Early this morning, a Finnish hockey site kicked a hornet’s nest when they reported that Jesse Puljujarvi could be signing with Jokerit Helsinki of the KHL with an announcement coming as early as today. As it turns out, the team did reveal a couple of new players (Antti Niemi and Sami Lepisto) but Puljujarvi’s name was not among them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it couldn’t happen in the future. So what’s going on? Let’s break it down together.
Looking at the reports and tweets that were coming out this morning, my first cynical thought was to wonder if using Jesse Puljujarvi’s name is just an easy way to draw in clicks. We all know that he’s struggled in his time as an Oiler and that he’s in line for a new contract this summer, which paves an easy path to the idea of him leaving for greener pastures. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Puljujarvi wouldn’t ever want to leave Edmonton, I could certainly understand why he might want a fresh start somewhere else, but I also don’t see any reason why he couldn’t get that here since we have a new coach and GM in town. Would it really be that tough a sell to tell the kid that Holland and Tippett are going to give him a clean slate to succeed when Chiarelli and McLitchcock would not? It’s possible.
The club has been acquiring Jesse Puljujärvi from Edmonton Oilers. Jokerit will hold a press conference today at 11:00 am, where the club will publish two major player contracts, Antti Niemi and, most likely, Jesse Puljujärvi. Antti Niemi’s contract with Jokers is known to be two years old and Jesse Puljujärvi’s contract would be one year long.
First of all, there were a couple of issues with this premise with the biggest being that Jesse is still under contract with the Oilers and wouldn’t be able to sign anywhere else for another few weeks. Second, his agent told TSN’s Darren Dreger that Jesse is in Edmonton rehabbing and training for next season with the NHL being his first choice. Again, those two points don’t necessarily mean that Puljujarvi will be back with the Oilers come October, there is certainly plenty of smoke surrounding a potential exit, but it does lead us to believe that he’d rather be playing in the big dance rather than in the KHL. Will that be here in Edmonton? Who knows — we’ll have to wait and see.
League sources have recently suggested trade remains a strong option as well. https://t.co/VbnLLnOLm2
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 5, 2019
Sportsnet’s Mark Spector also revealed chunks of his conversation with Puljujarvi’s agent, adding fuel to the fire that a trade could be in the cards while also leaving the door open for reconciliation.
Agent also said that perhaps a new coach and new GM could mean a fresh start for Puljujarvi in EDM. My bet? He will be dangled this summer. We’ll see if there are any takers.
— Mark Spector (@SportsnetSpec) June 5, 2019
Clear as mud, right? Yeah, I thought so too. Of course, and I’ve said this before, a player’s agent is literally supposed to do what’s best for his client and that includes lying to the media if need be. If he says that Puljujarvi wants to play in the NHL then I would tend to believe him, but I also wouldn’t bet the farm on it either. Put it this way, would you be happy if the guy that takes a percentage of your paycheque would be unwilling to tell half-truths and whole lies to a reporter that’s calling for confirmation on a rumour? Of course not. That’s why I have a hard time buying completely into what agents say when it comes to their client’s future plans. For all we know, Lehto could be using the media to leverage a bigger contract for his boy. Maybe he’s using this rumour as a chance to gauge interest from the rest of the league? Maybe it’s all bullshit?
Anyone that reads this website and follows the Edmonton Oilers knows that the start of Jesse Puljujarvi’s NHL career has not started the way we would have hoped. After getting drafted 4th overall, I think many of us expected Jesse to step into the NHL and contribute right away, something that hasn’t happened all that much in the 139 NHL games he’s played. Now, from where I blog, I would also put some (read: a lot) of the blame on the organization after crowbarring him into the league long before he was ready. So, to me, complaining too much about a 21-year-old not being ready for primetime is kinda like cracking an egg into your mouth and wondering why it’s not scrambled eggs. For me, this lack of success is on the organization for mismanaging his career and also on Puljujarvi for not finding ways to work his way out of it. Not every player is going to develop at the same rate, and I think that we all could work on remembering that a little bit before we get set to pull the chute on such a young guy.
That all said, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Puljujarvi rocking a different jersey next season. With the way things have been handled so far, I could understand how either the player or team would want to move on. At the end of the day, the Oilers need to win more hockey games and if Jesse Puljujarvi can be a part of making that happen either as a player or trade chip, then that’s what needs to happen. At this point, I don’t think anyone reading this cares more about any specific player not named Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl than they do about actually making a playoff run. All we know for sure is that Jesse Puljujarvi did not sign in the KHL today and, if you take his agent at his word, that doesn’t appear to be in the immediate plans… probably… maybe. I guess we’ll see.
PULJUJARVI’S NHL CAREER SO FAR