A few weeks ago, a report out of Finland suggested that Kärpät, Jesse Puljujarvi’s former SM-Liiga club, was interesting in bringing the former fourth-overall pick home next season. Another report out of Finland this weekend has claimed that Torpedo Nizhni Novgorod is also interested in offering Puljujarvi a contract for the upcoming season.
David Nemirovsky the HC of Torpedo Nizhni Novgorod saying they want Jesse playing for them for the coming season. Jesse’s agent stating that Jesse’s only goal for the coming season is to play in the NHL.https://t.co/SW0vZbqZ3M
— Mari Lönnberg (@LonnbergMari) April 28, 2019
Back in 2015, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod selected Puljujarvi with the 44th overall pick in the KHL Junior Draft. This is standard practice for KHL teams to scoop up the rights of highly-talented players for the chance that they end up coming back overseas if their NHL careers don’t work out. Patrik Laine was taken 36th overall in that draft and other players already in NHL systems like Juuse Saros, Esa Lindell, and Petr Mrazek were also selected. Connor McDavid was taken 77th overall in the 2014 KHL draft by Medvescak Zagreb.
According to the report, Novgorod head coach David Nemirovsky said that the KHL could be a good opportunity for Puljujarvi in his development into an NHL player.
We know Jesse’s situation. He is a young and very talented player. Maybe KHL would be a good next step for him back to the NHL. We are interested and want him if he wants to come.
Sami Mettovaara, the Director of Hockey Operations for Finland from ACME Sports, who represents Puljujarvi, denied that the young Finn has interest in joining a KHL club next season. The response was the same a few weeks ago when Kärpät reportedly had interest in bringing Puljujarvi back to Finland.
Jesse’s only goal is to play next season in the NHL.
Puljujarvi’s entry-level deal expires on July 1 and he’ll be in need of a new contract. I wrote yesterday about all of Edmonton’s impending unrestricted and restricted free agents and figured that Puljujarvi would be in line for a one-year deal with the Oilers. As I said in that post, it’s difficult to find comparables for Puljujavi’s situation. The one I came up with was Brett Connolly, the 2010 sixth-overall pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010 who got a one-year, $850,500 deal after struggling to find his footing at the NHL level.
While Puljujarvi’s 2018-19 season and NHL career thus far, in general, has been disappointing, there’s some reason for optimism that he can take a step forward next season. Puljujarvi’s season came to an end early as the young Finn underwent hip surgery, so it’s fair to suggest that he’ll be a much different player next season when he isn’t playing through a nagging injury.