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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Puljujarvi’s Agent: “I’m Not Sure Jesse Is Going To Go Back To Europe.”

Jesse Puljujarvi’s agent Markus Lehto added another chapter to the trade talk yesterday when he went on Vancouver radio to talk about his clients Olli Juolevi and Puljujarvi.

Lehto discussed many things, but he stepped back from his earlier statement about Puljujarvi playing in Europe this coming season.

When asked about heading back to Europe Lehto said, “First off, I’m not sure Jesse is going to go back to Europe. I don’t think Jesse himself ever, or I don’t think I did, ever told anyone that unless he’s traded he’s for sure going to be back in Europe.

“What Jesse has been saying to Kenny (Holland, Oilers GM) and everybody else, and what I’ve been saying, is we just don’t think it’s going to work out any more. He could definitely benefit from a fresh start. I think he deserves a fresh start. I think he has done everything that Edmonton coaches, management…they had a plan. He went down three times to the American League. Every time he played excellent and he was brought back up, right?

“It’s very unfortunate, I think that it’s been in the media a little bit, in Jesse’s mouth there has been put all kinds of words and in my mouth too. I never actually said anything. We’ve been having a really good dialogue with Kenny Holland about the trade possibility and obviously I’ve got so many teams calling me, asking what’s going on. Obviously nothing has happened yet,” Lehto said.

He is correct that Puljujarvi never said it, but in an interview with Mark Spector a few days before the NHL draft this quote was right at the top of the article: “If he doesn’t get traded,” Lehto confirmed, “he will play in Europe next year. He will not play in Edmonton.”

Things change, but unless Spector misquoted him, which didn’t happen considering Lehto never came out the next day to say he never said that, then Lehto has changed his tune. Which is fine, we have all changed our tune at times, but don’t claim you don’t think you said it, when you did. He likely made a statement like that to get a trade moving, but to suggest he didn’t think he said it isn’t a good look. Own it.

Regardless of what he said, three weeks later nothing has changed on the Puljujarvi front, and clearly Holland is in no rush to make a trade. He will make a deal if it helps the team, and I was told the Oilers, and some other teams were unaware that Henri Jokiharju was on the table. Not every team knows about every trade possibility. I still remember many GMs seething when the Bruins traded Joe Thornton, because the Bruins never mentioned he was available. I’m surprised the Hawks would trade Jokiharju for Alex Nylander considering Jokiharju played with Duncan Keith at times last year. But I digress.

When Holland hired Dave Tippett he spoke with Lehto and he told him there would be a clean slate under the new coach and GM, but Lehto said a trade was better. That was surprising to Holland, but he’s been around for three decades so he’s seen a lot. As he said in his most recent press conference, “In Detroit we had players who asked to be traded. Some of them played in Detroit again, and others never did.”

During his interview on Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver yesterday, Lehto was asked if Puljujarvi might consider returning to Edmonton with Holland in charge.

“Well, that’s something that really kind of makes Jesse and really myself think that he should try and go back. But at the same time it’s a lot like a confidence issue here. If he goes back and all of a sudden things don’t really work out, you know, are we then in the same low point again? Which is not going to help either Oilers nor Jesse. And then what’s going to happen after that? Then for sure maybe we lose a player who definitely is an NHLer.”

Later Lehto went deeper on his concern about Puljujarvi’s confidence.

“Of course I’m afraid and worried about that and I think everybody else would be worried about that too. We all have our responsibilities towards a young athlete, right? Not just as an agent. I have a responsibility, but the teams that draft these guys too, you know, they have some responsibilities for these guys too, you know. So when you draft a guy, even if he’s a high, high, high pick and expectations are really high, you kind of have to help these guys to become as good an athlete and player as they can be, right? They need support and help. Not just like, ‘Well, we drafted you, you do whatever we want, right?’. That’s the way I see it, how it should be, right? It’s a two-way street. It’s up to the athlete too. It’s not just a one-way street,” said Lehto.

I completely agree with this statement.

No doubt confidence is a major factor in Puljujarvi’s early NHL struggles, and much of that was due to how the Oilers mishandled him. As Lehto accurately said earlier, Puljujarvi went to the AHL three times, played well, but was recalled. The Oilers really screwed up recalling him last year after he had four points in four games. They should have let him stay there for a month, maybe more, so he could regain his confidence. The argument he didn’t want to be there is irrelevant. Most players who have been in the NHL would prefer to go back rather than stay in the AHL, but what was Puljujarvi going to do? Quit?

I doubt it, so the Oilers botched their final opportunity to have him develop in the minors. That isn’t an option this year, as he requires waivers to be sent down and there is zero chance he’d clear.

My stance on Puljujarvi hasn’t changed since the day he was drafted. I wrote the Oilers needed to be patient with him. I looked at other European players and the majority of Finnish players didn’t become offensive contributors until they were 22 and that includes Teemu Selanne, Mikko Koivu and other top Finnish players.

Where Puljujarvi was drafted shouldn’t matter. The reality is only ten 18-year-old players have debuted in the NHL the past five years, which means 99% of them aren’t ready. Why the Oilers felt Puljujarvi was made no sense. It was the wrong call. And they did send him down halfway through the year. Then at 19 he started in the AHL again, but he was recalled after ten games. He’d scored five points in ten games, but only one goal. He played 65 games with the Oilers and had 12 goals, which was decent, but he never looked confident or overly comfortable.

It seemed the Oilers wanted him to be an NHL player now, regardless of how he played. It was the wrong decision time and time again.

But none of that is on Holland or Tippett. Holland has a proven track record of not rushing players, but he won’t have that option with Puljujarvi, but the communication between Tippett, Holland and Puljujarvi will be different than the previous regime, simply because they are different people.

The challenge is: how can the Oilers play to win while helping Puljujarvi regain or maintain his confidence? It is extremely difficult to do, and maybe Puljujarvi won’t ever do it here, but this situation was completely avoidable had the Oilers just kept him in the AHL.

OPTIONS…

Lehto has a right to be concerned about his client and his confidence, but at the same time he should recognize there might not be a better chance in the NHL for Puljujarvi to regain his confidence. No team in the NHL has the combination of skilled centres and a lack of proven wingers. If Puljujarvi has a good preseason and gains some confidence he will have a great chance to play with some skilled players. If he is traded to another team he will most surely have more competition for a wing position.

Things can change quickly in the NHL, and so can confidence and how a player feels within his organization. Zack Kassian wanted a trade early last year, but one never came and then he had an outstanding second half of the season.

Maybe Puljujarvi can do the same, maybe he can’t, but it seems his agent has clearly softened their stance on going to Europe.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

    • Dave Marks

      Have to admit, Pulu’s agent is doing a tremendous job of looking after his own interests … namely, keeping Pulu’s trade availability at the forefront of public scrutiny in the media. This not only reminds other G.M.’s/teams of his availability & will do nothing to hurt his chances of being traded it also puts a certain amount of pressure on Holland to get something/anything in return. Holland may or may not succumb to this pressure but it’s the only card the agent really has & he’s playing it.

        • Dave Marks

          Perhaps, but if that is the stance that Pulu & his agent take & continue to take … how can the return possibly be greater over time? He’s a dude with attitude problems, hip problems & hockey IQ problems … two of those three were significant factors with Yakupov in comparison … you happy with the return on Yakupov when he got traded?

        • Nellzo

          It may lower Hollands leverage with one player but he has an entire organization to look after. JP on the other hand takes all of his minimal leverage and throws it out the window. He’s not produced in his 1st three years and he’s coming off double hip surgery. His options are Edmonton or Europe/KHL. Since he doesn’t want to play in Europe, it looks like his options are limited. He needs to swallow his pride, be a big boy put in the work and prove he’s worth another look.

  • TKB2677

    Puljujarvi’s agent needs to just shut up. He’s not helping things. The Oilers didn’t handle JP correctly. K. Gretzky even admitted that. But there is also blame on JP as well.

    He’s unhappy with how things have gone, I get it. If I was him, I’d be frustrated too. He decided he wants out. Fine. So do it quietly. Talk to Holland, talk to Tippet and if you still want out. Ask quietly. The more attention you bring to it, the harder you make it for the team to get you. What I find really annoying is the agent and JP, the agent works for JP so he knows what is happening, decide to go public with a trade request. They make it worse by coming out and saying “either he gets traded or he’s going to Europe.” The agent said that. He said it in an effort to try to force the Oilers to trade him quickly. The problem is, Chia is not in charge anymore. Holland actually knows what he is doing and called his bluff. He wasn’t going to just trade him for the sake of trading him like Chia would have done. So now the agent is scramble mode, having to lie about what he said to save face.

    If I am Holland, I keep doing what he’s doing. Make him wait and do the trade when it makes sense.

    • Going public about the trade request doesn’t make Puljujarvi look any better, it doesn’t raise his trade value, and it doesn’t help him get a better contract. In short, going public with a trade request absolutely helps nobody and can potentially hurt everybody involved. It makes his agent look like a pain in the ass to deal with and it makes it harder to trade him and give him a fresh start. His agent completely botched the situation

      • Dave Marks

        Life may or may not get better but if it doesn’t get better they should all take solace in the fact there is life after the Oilers … Dubnyk, Cogs, Gags, Glencross, Boyd Gordon, Hemsky, Lupul, Petry, Marincin, Perron, Schultz Matt Greene, Souray & Stoll, Hall, Ebs14 , Strome all are better players for having left the Oilers…

        Free Puljujarvi!

        • HockeyKnowledge

          You can do that with every team. Half those guys aren’t drafted by the oilers either so there on like 3 other teams lists also. Players come and go but stanley cups stay. Go back to calgary or Vancouver you clown fans. 1 cup combined hahahhaa. LETS GO OILERS, CALGARY SUCKS. LETS GO OILERS, VANCOUVER SUCKS..

  • TKB2677

    What do people want to bet that since Holland called the agents bluff and he is willing to just wait until a trade that helps the Oilers happens, in a few more weeks, maybe a month the agent comes out again after the Oilers sign him to a cheap 1 yr deal and says after having more discussions with Holland and Tippet, they are confident that the Oilers have JP’s best interests to heart and are going to help him become the player he can be and how excited they are to come back.

    The agent pulled a gun on the Oilers by mouthing off for a trade and threating to leave North America. Holland didn’t flinch and told him to go right ahead. Now the agent and JP are back peddling like crazy in an effort to save face.

  • Gary Chalmers

    Jesse and his agent have become a pain in the backside, agents should never be telling organizations how to deal with players. Good riddance to both of them asap!

      • Gary Chalmers

        True, this isn’t the first time this has happened with the Oilers, the names Shremp, Yakupov and Omark, come to mind and to a lesser degree Lander. All the players, including Jesse, didn’t want to go to AHL because they thought they were too good, but they couldn’t hack it in the NHL, wouldn’t listen to the organization, moved onto other organizations, and were eventually out of the league because they thought they new better then the Oilers, and didn’t want to work, not because they didn’t have the talent.

  • vetinari

    Unless Holland finds a trade that helps the Oilers I am fine with letting Puljujarvi play in Europe or sit out a season. If we sign him, it will likely be one year “show me” contract. If he plays poorly, there is no way to send him to the AHL without clearing waivers and certainly some team will scoop him for nothing. If he plays well, it may increase his trade value but other teams know he does not want to play with the Oilers long term and won’t be opening the vault for him in a trade particularly if they think he may treat them the same way.

    • jesse says yep

      Sitting out a season would be horrible for everybody. No development for the player or his value. If that is the advice JPs agent gives him someone from JPs side really needs to step in and get him a new agent.

      • vetinari

        So what’s the trade value of an underperforming top 5 draftee? Yakupov got us Zach Pochiro (not even an AHLer) and a conditional third-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. The damage is done. His value is likely gone. Letting him play in Europe or sit out a year also keeps him off the radar for the Seattle expansion draft and off the waiver wire and gives him a chance to develop his game on somebody else’s dime in the KHL or another European league. One way or another, he won’t be an Oiler a year from now and the question is what we can get in return which is likely next to nothing based on his recent performance. I have no problem with playing hardball with a RFA who thinks he is entitled to a roster spot.

  • billsbills

    He needs to suck it up and go back and work his tail off.

    Jason, can he be sent to Europe after the NHL season starts? If it’s clear that he’s still not ready to be the impact player everyone wants him to be, what other options do they have with him?

    • jesse says yep

      JP would need a signed contract before he can even attend training camp wouldn’t he? If he signs with a European team he is definitely barred from playing in the NHL and if he signs here both parties would have to mutually agree to terminate the contract before he could head over. Maybe im way off but i think this is how it works.

  • KootenayDan

    Blah blah blah Jesse needs to put his big boy pants on and get to work and stop letting his agent speak for him it has not helped. As an Oiler fan I am tired of this put your nose to the grind stone and get after it.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    A few thoughts here…

    I’m not sure how to put this in a delicate way, so I’m just going to put it this way: I’m wondering if there isn’t a “lost-in-translation” issue between Markus Lehto and the media regarding that he and his client want. There’s a lot of “English-as-a-Second-Language” flying around here and I’m thinking that the nuance between “definitely going to Europe” and “he definitely might be going to Europe” is getting kicked up here. I listened to a bit of Lehto’s radio interview with the Vancouver station and while his English is quite good (better than Esa Tikkanen’s was at any point in his career), I’m thinking there might some turns-of-phrase that aren’t quite turning the way Lehto wants or the media understands. Nobody’s at fault for that, obviously. Just an observation.

    My other observation concerns this point made by Gregor:

    “The reality is only ten 18-year-old players have debuted in the NHL the past five years, which means 99% of them aren’t ready. Why the Oilers felt Puljujarvi was made no sense. It was the wrong call.”

    Totally true, but it’s important to further note that it takes two to tango.

    In the weeks and months after the Oilers drafted Puljujarvi, I think word was out that if the Oilers didn’t bring him over to play in the NHL, his agent was telling him not to come over, period (remember, as an 18-year-old European, he was allowed to step into the AHL unlike the CHL kids over here). No developmental year in the AHL. He’d play in Finland. But the Oilers had their hands forced (too easily), by the agent and his client. I think we can all agree, the Oilers were fairly “pliable” back then so it wasn’t too hard to force their hands, especially if they were also moonstruck by Puljujarvi’s size and raw talent. They misread his ability to step into an NHL lineup. But so did the agent. And the player.

    I still say the AHL would have been best for him in his Draft+1 and Draft+2 years (it’s such a unique opportunity to be able to send an 18-year-old into the AHL, if teams have the chance, they should jump at it), but Puljujarvi and his agent did not. Hindsight’s 20/20 but looking back, the Oilers should have called that bluff and let him stay over in Finland for a year or two.

    Not doing that “was the wrong call,” all right. But the Oilers weren’t the only ones making that call.

    • TKB2677

      The article written by Mark Spector where he quoted the agent saying he would go to Europe if he wasn’t traded was written in the middle of June. If he was misquoted, why didn’t he come out right away to say that wasn’t true? Why wait almost a month on a radio interview in another market to mention anything.

      The truth is, JP and his agent decided to play the going to Europe card thinking it would force the Oilers hand to trade him right away for anything they could get. Holland didn’t flinch and called their bluff. Now he’s in damage control mode because he and JP got caught.

      • Spaceman Spiff

        Yes, totally agree. But the thing is, unless JP hates the idea of playing in Finland or the KHL, it’s still a pretty good option for them… for now. They can “save face” by making good on that “threat,” but now I’m sure agent is realizing that he’ll need to be a little more strategic about it.

        I think the agent realizes (although I’m not entirely sure that JP does) that if JP goes back to Europe and puts up middling numbers, a “market correction” may occur, in the form of the Oilers moving on from him (but still retaining his rights) … and none of the other 30 (and soon to be 31) teams bothering to inquire on the availability of his services via trade.

        So yeah, go to Europe, play well and put together a timetable on a return to the Oilers … or its AHL affiliate. … or face the possibility of never coming back.

    • ed from edmonton

      There is no doubt that JP had a guarantee of getting enough NHL games in his1st pro year so that one year of RFA status would be used up. The Oil kept him around until game 40, the exact number required. Contrast that to LD who sent back to Jr after 39 games to preserve one more RFA year. If the Oil have not given JP the optimum chance to develop, JP and his agent and not without fault in that regard.

    • Jason Gregor

      Please show me where these “reports” of him not coming over if Oilers didn’t bring him right away. I’ve never heard that anywhere. Ever.

      And your last point you saying JP and his agent didn’t want to go to AHL. Is flatout wrong. He played more games in AHL than NHL his rookie year. And started in AHL the second year. That happened.

      • Spaceman Spiff

        I think I actually read it on this site, Jason. I’m not pulling that out of thin air. I’ve always thought that was accepted fact – Puljujarvi’s camp forced the Oilers hand a bit by giving them an “NHL-or-staying-in-Finland” ultimatum. I say “a bit” because I don’t think the Oilers brass were too hard to push over. As we all know, they couldn’t believe their luck that JP had fallen on their laps and the honeymoon period was quite prolonged in the weeks and months after his draft.

        But then, yeah, a funny thing happened on the way to stardom. When the games started for real, JP was obviously not ready for the NHL. The agent and the player both recognized that, right away, and yeah when the time came to send him down to the AHL, they acquiesced. And good on them for that.

        Where the Oilers erred was not keeping him down there for, like, a full season. Or even two. They’d call him up after he’d score a goal and an assist on a weekend and then barely play him. In my mind, they did this for the same reason a lot of teams do it – they figured he’d catch fire and take off. But I also think they did it, in part, because they were getting static from the agent and the player. “Call him up or we bolt back to Europe. We’re sick and tired of Bakersfield.”

        And yeah, the Oilers did other things wrong. Apparently, little or no English language instruction. Few, or no, Finnish teammates. For an organization famous for integrating Finns into the team, the city, and the culture a generation ago, their off-ice handling of JP was puzzling.

        But the player and agent deserve blame, too. Fortunately, it’s not too late to fix the situation.

  • Rob...

    I know Jesse has been recovering from surgery, but do we know if he has plans to get back on the ice at some point this summer, perhaps work with a skills coach as well? We keep hearing from his camp about how it’s not a fit, but unless a player is a superstar, or a coveted specialist, they should always be working on their game to improve their fit and value. It seems Jesse would benefit from living with a guy like Chiasson for a while.

    • ricardo2000

      He needs a heart transplant not a skills coach. If he had any brains he would have sought out proper weight-training advice instead of blowing up his hips. Now every team is going to question his willingness to accept coaching, his heart, and his injury history. Basically, will he be able to skate at all, let alone at NHL levels?

      • Rob...

        We’re talking about a teenager who came over with very limited english. The suggestion is that the organization didn’t get him anyone to help him with english or better acclimatize to North American culture. If he felt lost and found it difficult to bond with teammates that’s as much on the organization as it is on him and his agent. Meanwhile, Jesse didn’t perform to the level expected. Both parties could be left with ‘hurt feelings’ over the efforts of the other side, leading to the request/demand for a fresh start. Meanwhile, fans that have been f’d over by everyone from Pronger to K-low lash out over the request.

        I’m glad Holland is at the helm, and hope cooler heads prevail. He may be traded, perhaps even with the fortnight. Ultimately any decision made should be the best one possible for the team and the team’s success. Further disparaging this young man will not help in slightest.

          • Rob...

            Whether or not you think the language thing is overblown doesn’t matter, as long as he thinks it matters. To be quite frank (not Shirley), I’ve heard much more outrageous complaints from employees who thought their beef was worth finding a different employer over.

          • jesse says yep

            Where was JPs agent during all of this? If he was struggling that badly isn’t it his job to step in and do right by his client? Its in the teams best interest to do it but by no means is it mandatory to get him english training and babysit him a bit if he isn’t quite mature enough. Maybe his agent should have been more involved in his clients success..

          • TKB2677

            JP was highly touted what 2 years before he was drafted, at worse more than a year before his draft year? So he knew he was going high. If you are a high pick which he knew he would be, it’s extremely rare that a player never comes to North America to play hockey. So whether it was right after he was drafted or a year later, at some point he was coming to North America to play hockey. An ENGLISH speaking continent. So if he knew that in the near future he’d be in an English speaking continent and he doesn’t speak a word of English, wouldn’t it make sense to get started learning English prior to getting drafted? He didn’t have to be fluent but how about be functional like Laine was? How about being able to understand basic questions? After he was drafted, he went up to do an interview with the panel and all he did was stare blankly at the camera with a smile on his face. He had NO CLUE what they were saying, nothing. He couldn’t say a single word.

            If any of us were taking a job in a foreign land that doesn’t speak English and we had over a year before we went over, we would ALL take a language course in the hopes we could at least function somewhat. We wouldn’t show up to a new job in a foreign land and not be able to say basics then expect our employer to do it all for us. That is utterly ridiculously irresponsible that he and his agent did that. It shows a complete lack of preparedness and unwillingness to do the work required.

            My wife and I went to Peru years ago to do the Inca trail. We were going to be in Peru for just under a month. We took a Spanish class just so we could try to function in their language.

          • ed from edmonton

            I have worked overseas a lot, although never is a situation where I thought I would be spending the next 15 years working in a foreign land. In every case I would take the time and effort to learn at least a few basic words and phrases. JP not being at all prepared at any level for English makes me wonder.

      • OilerForLife

        The situation with his hips was a genetic bone growth- not an injury. The bone growth caused bone to rub on bone. It was painful and this is why he didn’t seem to progress in his development. He didn’t blow up his hips.

  • Moneyball

    Europe is the best option for puljujarvi and the Oilers. He was recalled 3 times from the AHL but to say he was “excellent” is a big stretch. He was never a PPG player like Draisaitl, benson or lander but did see improvement in his game. More than likely his agent bugging to oilers to get him back in the NHL and puljujarvi himself is the cause of his poor development.

  • ricardo2000

    To hell with the snot-sucking boy and his ‘truthiness’ agent. Sounds like no one in Europe is all that wild about this punk because he can’t think of the team, of exerting an effort (when not making excuses). It’s no accident that Hitchcock had him on limited minutes third and fourth line.

  • Gary

    Why not invest some time into the young man, encourage him to play in Europe, help him learn English and how our society works, he’s our 4th overall pick lets not do the Oiler thing and toss him out with the garbage. Haven’t we done enough of this before? Not only am I souring on the team, I’m starting to sour on the fan base as well.

  • JayTee

    “Not every team knows about every trade possibility” | Reminds me of when Chiarelli didn’t mention to any one that Hall was available and only spoke to NJ and OTT about Larsson and Ceci *smh* *facepalm*

  • Dave Marks

    The Oilers ruin yet another young players career to date. Hopefully for Jesse’s sake it’s salvageable if trading to a team with an inkling of how to develop young players. Sure his value is at an all time low but the Oilers are responsible for that. They need to do the right thing & free this dude even if it means taking a hit.

    Free Jesse Puljujarvi !

    • Towers-of-dub

      what’s another team going to do? send him to the AHL to develop for a season? They’d also lose him on waivers. The opportunity to develop him has gone. Wherever he ends up now he’ll remain what he is in edmonton, which is a good athlete with limited hockey intelligence.

  • Ass Eatn Szn 69

    This is on the Agent the most, than on the oilers than on the player.

    The agents insistence on the player playing 41 games in the nhl as a rookie to accelerate his contract was a disaster from the start.

  • hagar

    I dont like how jesse and or his agent are pre-qualifying a confidence failure as an option after Jesse’s return.

    How can you have confidence when you are’nt even confident in your ability to have confidence?

    If you walk around thinking bad stuff is going to happen to you, guess what, it usually does.

  • hockeyartist

    First he gets drafted by a team that doesnt have a clue how to develop players, then he gets mismanaged with bad PR to boot. Not a great start for Jesse. But if he’s smart he will come determined in and win a wing position. He has no better chance than with the Oilers.

  • OilCan2

    Good press, bad press; just spell my name right. His agent is doing his job creating publicity. Jesse is probably all in with his training and pre season games are a tremendous confidence builder. Magnus Paajarvi had a hat trick in one of his. The Oilers are a bit of a fishbowl compared to Florida teams but is Tampa Bay really an easier roster to crack?

  • Fireball

    Jesse has zero leverage. As much as he’s been mishandled he’s also had plenty of chances to perform. As the article says.. it’s not all the way he was managed. Insiders close to the team have reported that the agent had been pressuring the Oilers from day one to keep Jesse in the NHL. Of course the team should have said no. Very easy to look back and say that now. But if that is true it’s the agent himself that caused this to start with.. and following this the last few weeks, it sure fits the narrative. This has done nothing to help Jesse.. I’ll say if anything this has hurt him in more ways then one. The other side of this is His agent has undermined the New GM and made a spectacle out of the whole situation. He has weakened Kens ability to get value for Jesse ( what ever that is ). Any other GM looking at Jesse would look at this situation and say .. We would be taking a chance to bring this guy in, now there’s questions of his character along with having to deal with this Agent ! Who’s going to go make statements to the media to force my hand. Also no matter how things have went in Etown most of us remember Jesse as a lovable kid who means well.. the player who was going out to community rinks skating with kids ! A Honourable Guy.. my friends who have always viewed Jesse that way have been saying F$&@ him., F$&@ his agent.., let him go to Europe.. I am firm believer that Kenny will not trade Jesse for nothing ! If he can’t get a deal done that’s going to help the Oilers he’ll watch him go to Europe and either prove himself and increase his value ( the oilers stand to gain they own his rights ) or prove that he isn’t a NHLer. At this point the Agent has weakened Kens posistion. Now the agent is back tracking.. the Europe thing was likely never his intention. So if it isn’t and Ken doesn’t trade him ( which is highly likely at this point ) where’s he going ?? What ever negativity that was surrounding this situation in the past has increased 98 fold. He’s lost points with the coach, Players, GM, and most of all the fans.

    • Fireball

      The agent has insinuated that there’s a rift in the room., with the Different coach different GM “ same team “ comments. I’m sure that rift never got better. I’m pretty if this would had been handled privately they all could have saved face. Ken would had let it be known that Jesse was availabile ( which I’m pretty sure most teams have been asking long before now ) if he couldn’t pull something off and his intentions were really to go overseas, they could have passed it as Jesse is coming off injury .. can’t play in the A because of contract and is going to go back to Europe for a year to holm his skills. If that was never his intention then Jesse could come to camp, do his best, everyone would had supported him and he’d have a chance to prove himself which likely would lead to him either settling in or getting moved. Now I’m not sure what they can do ?? Fire the agent .. blame it all on him ., build a new relationship and move forward ?

  • Neilio

    Sometimes being that high draft pick is the worst thing that can happen to your career. A good agent should know that if his client isn’t ready to blow the doors off as an 18 year old, they should opt for staying put where they are for another year. JP was done no favors by the Agent or the team, or himself for that matter. But what wisdom is a kid supposed to draw on, if all the Adults are making bad decisions?

  • toprightcorner

    Lehto taking making this a media negotiation with Holland is a huge fail. Holland will not be pushed around, other teams don’t like agents that behave like this and it also puts a bigger spotlight on Jesse that he doesn’t want.

    Does Lehto realy think bluffing not playing in Europe will help his client? IF Hollnad doesn’t trade him, is he just going to sit out and not play and make it even harder to get traded? If JP is not traded, the best thing for him as a hockey player is to go back to Europe, gain confidence, increase your value, prove to other teams that he can be an asset to their team and greatly increase the chances of getting traded. That is what is best for JP long term, if Lehto forces a trade and he still struggles, JP’s NHL career might be over. Like Lehto said, all sides need to do what is best to help JP and trying to force him to play in the NHL next year is not likely the best for him