Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Despite KHL interest, Jesse Puljujarvi’s agent confirms client’s goal is to play in the NHL

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. 

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.

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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.

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  • JasonY

    The worst thing to happen to JP this year was Hitchcock. Management had done the right thing to send him down to the AHL. After only 4 games in which he played well, Hitch was able to convince the bunch of incompetent hockey minds in this organization to send him back up to the NHL where he continued to struggled. I hope the next person who comes in knows that JP is still young and that one full year in the AHL is the only way for him to develop properly. He is still young enough that all is not lost.

          • OilerForLife

            When a player is reassigned from the NHL to the AHL, they must pass through waivers (unless exempt). Waivers allow any of the other teams to claim the rights of the player.
            In the previous CBA, waivers were required when a player was recalled to the NHL (Re-entry waivers), these no longer exist under the 2012 CBA.
            Age is defined by the following CBA 13.4:
            If a player turns 18 between January 1 and September 15 in the entry-draft calendar year preceding the first season of the players entry-level contract, they are considered 18
            If a player turns 19 before December 31 in the entry-draft calendar year preceding the first season of the players entry-level contract, they are considered 19
            If a player turns 20 before December 31 in the entry-draft calendar year preceding the first season of the players entry-level contract, they are considered 20, and so on.
            For players whom are 20 or older, the year in which they play their first Professional Game (e.g. NHL, AHL, ECHL, KHL, European Leagues) is the year which is considered their first year towards the waiver exemption; however, the player must be under an NHL contract.
            The following table indicates when a player is no longer exempt from waivers. For example, a skater who signs their entry-level contract at 18 will become exempt after playing 160 NHL games, or after 5 seasons (whichever comes first)

            There is an exception for 18 and 19 year olds:

            If an 18 or 19 year old skater plays 11 NHL games or more, the year exemption will reduce to 3, and the following two season will count against these 3 years regardless of games played.

            There is an exception for 18 and 19 year olds:
            If an 18 or 19 year old skater plays 11 NHL games or more, the year exemption will reduce to 3, and the following two season will count against these 3 years regardless of games played.

            Jessie played 28 games at 18 years old, they burnt the first year of his entry level deal. Cap friendly calendar will switch to next season soon where it will show him no longer exempt.

          • OilerForLife

            Sorry I intended to delete the unnecessary parts before I posted. Jessie’s birthday is on May 7th he’ll be 21 on his third year of his entry level deal.

        • Serious Gord

          Such a quandary.

          Signing him to one year means he’s an FA amiright?

          If so and he flourishes some other team could swoop in and grab him next year.

          So either sign him for a longer term or not at all.

    • CMG30

      Hitch was brought in to win. Looking through that lens who else did he have? He had to hope that JP could get his feet under him if he was fed a steady diet of hefty minutes. I agree that it’s never too late to do the right thing for the player and that’s probably a year under the radar in the AHL

    • Moneyball

      The odds of Connor flunking out in the NHL and going to th KHL is small, hence why he was drafted 77th. Puljujarvi was much more likely to flunk out of the nhl hence he was selected 44th.

    • cityofchampions

      I was going to say that drafted 77 is actually pretty high for a player who will almost certainly never play there. Then someone brought up the lockout scenario. I think that if Connor played anywhere in a lockout scenario (and I doubt that most high-paid players would play elsewhere due to the risk of injury, unless they were going back home to Europe/Russia) it would be somewhere in Europe rather than the KHL.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Poolparty as I said before wants to play in the NHL his agent wants him to play in the NHL but not for the Oilers if he could make it happen. Pooparty and his agent are going to be looking for a one way contract and the Oilers are either going ton have to give it to him or give him a two way with a guarantee what he make in the NHL he makes in the AHL, I dont see Pollparty’s agent not demanding that

    The catch 22 is waivers, if Jesse doesnt have his wheels going and he gets sent down on waivers , I doubt he will make it thru, which means the Oilers lose him for nothing but a future claim on him. The Oilers options of Jesse isnt working out are a trade which Jesse’s agent wanted last season. So If I am the Oilers I make him a 1 yr offer with just the basic qualifier with an option, and see how he does, if he isnt doing great, try and trade him or make a deal to loan him to play in Europe, or if the Oilers can find a trade partner they could trade him to another NHL team but they wont get much of a return. They are kind of over a barrel here, yes they retain his rights, but if they cant come to a deal on how much and the options to Jesse playing, then let him play in Europe and gain his confidence and play. I honestly hope that Jesse gets his confidence and plays and has fun like he did in the preseason, it would benefit him and the Oilers that he does well.

      • Randaman

        Exactly. Jesse hasn’t exactly lived up to his billing. Too much pressure? So sorry you couldn’t handle it. No guarantees of ice time or even playing in the NHL. Trade him and let’s move on from another first round disaster

  • Abagofpucks

    I wouldn’t be upset if he wanted to play in europe, in fact it might be what he needs. And we still own his rights, so if he furthers his development there great see him later.

  • Jimmer

    Trade him to the Hurricanes so he can be with Aho and Teraveinan and Saku Maenalanen in “Little Helsinki.” Take Martin Necas straight up. Necas can play centre and RW and can flat out fly. He will be a very good NHL player.

  • OilCan2

    How about three years for $4m total? He is young enough to improve every year. Start him in the Condors line up next year and move him to stay in the NHL when he gets rolling.

    • OriginalPouzar

      Jesse won’t sign for just over $1M AAV with term – he will sign for that AAV on a one-year deal.

      There is zero chance he’ll play for the Condors next year – because he played 11 games in his “18-year old” season, the amount of accrued years to lose his waiver exemption deceased from 5 to 3 so he is now subject to waivers. There is no chance he’ll be exposed to waivers as there will be 30 claims for him.

      He will likely sign for one year aruond $1.5M (a pedigree bump) and he’ll be on the Oilers.

      The key will be for the new coach to give him consistent minutes with consistent linemates – whether its the 2nd or 3rd line, he needs to be able to play consistently and get comfortable with his game.

      • QuitForRealThisTime

        May end up taken in the Seattle expansion If the Oil cannot convince Lucic and Sekera to waive no NMC. Although I assume they will have not issues waiving as they will not get selected anyway.

        • OriginalPouzar

          Sekera’s trade protection is gone prior to the expansion draft – no worries there.

          I would imagine that Lucic would waive his NMC so that we do not need to protect him. Seattle wouldn’t take him, of course, but at least we wouldn’t be obligated to protect.

          If, for some reason, Lucic won’t waive (or if the league does not allow for such waivers) the, unfortunately, he would need to be bought out (which is a terrible scenario given the structure of his contract and the buyout) – at the end of the day, there is no way that Lucic will actually be protected, I’m fairly confident of that.

          • QuitForRealThisTime

            According to Cap friendly Sekera “Starting 2019-20, lists 15 teams he can be traded to.” would this not mean if he does not have Seattle on his list he can’t go there?

      • Randaman

        He has no game to get used to. 6’4”, 210+ and he rarely hits. Skates in circles and not straight lines, has a muffin for a shot when he doesn’t fan on them all together. Trade and move on. Yakupov won’t be back in the NHL either. Poor scouting and the owner meddling.


    Having watched JP the last two seasons I’m not convinced he has the hockey IQ to warrant a guaranteed NHL spot on the roster. He has a good shot, can make good passes, and has the right body size to create space for himself but I don’t see the on ice play recognition to succeed at the NHL level. He should have played at least a season and a half in the AHL to learn the North American play style. Players who can think the game tend to find roster spots to fill over those who have the physical tools but lack the intelligence. JP needs to start using his body to separate pucks from players and get himself some time to make the right plays. We’ve all seen that he can shoot the puck (although he doesn’t have a quick release it is heavy), he can make nice passes on the rush and in zone when he has space, and he has a good defensive stick, but the positioning and play recognition isn’t where you would like for a potential top 6 RW. If you can convince him to sign a two-way bridge deal and have him spend half a season in the AHL before calling him up I’d be ok with that, but if he is demanding to play on the NHL roster I’d try moving him for a legit top 9/bottom 6 right handed winger and a pick or two.

    • cityofchampions

      JP can’t go to the AHL as he won’t clear waivers. I’d try to sign him to a 2 year bridge at about 1.5M so we don’t lose him for nothing after this year. I’d give him until the trade deadline this season to see what he can do, and consider trading him from that point onwards if things aren’t working out in Edmonton. I still retain some hope that he’ll figure it out and become the beast that we all thought he’d be after he was drafted.

  • OriginalPouzar

    With respect to Sekera and his trade protection, sorry, when I said “his trade protection” is gone, I was referring to his No Movement Clause which falls away this summer. He will have a modified No Trade Clause but a NTC, as oppossed to a NMC, does not require the organization to protect the player.