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Photo Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Landing Spots for Jesse

If anyone in this market is qualified to write about Jesse Puljujarvi leaving, it’s me, because it breaks my heart. He is the hill that I decided to die on after he scored 13 goals, seeing limited ice-time, as a 19-year old during the 17-18 season.

Many people believe he won’t be in Edmonton to start the 2019 season, but I’m still holding out a glimmer of hope that Ken Holland and Dave Tippett believe in his potential and are willing to work with him because he does need work. As a guy who wants to see Puljujarvi find success here in Edmonton, I’m most concerned about TSN’s Bob McKenzie saying on TSN 1040 that while Puljujarvi wants to remain in the NHL his preference would be to do it elsewhere?

You know how the saying goes, if you love something, set it free, if it returns it was meant to be but if it goes on to score 20 goals elsewhere, blame everyone.

Here are five destinations that may be a fit if the Oilers do decide to give up on the former 4th overall pick:

CAROLINA HURRICANES

This team really pops off the page and has been brought up pretty much every single time JP is mentioned.

The biggest positive for both the player and the Hurricanes would be that he’d be joining a team full of young Finnish players. Sebastian Aho not only starred alongside Puljujarvi at the World Juniors but also grew up playing with him in the Kärpät organization. If there was any player in the league Puljujarvi would feel comfortable being around it’s Aho.

The Hurricanes have already had success bringing in a Finn from another organization. Carolina traded for Teuvo Teravainen after he had mixed results with the Hawks.

They also recently signed 2017 2nd round draft pick Eetu Luostarinen who started with KalPa in Finland this past season. I had a chance to watch Luostarinen at the Spengler Cup and was very much impressed. I think he could develop into a solid second line centre for the Canes.

If one of the issues with Puljujarvi is his inability to fit in among his North American teammates Carolina would be the best place to try and make it work considering they are being driven by a pair of his fellow countrymen.

MONTREAL CANADIENS

The Habs are somewhat similar to the Hurricanes as they already have three Finns up front. Jesperi Kotkaniemi impressed everyone in his 18-year old rookie season, Artturi Lekhonen is close to becoming an important piece of secondary scoring while Joel Armia flys under the radar as a versatile forward.

With young forwards like Ryan Poehling and Nick Suzuki in the pipeline, the Habs could add Puljujarvi to a young group of forwards that could end up leading the franchise to success.

The one area of concern for JP is that if it doesn’t work out in Montreal he will be hit even harder by the Montreal media than he has by a few members of the media here in Edmonton.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

The Hawks just scored a huge victory with a player in a very similar situation to Puljujarvi. Dylan Strome had not be able to accomplish anything at the NHL level with the Coyotes, less than Puljujarvi.

Strome was drafted 3rd overall in 2015 and ended up playing just 48 games with the Coyotes picking up seven goals and nine assists along the way. Strome was given more opportunity in Chicago and made the most of it by putting up 51 points in 58 games.

The price to get Puljujarvi would be cheaper than it was to acquire Strome and for that reason, I could see the Hawks at least taking a look at it.

NEW YORK RANGERS

The Rangers find themselves in a position where picking up Jesse Puljujarvi, at a reasonable price, could make a lot of sense.

New York will not be contending any time soon but they do have a pretty good group of young forwards that Puljujarvi could compliment nicely. Kaapo Kakko will become a Ranger later this month joining Vitali Kravstov, Lias Anderson and Filip Chytil as the future core of the club, and if Puljujarvi finds his stride in the NHL, he would fit in very nicely with that group.

BUFFALO SABRES

The Buffalo Sabres need to find a way to generate more offence. They were in the bottom third of the league in goals last season which was probably the key reason they decided to give a long term deal to Jeff Skinner.

Ralph Krueger was the bench boss in Edmonton when Nail Yakupov led the team in goals with 17 as a rookie. Could Ralph be the man to get Puljujarvi’s career on track? It may be worth a try for the Sabres.

WHAT’S THE RETURN?

I didn’t get into individual returns because I wanted to leave that up to you guys in the comments. I do wonder if the Strome trade is something we could reasonably expect from Holland as well. Could the Oilers package Jesse and another young forward for a player in his mid-twenties who can give you top six minutes? I’m not sure Holland can get that done but it would be the easiest type of deal to swallow for Oilers fans. Feel free to suggest any trade suggestions involving the five teams above. I’ll do my best to completely destroy all proposals in the comments section.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:



  • TruthHurts98

    I would be a big mistake to get little in return for him or even trade him without getting something substantial back. I like him and hope he stays. Both Neely and Brett Hull took quite a while to get going and the teams that gave up on them still regret it. Not saying he’s of that caliber but he should be a 30 goal scorer at some point.

    • TKB2677

      I agree with you that his trade value is really low but what do you do with him? It’s pretty clear he needs more development time to even be a full time NHLer. They can’t send him to the AHL like he needs because they would have to waive him first and they’d lose him for sure. So that means you have a player who’s not NHL ready and needs more development time. But the player and agent have it in their minds he’s NHL ready and it’s the teams fault he hasn’t done well. So the coach has a player who it’s blatantly obvious isn’t ready for the NHL but you can’t send him to the minors, so you try to play him in the lower lines in limited minutes and try to hide him and hopefully he can figure it out while you try to develop him all while having the pressure of the organization and the fans to play to win. So you don’t play him a ton because you want to win. This pisses off the player because he thinks he’s better than he is. He thinks he should be in the top 6, getting PP time. So his confidence drops, he sulks and plays even worse because he thinks the team doesn’t value him and is screwing him over.

  • TKB2677

    I am not dying to get rid of JP. On paper he has EVERYTHING the Oilers need. I firmly believe that the Oilers are at fault for a big part of his problems but I also think that JP shares a bunch of blame as well. Something is up with him and I don’t think he has done all he needed to do.

    I do seriously wonder though what he is. As I said, the Oilers are to blame for a lot of the issue but a 4th overall shouldn’t be as far off as he appears to be. Typically those guys drafted in the top 5 are either NHL ready or within a year ready to go. So the amount of development the team has to do for those guys to be NHLers is pretty minimal. It’s clear JP pulled the wool over the Oilers and a lot of other teams eyes because he looks like a player who is drafted in the second round or later who needs multiple years before he is an NHLer. So what concerns me is the appearance that he needs at least another year or 2 more of development before he’s even a full time NHLer which they can’t do in the AHL anymore without losing him on waivers. So now you have a non NHLer on your team. Plus it really appears and there have been rumblings that part of the reason that JP doesn’t get all the playing time that some fans think he should be gifted is the players themselves do not want to play with him because he’s so far off and clueless. Some fans keep saying “put him with McDavid” well if McDavid says no way, it’s not happening.

    • TKB2677

      If you can get Ehlers for Jesse who’s not an NHLer, Bear who’s not an NHLer yet and if he makes it, he is mostly likely just a 3rd pairing PP specialist and a 2nd for young, fast, proven 20+ goal, top 6 winger who’s signed. I’d do that all day long.

  • Die Hard Oiler Fan

    I still remember doing fist pumps non-stop for about a month after JP fell to us at #4. While he and his agent may not have helped his development (i.e. did his contract stipulate that he had to play immediately in the nhl ?), I still say the stunted development to date is heavily on the Oilers. Last year apparently some agreement was reached whereby Jesse would spend time in the AHL, however, after only four games, new coach (Hitch) brought him back. The kid has been bounced all over the line-up, and very quickly moved down to the fourth line (or bench) the moment something went wrong. We have a new GM and new coach who are preaching STABILITY – something neither this team, nor Jesse has had. Do whatever it takes to persuade Jesse and his agent to give it another try, even if only for a year. Then either get a third line center that has some offensive capability (cannot expect development from JP if he is playing with a 3C who is playing over his head), or alternatively a good LW2, and have him on the 2nd line with Nuge. Given the way things have gone so far, option one is probably best to start. And for gooness sakes, enough with the “blender” (constant line juggling). STABILITY !! Save Jesse !

  • The future never comes

    I watched him closely for the past 3 years as did much of you. He is very perplexing, but I am thinking he just does not have the I.Q. Not sure what percentage is having low confidence versus just not containing the smarts. At the end of the day, confidence or not you should know the basics of how to properly manuever the ice.

    • billsbills

      https://thehockeywriters.com/jesse-puljujarvi-the-next-ones-2016-nhl-draft-prospect-profile/

      “Just look at his masterful performance at the World Junior Championships that saw Puljujarvi win Top Scorer, MVP and most importantly, a gold medal. His 17 points in 12 games at the Championships paced Finland. He was the best player on the ice at both ends. His awareness and hockey IQ really stand out as major strengths.”

      Stop with the low hockey IQ BS. This guy was second only to Jagr in points by an under 18 player in WJ.

      This is a communication issue. Let’s be clear. It was widely noted that TMac didn’t communicate with his players. He said almost nothing to them. Hitchcock communicated in a way that most players wanted to smack him with their hockey stick.

      There is a player there. Loan him to the KHL or SEL for a year. Get some confidence and have fun playing the game again.

      • Moneyball

        I think this tournament was a total fluke, Kind of like Jesse’s first goal as an Oiler (Where he fell down and aimlessly shot the puck on net). He never dominated at all in the AHL and at best was a mediocre player. He has not had any stellar performances in the NHL where you go wow that was a pass, shot, breakaway, play etc.. that most players could not make. Rather you see a whole lot of nothing from Jesse. I would love to get Caggiulla back for him.

        • billsbills

          He’s played a total of 53 games in three different stints in the AHL and has 37 points including 15 goals Considering his being handled like a yo-yo, I would say his AHL numbers are fine.

          Not sure how you could say otherwise but obviously those that had him challenging to be the first overall pick, were total idiots and you’re much much smarter.

          • Moneyball

            I agree I am much smarter. However Jesse was never challenging for the top draft pick. You may recall that his stock was dropping due to an injury he has late in the season and as a result no one had a real good look at him. The Columbus gm was trying to move down as pj’s stock was dropping fast. His AHL numbers are mediocre st best and not what you would expect from a top draft pick. What would Laine or Mathews do in the ahl for 1 year? That’s the company you are putting Jesse in.

  • hagar

    There is no correct answer right now for Jesse, only options on ways to go, then the future decides if the right door was chosen.

    He is a gamble at this point. Do you wait to see if he bounces back after surgery and turns into a great top 6 forward? Do you trade him now because he cant be sent down in the event he comes off surgery as bad or worse than before, and the only option left is wavers?

    I think it’s a 50/50 call personally.

  • Kevwan

    How about we stop trading players when their value is at an all time low.

    Play JP in a top 6 role and on the PP. If you want to trade him pump up his stats first. It’s just common sense.

    • ed from edmonton

      So the object of the 19/20 season is not to win games, it to “pump up JP”. This is the same logic Yak proponents used a few years ago. If there is a concern that McD much be getting tired of losing, think how he might think a bout a team that isn’t trying to wins games, but putting JP’s development ahead of team goals.

      • Kevwan

        A 3rd rounder for a former first overall pick? I can’t find a 1st overall pick that was traded for less after 4 or 5 seasons like Yak was (including Daigle and Lawton). Had Yak gotten time with Connor I doubt the return would have been so low.

        If Jesse is only worth a 3rd round pick next summer then let’s see if that can be improved on. It doesn’t sound like he has much more value than that now.

    • Quoteright

      How does this get down voted?
      It’s called asset management.
      Don’t trade players because they want to, only trade players when it bennifits the team.
      The only players being talked about being traded on the Oilers should be Left handed defence. That’s it for depth.
      Anything else we trade is considered garbage so not worth trading.
      Give Holland and Tippy time to install stability and then wait for others to ask for trades.
      Stop starting from a disadvantage.

  • ed from edmonton

    If the Oil can get a roster forward for JP, they have to give it serious consideration. The author suggests JP plus X for top 6, maybe JP for a middle 6 is also worth considering.

  • wiseguy

    So Bob Nicholson gets a promotion… why??? Chairman instead of vice chair and CEO? Is it because of the fantastic results on the ice? Who is Tom Anselmi and how is he going to make the team better if he was with the woeful Senators last year?

    • crabman

      that is what I would like to see happen to but the player would have to agree to this. If Puljujarvi truely believes he is an NHL quality player and ready to contribute in a teams top 6 he isn’t going to agree to playing in Europe instead.

  • TKB2677

    Right now, while the value for JP isn’t high, I think there is still value where you might be able to get a decent prospect or bottom 6 player for him. Teams may look at the physical package, look at where he was drafted, the chalk it up to Chia and the former management screwing him up. Chia left a mess so it stands to reason that JP was caught in that mess. But once he plays this season under a new GM who has as much street credit as Holland would have and new coach and if he continues to struggle. He immediate goes from a untapped player who the team mismanaged to a questionable NHLer.

  • 0W-20

    Suggest a big hockey trade with the Ottawa Senators as follows:
    EDM sends Sam Gagner (C/RW $3.15M), Andre Sekera (LD, $5.5M), Kris Russell (LD, $4.0M), and Jesse Puljujarvi (RW, RFA-TBD) moving $12.65M of salary plus whatever J.P. gets.

    OTT sends J.G. Pageau (C, $3.1M), Mikkel Boedker (LW/RW, $4.0M), Dylan DeMelo (RD, $0.9M), and Anders Nilsson (G, $2.6M) moving $10.6M of salary.

    EDM realizes $2.05M of cap savings for 2019-2020 season, gets a legit 3C in Pageau, 2nd/3rd line winger in Boedker, gets a 1B Goalie that had limited success in EDM previously, and a serviceable 3rd pair RD that can be buried or flipped on the cheap. Boedker had success under Tippett previously in PHX, Pageau/Boedker/DeMelo will be UFAs next year so no long-term cap implications plus they will be playing for new contracts and motivated.

    Ottawa needs salary to reach the cap floor and JP is the equivalent 4th overall draft pick sent to CO and young asset earned to take on the Sekera/Russell/Gagner contracts. Of
    course getting Sekera & Russell to waive their NTCs is the sticky wicket for Ken Holland to navigate but this would be a great way to unload 3 players that aren’t producing at their paycheck while restructuring the cap.

  • CMG30

    The JP situation is really tough. This is yet another player who could easily move somewhere else and find success. He can no longer go to Bakersfield to develop so if the Oilers keep him they’re going to have to find him minutes on the team. I guess we hope that his hip condition was holding him back more than we realized and now that it’s fixed he’ll set the league on fire…

  • Boukalz82

    I would not trade JP yet if it’s me but if player has said he wants a trade or will go to KHL what do you do.. I think Carolina makes a lot of sense.. the guy I want off that roster is Justin Faulk. I know you can’t trade a player under control like JP for one year of Faulk but value is going to be low on JP.. maybe they throw in rights to talk to Mrazek or Ferland? I would like to see Faulk and Sekera back together as our second pair. I would rather keep Kelfbom and Nurse on left side but nobody is taking Sekera without a sweetener and we have too many other bad contracts to get rid of first. I would keep Nurse and Sekera and maybe move Klefbom for a top six winger (Huberdeau?). An outside the box name I have not seen suggested for JP would be Josh Ho Sang. Just can’t seem to get an opportunity on the island maybe there is a deal there? I would also keep Russell and move Benning for Conner Brown if that deal is still there. However priority number one has to be clearing cap space (Lucic..). Or none of this happens..

  • Fireball

    I wouldn’t trade him. I’d sign him to a two year cheap cheap deal ( as that’s all he’s worth if he’s a NHLer at all ) but I think the issue is he doesn’t want to be here anymore. I can hardly blame the kid. There’s been plenty rumours that he’s not liked by Connor and Leon or at least he’s not apart of the click. I could see this being true as McLeo want to play together and JP, if playing well would be the obvious fit for McWing. I thought Leon was hanging his lip low to start the year because he wasn’t on McWing. I sure hope that isn’t true as it should be about the team and not the individuals. In the end if JP doesn’t want to be here anymore there’s nothing any of us can do to change it. I think the only way to maximize a deal with him is by adding something in a multi player deal. Maybe it’s a Russell n JP, Benning n JP, Sekura n JP, a forward n JP, or JP n Picks. I think JP straight up isn’t going to get you much of anything at this point

  • OilTastic

    I’d still like to see if the Oilers could get a prospect like RW Julien Gauthier for Carolina for Jesse, though we are likely looking at a 2nd round pick instead as teams are going to try to get him without giving up a roster player.

  • El Connor mcdaddy

    I think we are unfortunately destined to lose this trade. We have no idea what JP can turn into, and right now he has shown to the NHL that his max potential is a third line scoring winger, getting 8-12 goals and 25-35 points. His trade value has never been lower. On the other hand, there is a chance that the right team mates (Aho, Kotkaniemi, Kakko) can bring JP back to his tournament MVP status that we saw in his world Junior year in 2016. I think if there is a trade that can get us a usable, cheap forward we probably should do it, or if we can use him as a sweetener to get rid of the Lucic contract, I think we have to do it. It sucks that we could be sending a potentially great winger away for practically nothing but it will hopefully allow for us to loosen our cap restraints, and possibly get a winger that can play with Connor for a few cheap seasons.

  • NickL89

    I think the “he’ll have more success playing with other Fins” thing is a little overblown. Just because they are from the same country doesn’t mean they are friends or even like each other. There’s plenty of fellow Canadians who I would hate to be stuck working with!! Maybe he wants to play somewhere with a beach? Maybe he wants to play somewhere with more girls with tans who have southern accents? We don’t know what he “wants” and honestly I don’t care. The kid has a contract, time to be a big boy and play his hardest so when UFA time comes he CAN pick where he plays. Bottom line is, players that perform well get the privilege of picking where they play. He hasn’t earned that yet so this “agent whining to the press” garbage needs to stop.

  • ROILYDoGG$

    So Dusty mentioned how Strome struggled as a rookie in the desert, then turns a corner ( as he gains experience )
    Chicago trades and plays him …. magic he starts to produce !!!
    So we do the same and like always watch the player flourish elsewhere because we have no patients???Insanity. Like how many players have we done this too, Schultz, Petry, Cadjuila, Dubnuk…
    maybe keep him till he plays past 22 years old and see what this kid can do. The issue is we never played him 2 years straight in Ahl before even having this conversation. Keep him develop and build up his confidence.

    • TKB2677

      Here is the thing. It took a trade before Strome turned the corner. It wasn’t happening in Arizona and even though there is no way of knowing, I have my doubts he would have been the player he is if he stayed. It often takes a trade to shake these players up.

      You list off some past Oilers players. Of your list, only Petry is the one player I think the Oilers should have held on too because he was decent when he was traded. Schultz was horrible as an Oiler. He went to a stacked Pens team, played on their 3rd pair, got sheltered, had one really good year, got overpaid but he has been able to become a serviceable NHL dman. Does it happen on the Oilers? I doubt it.

      Cogliano is the worst example. He was drafted in the first round as an offensive player. On the Oilers he wanted to be an offensive center. The Oilers TRIED to turn him into a 3rd line winger because they saw he couldn’t play center. He refused to buy in. They traded him to the Ducks. The Ducks IMMEDIATELY turned him into a 3rd line winger. He accepted the role and excelled. He hasn’t been a offensive center EVER in the NHL, he’s a good 3rd line winger. So how do you fault the Oilers for doing what needed to be done but the player refused to buy in so they dumped him.

  • D'oh-ilers

    Puljujarvi is currently in Edmonton rehabbing. If I’m Tippett or Holland, I’m making a point of talking to the kid, seeing where his head is at, explain to him his role with the team in 19/20, what he could do to improve his role, and see if there’s a way to get him on board with the organization’s plan for him.

    The player he is today would be a perfect fit on the 3rd line, with the potential of moving higher up the line-up based on effort and performance. If he’s willing to accept the role and is willing to put in the work to improve, then you’ve got something to work with and less reason to trade him for pennies on the dollar.

    If you talk to him and he expresses no interest in returning to Edmonton, he’s unhappy with the role offered to him, or if the organization doesn’t feel he’s a good fit long-term then go ahead and trade him for the best return possible.