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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

What could the return be for Jesse Puljujarvi?

Last week, Dustin Neilson wrote a good piece on some teams that would potentially be interested in Jesse Puljujarvi this summer. After reading it, I started to think about what kind of deal the Oilers could make if or when they deal the former fourth overall pick.

First off, I’m completely ignoring the idea that the Oilers would throw Puljujarvi into a deal that’s strictly a cap dump. I’m certain that they wouldn’t use him as a sweetener in a potential Lucic for Eriksson deal and they wouldn’t attach him to Kris Russell in a deal to lose the defenseman’s cap hit.

Instead, I think they’ll use Puljujarvi to try to get a more proven NHLer. What could that deal look like? Well, I looked back at some past trades involving young, struggling NHLers to get a better idea.

RECENT OILERS TRADES

As of right now, Jesse Puljujarvi is three years removed from his draft year and has played in 139 NHL games. In that span, he has produced 17 goals and 20 assists, that puts his points per game (ppg) at 0.26 at the NHL level. I know that numbers aren’t everything, especially when you compare struggling prospects, but it’s really all we have when comparing Puljujarvi to other high-end prospects have been traded.

Nail Yakupov was the big one for the Oilers. The former first overall pick played in 252 games with the Oilers, posting a ppg of 0.44. When the Oilers dealt him, four years after his draft year, all they got in return was a low-end prospect in Zach Pochiro and a conditional third-round pick. That was a very small return for a guy who was just four years removed from being a first overall pick and produced almost half a point a game at the NHL level.

On July 10, 2013, they dealt former 10th overall pick Magnus Pajarvi, a second round pick, and a fourth-round pick to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for David Perron and a third-round pick. At the time, Pajarvi had played 163 games in the NHL and produced at a 0.35 ppg rate. Perron had produced at a 20 goal rate in five of his first six seasons in the league. The Oilers had to package in a draft pick to sweeten the deal, but they dealt a struggling prospect for a bonafide 20 goal scorer. That’s really solid value.

Justin Schultz wasn’t a first-round pick, so I’m not sure if he belongs in this conversation and all the Oilers got for him was a third-round pick at the trade deadline. Not a fantastic return either.

NOTABLE DEALS AROUND THE NHL

This past season, the Arizona Coyotes dealt off former third overall pick Dylan Strome, who had a ppg of 0.33 through 48 games, and Brendan Perlini. They sent the pair to the Chicago Blackhawks for Nick Schmaltz, who was coming off a 52 point season and had a ppg of 0.56 through 163 NHL games. The 23-year-old is a solid option as a middle six centre.

On June 15, 2017, the Tampa Bay Lightning dealt Jonathan Drouin and a sixth-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for Mikael Segachev and a second round pick. Now, Drouin had a much better reputation than Puljujarvi currently does and was coming off a 21 goal campaign, but that was still quite the haul for the Lightning, they got a legitimate high-end prospect and a second round pick.

On August 25, 2016, the Arizona Coyotes acquired the contract of David Bolland and prospect Lawson Crouse, who went 11th overall in 2015, from Florida in exchange for a third round pick and another conditional draft choice. Crouse had 13 points in 83 career NHL games and was used to get rid of the last three years of Bolland’s $5.5 million cap hit.

The last example I wanted to bring up was Nino Niederreiter. When he was dealt from the Islanders to the Wild in the 2013 offseason he had just two goals and one assist in 64 career NHL games. Despite that, the Isles still got Cal Clutterbuck (who was a reliable 25-year-old bottom six forward) and a third-round pick. Niederreiter was a fifth overall pick who had pretty much no success at the NHL level and he still got them a bottom six winger who can score 10-15 goals and a draft pick.

WHAT TO EXPECT

I personally think the Oilers might be able to do what the Coyotes did earlier this season and package Puljujarvi with a player like Ethan Bear or Jujhar Khaira to try and acquire a more established NHLer. If they can use two assets to bring in a proven 20-25 goal guy, then they should be all over that.

It’s clear that Puljujarvi would prefer a fresh start elsewhere and given the place the Oilers are in right now, I think bringing in a more reliable piece than Puljujarvi would be a bonus.

The reason I say pieces like Bear or Khaira could be expendable is simply based on where the Oilers currently have a lot of depth. They have a handful of strong young defensemen in their system and while I see why some would prefer that they hold onto all of those pieces, there’s only so much playing time to go around and at some point, those young pieces will need to waivers to be sent to the AHL. Now might be the time to cash in on a young asset.

Up front, they have a good amount of options in their bottom six and while I really like what Khaira brings to the lineup if getting a solid top-six winger means giving him up in the trade, I believe the Oilers should do it.

Ken Holland has some big decisions to make and when he does pull the trigger on deals he needs to make sure the deal improves the team for next season. A deal for a scoring winger in their mid-20’s would definitely do that and that’s what I think they should be looking for when moving Puljujarvi.

  • Spydyr

    He is just a kid. he has size and speed, he had a nagging injury. Just keep him. It is a shame he did not spend the last couple seasons in the AHL. If I were a betting man I would bet that if Holland was here the last few years that is exactly where J.P. would have been.

    • crabman

      I have no doubt Puljujarvi would have been slow played if Holland was here. I like the player’s tools and would hate to see him go without given another chance but if a trade is available that really helps the team now and in the future it might be time to move on. I don’t think the young D prospects are going to be any higher than now, unless they get an extended look in the NHL this year. And if Puljujarvi has another year without progress his value will be even less next year.
      I would like to see him take a year or two to play in Europe, build his confidence and grow into his frame then make his return to the Oilers hopefully a more developed player. If not, and they keep him, they need to find a good 3C for him to play with otherwise he will be another lost prospect.

    • OilerForLife

      Still not is all lost , because his trade value is so low they should do a two year value contract, and he gets a real chance to show what he can do. The hip bone growth is removed and there is nothing holding him back. I predict his trade value goes way up.

    • Oilman99

      Only Chiarelli would consider trading J.P.when his trade value is at its lowest. He is still just 21yrs.old, if he doesn’t show progress this season then maybe it’s time to bail, but there is too much raw talent there to pull the ripcord until we are absolutely sure.

  • crabman

    I’m still holding out hope the Oilers and Puljujarvi can mend the relationship and he grows into the player they thought he was on draft day. It is the time of year for hope and optimism. That said if the player really doesn’t want to be here and there was a real chance to bring in a 20-25 goal, mid 20s winger with some term. That is a deal that needs to be seriously considered. I’m fine with adding a D prospect like Bear to make that happen. I’m already in the group that would trade a D prospect for a middle 6 winger anyway. If packaging the 2 gets a better winger that would be a good deal. I would prefer to move a D prospect before Khaira. I like what he brings to the bottom 6 with size and speed and if he can figure out how to be more consistent offensively he would make a real solid 3LW who can kill penalties and be some of that functional toughness teams nees.

  • OilCan2

    Tough call. Benson was hurt in his draft year and also the next season. The first injury bumped him out of the first round. The second lowered his numbers in the Dub. THEN he is a Superstar rookie in the AHL. I would have to check the calendar but,… they are close in age. JP for 1 – 1.3 $M NHL deal at up to 3 years. He could be worth it to the Oilers at a dozen or more goals. I would move JJ and Bear for a middle 6 winger if a two for one could be found.

    • jesse says yep

      While JP may have more upside, and a higher value, Khaira is a more valuable player to the Oilers. On a cheap contract JJ could be a stalwart of the bottom 6 for a long time.

  • BR

    Keep him – send him to the AHL for a full year and put some extra coaching hours into him down there if you have to. (can we get him down without waivers still?)

    If he starts getting it, get him back up but only if can give him a legit opportunity with some good linemates and some PP time. He’s got all the tools.

    Would rather see the organisation stay patient, it is what their now preaching afterall.

  • toprightcorner

    Holland has already said he wants to resign JP and work with him. The problem is that JP, and more specifically his agent, need to agree to sign.

    There is no question about the Oilers wanting to sign him so people need to stop saying what the Oilers should do.

    If JO wants to be traded, Holland will do his best to trade him if he can get decent value. He has stated many times that if a player doesn’t want to be there, then neither does Holland

    What we need to look at and what TY is trying to do, is give an idea of possibilities of what we could get if JP won’t sign.

  • toprightcorner

    Targets:
    Zacha – NJD – they are not happen. Just had his best season of 13 goals and 12 assists. #6 overall. He has the brains and skills, just never played with good players. I would trade JP and Berglund.

    Trade for JP and Bear
    – Lindblom – PHI – 17 goals
    – Kerfoote – COL – 2×40 pt seasons
    – Fiala – MIN – 2×40 pt seasons and did not play well when traded to MIN

    Oilers may need to throw in a 4th for a few of these guys, but if you can add a 17-20 goal scorer and over 40 pts, you make that trade all day long as that is a 2nd liner on this team or an A++ 3rd liner as the team improves

    • HockeyKnowledge

      You made one good comment about jp and you got to happy and now you killed it. Fiala? Im not going to say nothing about fiala cuz thats a joke Lol.
      Lindblom? You mean the guy that scored 17 goals and 33 Points in his first full season? Oh god.
      And kerfoot is the most likely just cause hes a bit older but i still highly doubt it. You underestimate these 3 players while overvaluing our players. The guys you named are not scrubs.

    • HockeyKnowledge

      You think that 3rd pick will be better then a 10+ goal scorer whose 6’4 200 pounds as a 21 year old?
      Just cause your not a fan, doesn’t mean hes trash. He hasnt proven yet to be what hes sopposed to be. Give him 1 or 2 more years. If you do trade him, then atleast trade with a package to get a roster player. Not a future pick

  • Moneyball

    Puljujarvi Has perhaps the most overrated potential of any draft pick I have seen. Use that to your advantage and trade him, even third round pick is better the why the oilers re getting now.

  • The Perceptor

    The Oilers haven’t given Jesse a clear enough assignment. The player is with different teammates, all up and down the lines, every other game. They’ve played him like he’s on a short leash, which puts a microscope on the player to do better each game, and not make any mistakes, while following the team system. His language barriers can’t make it any easier learning and fully absorbing all that’s being said around him. All this can have an effect on his mentality, and he’s still really young. I’m not defending him either, but if I’m the Oilers this off season, I’m formulating a plan to get JP all that he needs, whether hiring a specialist to rehab his hips (there was a clip that surfaced last week of him skating cautiously around the rink) or easing him into the city, the team and the language. Make him happy, and give him a full chance, I think the upside is way too high to discard of the player at this time. With a positive off-season game-plan offered by Oilers management this summer, and the possibility of him meshing well with the new coach, it’s a good bet that he can revive his career here in the fall. A clean slate for both sides, and a new chance, together. Grow together, it’s what the good teams do.

  • hagar

    His return isnt worth the negative risk.

    Fire him up fresh, then lose him on wavers if he doesn’t get any better. Might as well take the risk at this point.

      • OriginalPouzar

        Of course he’ll get a one-way contract – which matters exactly zero to anyone but Katz – no to mention, he won’t be in the AHL as an Oiler as he’d get claimed off waivers by 31 teams.

        Trade protection clauses can only attach to “UFA year’s” so, no, you won’t see that.

  • Didn’t I read here last season that part of the problem was Jesse’s agent? He was basically insisting that he not be sent down, that he was an NHL player, not a minor-leaguer. Almost like a “play him or trade him” sort of stance. If so, that’s a tough place to put the kid. I’d love to see Pool Party’s camp agree to hitting “reset” and seeing how he develops in the Holland era, but if they ain’t happy, might as well give him a fresh start elsewhere and score something in return. We all love the kid, but it’s the business of hockey.

  • RJ

    Niederreiter is a good example of why you shouldn’t sell too early. He’s nowhere near the top ten in scoring, but he’s had 3 20+ goal seasons.

    When he’s played with McDavid, JP has produced. When he’s played on the 3/4 line he hasn’t. But nobody has playing on those lines.

    • jesse says yep

      Hasnt McDavid hinted that JP isnt someone he feels is a good fit on a line with him? If that is the case then why force it? JP’s hockey iq is questionable at best and doesnt look to be improving soon. Yes he is young but are the Oilers in a position to wait another 2 years for JP now that he cant be sent down? I dont think so

  • TKB2677

    I know he is young. I know the Oilers didn’t develop him properly. I was on Oilfans and another poster put up the last 8 years of top 5 picks. 82% of the players picked in the top 5 were either on their team immediately making an impact or were on their team 1 year after their draft year making an impact. So none of them got any development by their drafting team because they went back to junior or didn’t come over from Europe. So what the Oilers did was the norm BUT for JP it wasn’t right. He unfortunately was in the 18% that needs A LOT more development time. So the Oilers screwed up. But regardless, I don’t see JP as anything more than a 3rd liner even if he was developed properly. The hockey sense and drive to be a top 6 just isn’t there.

    So in my mind it comes down to:
    – Keep him and try to develop him in the hopes you get an effective NHLer eventually. Like they did with Yakupov. If it doesn’t work out and he can’t play, he’s like Yak and worth nothing.
    – Or trade him now to another team who thinks they can turn him into a good player. He’s young, he still has “potential” and you have the built in excuse of Chia a screwing up everything. So maybe you can get a real NHLer for him than can fill a hole for you. Right now, JP isn’t even a full time top 12 NHLer. So if you got a proven good skating, PK playing, 12 goal bottom 6 guy, that’s an upgrade on JP.

    The risk of trading him now is he is better than what you get for him. The risk of holding onto him is he continues to struggle and now he’s worthless.

  • If his trade demand is real it drives his value even lower. I almost done with European players, unless you have a vet player that can mentor from their country. Like if Yakupov played besides Datsuyk career path would be different.