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Weekly Rumours – Puljujarvi, a trade, and the Canucks

The middle of July is not exactly prime time when it comes to rumour talk around the NHL. Most executives and players are out at their cabins, enjoying what little offseason they get before things ramp up once again.

Thankfully, Jesse Puljujarvi’s agent is continuing to talk to the media and we got both a trade and a signing in the last few days. So there is a little bit to discuss.

MARKUS LEHTO: MAN OF MANY WORDS

Jason Gregor had a great recap of things yesterday, but basically, Puljujarvi’s agent has come out and said that it’s not a guarantee that his client will go play in Europe if he isn’t traded. Of course, this comes just a few weeks after he told Mark Spector that Jesse would go to Europe if he’s not traded.

He also said that the issue in Edmonton is not in the dressing room, it’s a confidence issue. This, as you may have guessed, comes just days after he told another media outlet that despite the new GM and Head Coach in Edmonton, Puljujarvi wouldn’t come back to the Oilers because “the team” was the same. 

He seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth and I can imagine that is frustrating for Ken Holland. 

After seeing what Buffalo was able to get for Alex Nylander, a failed prospect who has averaged 0.18 fewer points per game than Puljujarvi at the AHL level in his career, you couldn’t blame Oilers fans for thinking that they should be able to get a decent young NHL prospect in return for Puljujarvi.

If Henri Jokiharu was offered to the Oilers in exchange for Puljujarvi, I would imagine that Holland would have jumped all over it.

We don’t know the reason why Buffalo was able to get something of value for Nylander while the Oilers are still holding onto their seemingly failed fourth overall pick, but I would imagine his agent continually running to the media isn’t exactly helping move the process along.

Bob Stauffer chimed in on Twitter the other day and mentioned Tampa Bay and Carolina as potential trade partners for a Puljujarvi deal. 

From the Canes, we’ve heard the name Julien Gauthier mentioned a few times and honestly, I’m not a fan of that return. I’d see rather see someone who’s a more established NHLer or a prospect with a higher ceiling.

From Tampa Bay, I haven’t heard any names but if I had to speculate, I would say that the Oilers would probably be able to pry loose one of Tampa Bays forward prospects. It depends on how interested Tampa Bay is, but Mitchell Stephens, Taylor Raddysh, or even Adam Erne would fit the description. They aren’t high-end prospects, but their ceilings are better than Gauthier’s.

I still think the most likely trade outcome is we see Puljujarvi packaged with another asset for a decent NHL player.

I still wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Puljujarvi returning to camp either. I mentioned it a few weeks ago on the Real Life Podcast and based on his agent’s most recent comments, maybe the Puljujarvi camp has realized they shouldn’t be completely closing the door on Edmonton.

VANCOUVER SIGNS FERLAND, MOVES COMING

The Canucks dipped back into the free agent pool on Wednesday, signing Michael Ferland to a four year deal with an annual cap hit of $3.5 million. They gave Ferland, a player with noted concussion problems in the past, a lot of term but the cap hit is actually pretty reasonable to me. He plays the game hard, has posted back-to-back 40 point seasons, and he’s 27-years-old. It’s not a bad deal by free-agent standards.

This makes things interesting for the Canucks though as it leaves them with just $5.8 million in cap space (via PuckPedia) to sign RFA winger Brock Boeser. In his first 140 NHL games, Boeser has 59 career goals. That works out to about 35 goals every 82 games. Even on a bridge deal, I don’t think he’ll come with a cap hit of less than $4 million.

If the Canucks want to go long-term with Boeser, I would expect he’s going to get something close to what Timo Meier got with the San Jose Sharks. 

So unless the Canucks go the bridge route with Boeser, they’ll likely need to move out a contract. 

For an Oilers perspective, the signing of Ferland likely kills any potential of a Lucic for Eriksson swap. That’s something that a lot of Oilers fans probably don’t mind at all.

THE SABRES HAVE A LOT OF DEFENSEMEN

I have to give some credit to Jason Botterill who has completely overhauled the Buffalo Sabres defensive core in a matter of months. He gave up Alex Nylander, Brendan Guhle, a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and a fifth-round pick in exchange for Brandon Montour, Colin Miller, and Henri Jokiharu. That’s some very fine GM work.

Of course, if all three of those players are going to be in the NHL to start the season, they’ll need to do something with at least one of Rasmus Ristolainen or Zach Bogosian (who will start the season on the IR).

On the left side, they have Rasmus Dahlin, Marco Scandella, and Matt Hunwick currently under contract, so they could just run with their current group of seven and then deal with the overflow when Bogosian is healthy but I could also see them wanting to make a deal before the summer is over.

On the surface, Rasmus Ristolainen matches the description of what the Oilers need. He’s a young, offensively minded right-shot defensemen. However, I wouldn’t be making a move for him.

His advanced numbers show that he isn’t quite as strong with the puck as his reputation would lead you to believe and I’m just not sure he’s worth his $5.4 million cap hit.

The other side of this is that apparently, Botterill will be looking to add a second line centre if he moves Ristolainen. The only second line centre the Oilers have is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and there’s is no chance I deal a player like Nugent-Hopkins away from a roster that is desperate for NHL calibre forwards.

THIRD ANNUAL OILERSNATION OPEN

After having such a blast over the past two years, we absolutely knew that we were going to organize another golf tourney for the summer and, after a few months of planning, we’re psyched to finally be able to launch our third annual golf tournament.

  • When – August 29th, 2019 (Thursday). Tee off at 2 p.m.
  • Where – Cougar Creek Golf Resort
  • How much – $1000/team
  • Teams – Groups of Four (4)
  • How – Book your team here

As always, a portion of all proceeds from your ticket purchase will be donated directly to a local charity. This time we’ve partnered up with the Gregor Foundation to make sure that our kids are at their most handsome.

  • Ten Long Years

    I think JP should be careful what he wishes for. Not many teams are as desperate for wingers as the Oilers. Tons of opportunity. Does he think being traded to another team will magically make him an effective player? He could go to a team with much more competition at the forward position and find himself sitting in the press box most nights. Work hard and take advantage of the opportunity in Edmonton.

    • SlovakOiler

      Exactly. Which other team needs as many NHL wingers as us?! He should be fired up and ready to go. His stock can’t possibly go lower than it currently is.
      Hey Pulju, prove us wrong that you aren’t a dumb spoiled kid. Don’t wish for it, work for it! Then your stock goes up and you have a better chance to leave asap.

          • ed from edmonton

            Agree that if JP can’t establish himself as a RW in Edmonton, he would not be able to do it anywhere in the NHL. The Oil have 2 bottom 6 RWs (Kassian and Chaisson) and that’s it for legit NHL RW. LD might play RW, but last year he was either LW or C. Gagner is a tweener between the AHL/NHL, i.e. a guy who has cleared NHL waivers in 3 of the last 4 years.

          • All Ice

            Both Kassian and Chiasson are bottom 6 options that will play higher if the oil don’t acquire a better option. Jesse has a great opportunity to play middle six and prove he is that better option. If he can. Personally think out of Brodziak and Cave, Brodziak gets buried in the AHL or goes on LTIR

        • Dean Martin

          I totally agree. You know what I have always found odd though “All Ice”? Is that Brodziak went from a 30+ point getter on St. Louis to his production here. It shows I think just how important it is to get more depth talent in the bottom 6. It would improve more than just Brodziak. One great playmaker on both the bottom lines would probably improve all our bottom 6 players immensely? just a thought. That’s just 2 players needed, instead of 6.

          • All Ice

            At his age that drop isn’t unexpected but unfortunate. One decent skater and one decent passer on each bottom six line is ideal though hard to do in the salary cap world. Personally I see this year as a write off. Even if we pick up a true top six winger that pushes those guys down the lineup we aren’t good enough to challenge for the cup. My preference (if possible) would be maroon and Boyle on cheap contracts, 2.5 mil or under and 2 years or less. That way maroon can fill in 2nd line and Boyle is the third line centre. The season after they become slightly overpaid bottom 6 with Chiasson and Kassian if he gets signed for cheap again. We come into that season with cap space, a tradeable Russel contract, enough d prospects and nhlers that it won’t need to be messed with, the bottom 6 filled out and a need at goaltender and top 6 wing. Both those are fillable with cap space. That’s a competitive team that could go further in the playoffs

  • Schmidt Head

    In most circumstances, I’d say get the guy out of here ASAP! That kind of distraction and friction does no one any good. Get whatever asset(s) you can get and move on.

    However in this case, I’d say be patient and wait. We hold his rights so he isn’t playing anywhere without our say-so. Come fall, when he’s not on an NHL ice, he may come around and be a little more amenable to giving the Oilers one more shot. If not, there are always deals to be made around training camp or in the first month of the season when teams are shaking out their rosters.

    Our odds of a better deal are better in the fall.

  • El Oilero

    JP needs to go to Europe. You can’t teach someone who isn’t humble enough to concede they don’t know. JP’s game is lacking hockey IQ. We could rehash the fact he could have benefited from AHL time but that is a sunk cost now. The issue is trade him, play him, or let him go to Europe.
    1) trading him meanings taking very little value. He has potential but his attitude indicates he won’t listen and hence learn. Other teams can see this dynamic as well so why pay a premium for a problem child?
    2) play him: he will most likely fail. He hasn’t developed his hockey IQ so he will hurt the top lines or be rarely played in the bottom 6. Then his value will drop more.
    3) send him to Europe. I like the idea of putting him on a team in a competitive league to develop his game. Also, get him an english teacher.

    To me option 3 seems best. Hopefully, he improves his game in europe, we retain his rights, he gets humbled by being knocked around in a men’s league, and he comes back in a year or two with a better tool kit.

    • Ten Long Years

      I agree Europe would be best for him, but since his agent is now suggesting he won’t go to Europe then he needs to have the attitude that a spot his his for the taking in Edmonton if he puts in the work. .

    • I agree that he hasnt panned out just yet. Butbi think the attutude problems go both ways. If hitch would have left him in the ahl a little longer last uear he might have the confidence that he lost playing limited minutes on the 3rd and 4th lines last year. He should have been part of the magic that was bakerfield last year. This is on both parties not just 98

  • CMG30

    Perhaps the time has come for Holland to have a honest conversation with JP. Let him know in no uncertain terms that a trade will only be made if it benefits the team. Then put the onus back on the player by telling him that if he has a confidence problem the best place to regain that confidence is now back in Europe and the Oilers fully support him going there for a few years. Then let him and his agent know that if they don’t like this, perhaps it would be better if he didn’t report to training camp in the fall.

  • Dean Martin

    The Canucks will be trying to unload Sutter & maybe Virtanen. Ferland seems to fill what Benning thought Jake would become… Look for a Virtanen trade this summer…

  • Moneyball

    Personally I would prefer Puljujarvi to spend a season in Europe and miss out on the NHL Paycheck. It sends a message to other RFA’s to not go the Puljujarvi route of bashing the team by trying and end run. Also Puljujarvi is not really NHL ready he can only benefit from some development time in another league. The Oilers arent missing much and will get a better return for him down the road, either through a higher trade value or a better player returning. I could see PJ returning to the Oilers sometime in march for a playoff run or the last 10 games to showcase his trade value. The same could also occur 10 games before the trade deadline.

    • Dean Martin

      Are we really sure that it’s Puljujarvi that’s “bashing the team” now though? From the last few days of Lehto’s rhetoric I am beginning to think that Jessie is just letting his agent speak… I want to hear from Jessie directly. It sound like Holland, Tippet & the Oilers have & that’s why this “hack agent” is speaking all over the place… Sounds like Jessie has little say in the matter… It may also explain why Jessie was rushed onto the team? Chia (spits) and company didn’t have the wherewithal to say no to Jessie’s agent, who seems to be trying to force his career… I want to hear from Jessie, after he severs ties with his self-centered agent.

      • Lowe enuf

        Do you speak Finnish? Jesse doesn’t speak English….. I wonder if that is part of the problem? When Jesse’s agent speaks, it is Jesse. If that is not the case, he needs to fire his agent. Although at the rate he is going, I don’t know if he will need an agent soon. Do European zamboni drivers have agents?

    • OilTastic

      Having Jesse go to Europe for a year doesn’t help the Oilers now and may not help us next year either if he comes back and doesn’t score again! I’d rather trade him and see the Oilers at least get a guy like Raddysh or Stephens from T-Bay who could be NHL ready this season or a more established player that can help us now!

      • Dean Martin

        I wouldn’t we willing to give much, if anything more than Jessie for either of those players though.
        I wouldn’t add a draft pick or any other asset. And TB does not have the Cap space to take on a bad contract with 98. This will sort itself out before the Fall & my guess is he finds a better agent… For what it’s worth, Lehto was also trying to force Olli Jolievi into Vancouver’s lineup. Their management will have nothing to do with it, as he is definitely not ready.

  • hagar

    The returns possible for jesse if I were in charge, wouldnt even be enough to beat out keeping him for spite.

    How can you let a guy go that showed so much promise, for a fourth round pick that may have a chance to play in the nhl?

    Screw him… either he learns how to play, or run him into the ground as long as we own his rights.

    How about just the precedent it sets letting someone who sucks tell you what to do?

    Now if he started playing at least half way to the ability he should be at by now, and still wants a trade, then make it so. Not now while he hasn’t earned a single thing.

  • The way the Jets handled Trouba should be the model for the way the Oilers handle Puljujarvi. The Jets weren’t offered what they wanted so Trouba was forced to play for the Jets until the right time came. Maybe he will find his game in the next couple years where you could get a proper return.

  • Derzie

    If I’m Holland, I’m not trading Jesse. Time for some tough love.

    Also, Ferland hits like a truck. Really strong guy. Will be hard to avoid playing in the Pacific.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Any team that is looking at Poolparty knows right now a trade would be a gamble because they are not sure whether they are getting that 17 yr old that could rip it up or the guys who can gain any traction in the NHL and doesnt think he is an AHL’er. Right now Poopartys trade value is so low because of poor play and his injury it really makes sense for Jesse to go play in Europe, his agent has done him no favours and made him look like a kid who if he doesnt get his way will take his ball and go home. Unless Holland packages Pollaprtys with someone else, I dont see him going anywhere soon/

    Holland still will try and move a couple bodies out to move some salary. Gusev and his dreams of a 4 to 5 mil salary dont look so good, Vegas isnt getting the offers it would like to see, teams are offering very little as I said before GM’s have the hammer right now and the longer teams and players are out there the lower their value will get, soon teams will want to start to get things ready to become cap and contract compliant and guys are going to get their walking papers because they will be a victim of the numbers and the GM’s know this and are just waiting to see who comes available

    • OilTastic

      This is why a team like T-Bay, who’s already a strong contender for a cup and will be for years to come, can take a chance on Pool, because if they can ever get this guy to score, they win the deal and he may be the guy who can help them get over the top!

  • HOCKEY83

    Jokiharu 38 games 12 points
    Nylander 19 games 6 points
    Seems dead even to me and to say Nylander is a failed prospects having played only 19 games over 3 seasons is very uneducated. Chicago will do for him what they did for Dylan Strome. Saying Holland would have jumped all over a Jokiharu for Puljujarvi trade is silly. Puljujarvi is way better.

    • NoBuBlackOPS

      @Hockey83 are you saying that JP 9pts in 46 games maybe 20pts if he played all season. Is better than a right shot Dman who got 12 in 38 potentially 25 in a full season. To suggest that JP is the better player now seems silly. JP absolutely has more potential but he’s not the better player based off of last years stats.

      • HOCKEY83

        No I’m saying Edmonton has mis-developed (if that’s even a word) Puljujarvi up to this point by treating him like a yo yo over the last few seasons and should give him a chance to play a season on a line with some skill just like Matthews and Laine got from the moment the entered the league. I was very excited when Pulju landed in Edmonton’s lap at the draft and couldn’t wait to watch him play with McDavid. No one on the 3rd or 4th line on the Oil right now are going to help this kid with his development. Both Matthews and Laine come straight into the league averaging 17 to 18 minutes a night playing with stars and Puljujarvi get 11 mins a night playing with AHL quality players and is called a bust. Look at what Mcdavid turned Maroon and Chaisson into. If he can turn those 2 hacks into 20 plus goal scorers imagine what he could do for a guy with as much talent as Puljujarvi.

  • Vanoil

    Canucks have one player slated to start on LTIR (Antoine Roussel out until at least Christmas, with knee surgery) and another one or more they can bury in the minors (Tim Schaller) if they have to not to mention burying Louis Erickson there if they want to (2/3 of $6M savings). This was old news all over the Vancouver media yesterday. They have all sorts of room for signing Boesser without moving out a contract. [A little diligence goes along way towards credibility as a scribe…]

  • Kelly Youngblood

    Not a fan of that return? Julien Gauthier 6’4 , 224 lbs, RW who put up decent numbers in the AHL last year. 27 goals 41 points. Seems like a promising prospect to me. Unless Bergevin is willing to swap JP for Noah Juulsen i’m all in on Gauthier.

  • Kelly Youngblood

    Not a fan of that return? Julien Gauthier 6’4 , 224 lbs, RW who put up decent numbers in the AHL last year. 27 goals 41 points. Seems like a promising prospect to me. Unless Bergevin is willing to swap JP for Noah Juulsen i’m all in on Gauthier.

  • Deported to Ottawa

    I’m my view his maturity is very questionable. From everything I’ve seen he still hasn’t been devoting time to learning English. If that’s true his turnaround will commence when h3 recognizes all the areas he needs to work at, including the language.