBoy

    Really wish someone from the media would straight up ask JP’s agent about all these allegations. We just wanna know if he was promised time, why he refuses, does he not understand he needs to work on his game, etc.

  • Oilersrule

    That’s what this organization has become all about, hiding reasons from the public ,scape goating a new puppet, constantly lying to the public ,confusing issues to save themselves , sounds alot like a badly run government, throwing people under the bus all the time . And people wonder why nobody plays for each other when the organization is systemically selfish protecting their own jobs. Katz is laughing somewhere with his billions made off the backs of the poor . It’s a piss poor management creating a systemic piss poor product on the ice . Any good management team should be consulting with each other and if they are not then that’s the root of poor management and if they were then they all are complicit and culpable and I’m getting tired of media owned by themselves defending their nepotism and incompetence .

    • NickL89

      Looks like you needed to get that out. I agree wholeheartedly except your last point. These ding dongs ARE consulting with each other and that’s the problem. Put 6 idiots in a room and whatever decisions get made will be idiotic every single time. I bet they struggle to pick good wines for these meetings!! We almost need a GM who lives across the continent who doesn’t have a chance to bump into one of the OBC at lunch and can just ignore calls from them.

  • 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

  • Derkus the circus

    Can somebody please tell me how keeping him up here in this pit of losing and frustration is better than playing 20 minutes a night on a winning team?. Whether hes here long term or not, his value at this point is at its lowest. Dumb move IMO.

    • Gravis82

      Because every nhl player is better than most ahl players. Playing 10min a night on the 4th line actually gives him experience against nhl players , who for the most part are still better than 90% of the ahl players

    • Axe

      This situation makes it more clear that we need a highly competent GM ASAP… While Keith has done ok with the couple of moves he has made I think this highlights the importance of bringing in a competent outside voice as the new GM because the JP situation is definitely being mishandled any way u look at it..whether it’s the oilers keeping him up of their own volition or whether they are being pressured or leveraged by the player and his agent to not send him down.. . Incompetence at its worst..