With all the craziness that’s surrounding Jesse Puljujarvi this summer, I couldn’t help but feel the urge to sit down and write a letter that expresses my frustration about what’s going on. And before you complain that we’re beating this story to death, I actually tend to agree with you, just remember that we’re in the middle of August with not a whole lot going on and this is one of the only pieces of business that still needs to be resolved.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably tired of hearing about Puljujarvi being bummed out about his role with the Oilers. That said, the idea of trading away Jesse Puljujarvi for such a lame reason is endlessly annoying and needless given the position he plays and the holes on the roster. Yeah, I know the first three years of his career haven’t gone the way he’d like, no one is going to deny that, but I also think it would be premature to pull the chute and call ‘er quits without, at least, giving the new GM and coach a chance to make things right. That’s why I wanted to write this letter.
2/ if he couldn’t communicate with his players from North America how do you honestly think it went with a teenager from Finland. Jesse had his chance for a fresh start now with Holland and Tippett and he should take it, at this point he’s simply getting bad advice.
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) August 4, 2019
I’m not going to lie, this is a tough letter to have to write to you this early in your career. I still remember the day when the Oilers had the good fortune of drafting you at fourth overall, something that no one would have expected given how amazing you were at the World Juniors a few short months earlier, and thinking that you would be an absolute unit on the right side for the next 15 years. The excitement was real, my man. We had a bar packed with people and every single one of them started chanting your name — it was nuts and it was exciting. So the fact that we’ve gotten to a place where you want out only three years later is almost inconceivable to me.
Now, I’m not going to pretend to know the reasons behind your trade request, I certainly have my share of theories, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that you need to reconsider and realize the opportunity that lay ahead of you. In your own words, you want to be an NHL player with the chance to play top-9 minutes without having to worry about bouncing in and out of the lineup, and you have to be able to see that this can happen for you in Edmonton. Seriously, just look at the depth chart on the right side and honestly tell me you don’t see a hell of an opportunity for yourself there. To put it another way, which other teams can give you the chance to have Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as your centreman provided that you earn the ice time? There are none. Full stop.
Opportunity aside, I understand that you want out and that you would rather play anywhere other than Edmonton, but I don’t think the approach you’re taking is going to get you what you want. If we’re actually at a point of no return, and that is your choice after all, then you need to understand that having both you and your agent going off in the media isn’t going to help you get what you want. Your boy has been playing some kind of whiney game of chicken with Ken Holland for months now, and I don’t think that Old Dutch is the kind of manager that’s going to bow to the pressure nor do I think he car. I mean, Markus Lehto is firing arrows at the Oilers on websites and radio stations across the country, and the only thing it’s doing is making you look entitled, which isn’t a great vibe overall.
If anything, and this is just my opinion, I truly believe that speaking out as much as your camp has this summer is actually driving your price down, and that fact could be pushing the GM into letting you waste a year in Europe rather than being in the NHL where you want to be. Quite frankly, I think your best bet would actually be to keep quiet, come to camp in great shape, and bust your ass as a means to prove your worth. At this point, you honestly haven’t proven anything at the NHL level and the offers Holland is getting are probably so low that it doesn’t make any sense to move you anywhere right now. I’m telling you, man, you have to think this through. With that in mind, I wanted to write to you here and now because I think you’re making a mistake, and also to tell you that if you can manage to keep an open mind to the very real opportunity you have here then the situation could be salvageable. You just need to keep an open mind.
Now, get yourself back into town and do what it takes to go out and have a good season, buddy. Gord knows we need you.