Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Irreconcilable Differences?

You can file this under things that will likely never happen, which is probably a safe bet, but if former NHLer and current 630 CHED analyst Rob Brown was King of the World, he knows what he’d like to see happen in the much-publicized impasse between Jesse Puljujarvi and the Edmonton Oilers.

While I wouldn’t hold my breath, given how one of the most bitter break-ups in Oilers history ended up – Mike Comrie being traded after a public spat with GM Kevin Lowe and later returning for the unlikeliest of encores – anything is possible. Maybe Brown is on to something. He offered his take on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer today. Pie in the sky? Maybe. Possible? You tell me.

We’ve heard what Puljujarvi and agent Markus Lehto, as well as Oilers GM Ken Holland, have had to say about Jesse’s insistence he wants to make a fresh start someplace else despite what looks like a pretty good opportunity to make his case right here. Along the way, I think we’ve seen support shift from Puljujarvi to the Oilers. Be that as it may, here’s what Brown said.

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“If I’m Jesse’s agent I’m calling him up and saying, ‘Jesse, tomorrow we’re flying to Edmonton. You’re going to hold a press conference. In the press conference, you’re going to say you know what, I haven’t been good enough the last couple of years. I take ownership of that. I want to be part of this organization. I want to be part of it going forward.

“If that means me starting in the minors, so be it. I’ll work my way up. If that means me being on the fourth line to start the year, so be it. I will earn everything that I get. I don’t deserve anything, but I want the opportunity to get it and I feel that Edmonton gives me the best chance. I will try to erase everything out of everyone’s minds about me over the last few years. I know I can be a great player and I want to be here in Edmonton.’ If I’m the agent of Jesse Puljujarvi, that’s what I’m telling him to do tomorrow morning. Anything less than that, I think the agent has failed him as an agent and Jesse’s making a huge mistake . . .” Stauffer jumped in to say, “Rob, that’s not going to happen. You know that.”

“No, it’s not,” Brown said. “But if I was King of the World for a day, I’d say, ‘this is what you have to do.’ Anything other than that is a fail, a complete fail by both of them . . . the Edmonton Oilers are a team that needs a right-handed right winger that can score goals. If Jesse Puljujarvi was to look around the league right now, there would be four teams that could desperately use his services. The Oilers would be at the top of the list.

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“This is the best place possible . . . this is the best possible situation for Jesse Puljujarvi and until he and his agent realize that and accept that, I think he’s going to be swimming upstream and he may not be playing in the NHL this year because of that.” For context, and there is more specific to Puljujarvi in the interview, the entire Brown segment is here.


I wrote just a few days ago that I thought, given the often-stated position by Lehto, that it’s inevitable Puljujarvi will be moved. I’ve also said more than once that while I think Puljujarvi is making a bad decision, it’s his decision to make. It’s his career. As it stands right now, I don’t see Lehto and Puljujarvi having the discussion Brown suggests they should. The thing is, I’ve been wrong plenty of times. Back to Comrie.

Yes, we’re talking about different personalities, different circumstances and a different timeline. Comrie and the Oilers patched things up after years, not months. That said, two sides – Comrie/agent Ritch Winter and the Oilers — entrenched in diametrically opposite positions stepped back, re-assessed and resisted the urge to cut off their noses to spite their faces, even if it meant swallowing some pride along the way, to come up with a better result. I’d have bet the farm it would never happen.

Is that possible now with Puljujarvi and the Oilers, even if it’s just a temporary case of sober second thought to get him back playing so there’s a better chance of moving him? I don’t know. While it seems unlikely, I’ll never say never. I’m not sure this can turn into a win-win situation, but as it stands now it’s absolutely lose-lose, no matter which side you find yourself backing.

Previously by Robin Brownlee

  • Rama Lama

    Color me naive but I think a phone call ( person to person) may clear up this whole mess. Given the fact JP has to go through his agent and interpreter I think there is a lot being lost in translation.

    If Ken Holland had a conversation directly with Jesse openly and honestly, I doubt Jesse would say half the crap he has been saying…….maybe this is a ploy for attention?

    • DJ_44

      I agree there should be a frank discussion between Holland and Lehto/Jesse. However, it should be Holland who can be contrite, without losing any face at all.

      “Look Jesse, I completely agree…the Oilers effed up and did you a complete disservice by how you were handled at the beginning. It was wrong. I apologize for them. It is probably not how I would have handled it. The reality is we are where we are. I believe in you, but there is serious work to be done. We believe in you, your talent, and your value. We are not trading you for less than you are worth and frankly, the offers received are not at that level. If you want to play in Europe, that is your right. If you want to re-sign hear, with a new coach, and work hard here, we want you on the team. I will understand whichever direction you choose.”

    • Canoe Ride 27

      Even if both parties could work this out, I am concerned about how the room feels about the kid. And I don’t think JP is good enough to justify the risk at this point. Let him play in Europe.

      • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        What room? Any room would be in Bakersfield. Jesse’s not starting in Edmonton without earning a spot, and the road to an earned spot goes through Bakersfield.

  • KootenayDan

    The way I see it, I really hope this is the last article about JP until he is traded to let us know what the Oil got for him. Time to move on I have so little time for young players who feel they are entitled.

    • It’s far from time to move on where the parties are concerned. How both sides handle what happens next far outweighs what has happened up until now. Both sides need to focus on here and now and what makes the most sense for everybody moving forward. And no, it won’t be the last article about this.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        Best thing for Jesse to do is stay in Europe play a ton and get teams interested in him and what he can do on the ice, cause right now teams may be Leary with all the things that have come out the last while from Jesse’ side and the Oilers just cant give him away. Play gets lots of ice time if he can and stir up interest in him and hope teams start knocking on Hollands door

        • Lazarus

          “MAY be leery” ?!?! Give your head a shake, there is no Interest in him league wide. How good does Kekalainen look now passing on his countryman to pick Dubois?

          • OriginalPouzar

            I’m highly confident there are many teams interested in him, actually, almost all teams would be keen to get him. Of course, they aren’t willing to pay what Holland is (and should be) requiring.

            As disappointing as things have developed, Holland isn’t going to trade a very high potential/pedigree player who was 20 years old when he finished last season for essentially a non-return. There is zero point in that. He wants an asset back with some worth/value. Jesse is going to have to help himself if he wants back in the NHL.

          • ed from edmonton

            The biggest impediment for JP is that he must clear waivers. I’m sure most teams would consider that there is a good chance JP will not be good enough to make their team and they may just lose him on waivers. I’m sure Holland may be thinking the same way. Even if JP shows up with the Oil would he be in the top 4 or 5 RW??

    • Rama Lama

      This is what I’m talking about…….if no one calls him up and has a honest conversation we may never know how he really feels. If after a good long conversation he is still being a baby at least we can say, “ okay we gave it our best shot”. For all we know he has interpreted past conversations inaccurately and without resolve.

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        Only Holland JP and his Agent know whats gone on in talks, Holland nor Jesse agent aren’t going to come out and discuss specifics to the media or fans. Jesse’s agent seems to speak perfect english, I dont think anyone is confused about what he has stated to the media

        • ed from edmonton

          Absolutely. If there was a significant disconnect between what was actually said and what was reported Lehto would be correcting it straight away. Iy appears to me that Lehto has been orchestrating this all summer, a little something has come out very few weeks from either Lehto or JP. This has not been an accident.

  • Ken McTippett

    The Oilers botched his development. No question. But Jesse and his agent are botching the rest of his NHL career with this trade demand. It’s just not how an unproven 21-year-old should be conducting himself in the best hockey league in the world.

    • Retired Secret Agent

      What JP and his agent have realize, is that the goofs that botched his development don’t work for the Oilers anymore. He’s, at this point worthless in a trade. So…. suck it up Finnish buttercup. Get in shape, show for camp and shut your pizza hole. If show you’re an actual NHLer, prove it. Then maybe you can be traded!!!!

      • Dallas Eakins Hair

        Obviously Jesse and his agent dont see it that way, it will be interesting if Jesse goes to another team if he fares any better especially if he thinks he doesnt belong anywhere but the 1st or 2nd line

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    As for Jesse their is blame for both sides in this picture, The Oilers for allowing a handshake wink wink agreement that Jesse didnt have to play in the AHL longer than a cup of coffee and for not finding a solution with his agent to sending him down when they knew he wasnt ready. Jesse it may seem thinks he is way too good to be in the AHL or the 3rd or 4th line which may be why he is so far behind his peers because he thinks he is top line ready and he isnt Right now Jesse needs to stay in Europe far away from the Oilers and get his game together, because his trade value is so low and where he see’s himself when he goes to a new team isnt going to help any

  • Wesley41

    This all just doesn’t make any sense to me!If all the people he will have direct contact with except 1 assistant coach are gone,why or what is happening in that locker room?I don’t know the kid personally obviously but in this day and age you can’t have your head so up your bum that you honestly think you are a good enough player at this point to demand a damn thing,so is there some personal hurt feelings or straight up disliking going on between him and some teammates or is this kid really that pampered and spoiled that he really has no concept of where he is currently in his career?

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Mike and Lowe’s spat wasn’t just because of differences of all things hockey, this was an off ice incident that turned into a real problem in the dressing room but also with the players themselves and could have really blew up into a mess, It put Lowe in a spot where he had no choice and Mike deserved to leave the team

        • So, no? If you’ve got something other than vague references, feel free to state what you know and how you know it. If any of it starts with “I heard” or “somebody told me,” that doesn’t count as first-hand information. You may know something I don’t, but I was around the team every day then and had some very honest conversations with both sides and I never once saw or was made aware of anything off-ice except Mike growing tired of being in the spotlight 24-7 in his hometown.

          • Dallas Eakins Hair

            Sorry not off the ice as in at the local pub or something like that or on Mike’s personal time, More towards some of the conversations that happened some heated some not so much with some of the folks involved

  • Vanoil

    Does it matter what Rob Brown (or any pundit for that matter) thinks is best for Puljujaarvi? Rob Brown and all other are as guilty of not being objective here. What is good for the Oilers in this situation (maximizing his trade value to collect something more than a bag of pucks on this “asset”) is obviously NOT good for Puljujaarvi. Everybody in OIL Country might honestly believe the kid is making a mistake; but he is the best evaluator of his interests and has an experienced professional assisting him in making that decision. If there is ANY other alternative which he sees as better, then by definition its a better alternative. The actual fact of the matter is his asset value is what it is. Whatever hype he might have had on the draft floor has been proven to be just that. The OIL made the mistake in taking him 4th over-all when he wasn’t more than a 2nd or 3rd round Draft pick. Now that his true value is known, the club must move on. IF they want their assets working for them producing a return, they have to exchange this asset for its current/actual value, and then take the return and put it to work. While this asset sits idle, it is not producing a return. That is called opportunity cost, and is actually a negative return. Trade him for what you can and put the new asset to work. Its as simple as that. No amount of pandering, pleading or prodding is going to change that, regardless who is doing it.

    • Wesley41

      Don’t go all revisionist history here!Jesse was the consensus 3rd overall pick some thought ever better than Laine so years later throwing horse poop out saying he wasn’t just to trash the team is bs.The Oilers have given us more than enough ammo with out false narratives!

    • Abagofpucks

      I think rob is right but jp and his agent have the rose colored glasses on.
      My feeling is he might get antsy come the end of November but i wouldn’t hold my breath and i’m not gonna lose any sleep over it either. The puck is on jesse’s stick it’s up to him whether he loses it or not.

      Now any word on Conner and his knee, is he healed up by any accounts or do we need to worry, any thought you hockey writer’s, how about doing some digging on that instead of this pj muck.

    • Dr Dragon

      He was a can’t miss prospect coming into the draft. World Jr MVP as a Draft eligible player is pretty unheard of. The Oilers like some many players before JP threw him into the fire when he clearly wasn’t ready. Any fan that watched him in the pre season in his rookie year knew he wasn’t ready for prime time yet but Chia and Todd thought other wise. The kid lost all his mojo, he doesn’t try to make plays with the puck anymore, anytime he gets the puck he just throws it at the net no matter where he is on the ice. I still believe there’s a good player in there somewhere, I really hope he gives Tipp a try to get it out of him

    • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      You can’t say these two sentences back-to-back: “The OIL made the mistake in taking him 4th over-all when he wasn’t more than a 2nd or 3rd round Draft pick. NOW that his true value is known, the club must move on.”
      How was it a mistake to take him when the Oilers did, when his true value wasn’t known? League consensus was pretty much (CBJ excepted) all for JP going third or forth. It’s not a mistake to take the player that every other team with a pick would’ve chosen.

  • billsbills

    Is Bagged Milk now Robin Brownlee?

    JP is seemingly feeling entitled to something he hasn’t earned. That’s a pretty big issue and until he eats a big piece of humble pie, he’s not making it anywhere in the NHL.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I heard this live and thought to myself “how does Brown not understand/acknowledge that the minors is not a practical option for Jesse in the near term given he’s lost his waiver exempt status?” There would be a flurry of claims. I know it was a hypothetical that wasn’t realistic but I inferred the knowledge of his waiver status wasn’t there.

    • Moneyball

      I agree there would be a waiver claim, not a flurry. Let not overstate the fact that puljujarvi is a replacement level player at best. He certainly is not worth a team making him an offer sheet of 1.4 million so we know he is not even worth a 3rd round pick to most teams. Maybe a 4th but that is what his value is, there will not be a flurry of claims maybe one from Ottawa, that’s it.

  • Moneyball

    This is a win for the Oilers. Not having to expose an underperforming player to waivers and instead getting him into Europe to develop is a win for the oil. Having to use a roster spot on 20 point puljujarvi would have been the loss. Now hopefully he can grow up in Europe and turn into a traceable asset instead of a dressing room and on ice liability.

  • Fridaydapper

    I know it’s hard for the locals but there are a percentage of people in this world that do not like your city/province and no matter how much money you throw at them or opportunity you give them they just want to leave. There is a reason why wages are higher there then the rest of the country.

      • Randaman

        Jesse has obviously not blended well within the room. Plain and simple. It’s tough to play or work within a group when there is obvious friction. That is on Jesse for not making any efforts to learn the language. Communication matters on and off the ice. He was always alone. Uber ride, skating with kids, always alone.

    • Lowe enuf

      Friend I don’t know what your angle is with this comment. Sounds like a little jealousy. Alberta’s population is pretty diverse with lots of folks relocated from other parts of Canada. Plenty choose to stay through thick and thin. Seems like a pretty dubious cause of Jesse’s troubles.

  • Gary Chalmers

    Jesse is being a baby, this shows nothing but quit on his behalf. If his agent wanted to help him, he’d tell him to train with #29. Leon went through similar things starting out but he got pissed off, and wasnt going to be kept down, I dont see that same drive in Jesse though

    • Moneyball

      I agree, except Leon showed some glimmers of real talent in his first year with the Oil. Puljujarvi has shown none of that, his best game was where puljujarvi got two grinder goals by listening to the coaches and going to the front of the net for once. But never have I seen him with breakaway, a nice one timer or. Brilliant pass or a check. He is at best mediocre with a much, much lower ceiling than Draisaitl and as you accurately point out he is a baby with no real drive to compete.

  • nbandito

    If he really wants to get traded, sign a league minimum contract, put on the big boy pants and show up for work. Tear up the pre-season against just like last year and he’d be on a new team by trade deadline. No sane manager would give us anything of value for him acting this way from afar. In fact, there should be a rule where if an RFA makes an unreasonable trade request and holds out their services they default to a one or two year minimum salary contract.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      He just needs to sign his qualifying offer to do that, but he wants a trade, he doesnt really have any leverage but to stay in Europe and play or sign the Qualifying offer, if he plays in Europe, the Oilers will still retain his rights unless they trade him

  • CMG30

    The Oilers need the player that JP was projected to be on draft day not the player he is currently. We all hope that he can still get there and I believe that it’s still possible. However, As things stand today, the Oilers are not a worse team with JP choosing to sit out, simply because future potential doesn’t mean squat when it comes to winning games right now.

    My Ideal scenario is for JP to continue to develop in Europe. When he’s sick of being on the outside looking in he can pick up the phone and let the organization know that he’s ready for another shot

  • Finnaggled

    Puljujarvi doesn’t want to play here because he knows his teammates don’t want to play with him(can you blame them? 3 years later and they still can’t communicate with him, and there are reports that he gets so lost on plays that he literally bumps into his teammmates…). No amount of different coaches, management, or bottom 6 shuffling will change that. He wants to be in the top 6, unfortunately the top 5 don’t want him.

  • RJ

    Here is a simple question: what if the issue isn’t on the ice, but it’s in the dressing room or in his personal life?

    There were reports that Dougie Hamilton didn’t fit in because he liked to go to museums. There were crazy reports of issues between Karlsson’s and Hoffman’s significant others which led to trades.

    It could be 101 things that fans aren’t privy to. If it falls into a dressing room issue or some personal issue, then regardless of the fact that the coach and GM have changed, a change in address is something he feels is best for him regardless of whether Edmonton is in desperate need of a young scoring RW, and is probably his best fit.

  • FutureGM

    JP is 21 JP is 21 JP is 21 JP is 21 JP is 21
    Sad that so many ‘fans’ have brought out the torches because Jesse is trying a method he thought would result in what he wanted. No wonder so many players get ran out of town.
    Is this tactic the best idea. I wholeheartedly believe it is the worst idea. Keep quiet, come to camp and show other teams why they should want you. But he is 21 and because he is an Oiler, therefore I will cheer for him.
    Shame on any ‘fan’ ripping on a kid that was obviously mishandled development wise. Direct the anger where it should be. At the Oilers. Don’t buy their beer, their jerseys and their….who am I kidding. Every year the ‘fans’ need a whipping boy, why not start early.
    Cause booing a guy instead of cheering him always works great 😉

    • Moneyball

      Well here is a list of 100 players around puljujarvis age that are much better on the ice and off the ice.

      1. McDavid
      2. Matthews
      3. Laine
      4. Dahlin
      5. Barzal
      6. J. Hughes
      7. Lafreniere
      8. Pettersson
      9. Provorov
      10. Byfield
      11. Werenski
      12. Heiskanen
      13. Marner
      14. Boeser
      15. Kaako
      16. Dach
      17. Keller
      18. McAvoy
      19. Boldy
      20. Hischier
      21. Raymond
      22. Hart
      23. Lawrence
      24. R. Thomas
      25. Dubois
      26. Mittelstadt
      27. Q. Hughes
      28. Borgstrom
      29. Sergachev
      30. A. Svechnikov
      31. Zadina
      32. M. Tkachuk
      33. Frost
      34. Dobson
      35. B. Tkachuk
      36. Debrincat
      37. Holtz
      38. Samsonov
      39. Kaprizov
      40. Knight
      41. Makar
      42. York
      43. Aho
      44. Necas
      45. Bedard (13 year old LOL)
      46. Glass
      47. Savoie
      48. Cozens
      49. Patrick
      50. Bellows
      51. Power
      52. Puljujarvi
      53. Primeau
      54. Kotkaniemi
      55. Chabot
      56. Vesalainen
      57. Hanifin
      58. Boqvist
      59. Bouchard
      60. Halliday
      61. Hayton
      62. Roslovic
      63. Jost
      64. Mete
      65. R. Merkley
      66. L. Andersson
      67. Kravtsov
      68. Yamamoto
      69. Guhle
      70. Valimaki
      71. Wahlstrom
      72. Kyrou
      73. Krebs
      74. Chytil
      75. R. Suzuki
      76. Oettinger
      77. Smilanic
      78. Liljegren
      79. N. Suzuki
      80. Brannstrom
      81. D. Strome
      82. Fabbro
      83. Vilardi
      84. Wright
      85. L. Hughes
      86. Greenway
      87. Steel
      88. Lucius
      89. Tolvanen
      90. Farabee
      91. Rasmussen
      92. Lavoie
      93. Broberg
      94. Clague
      95. L. Foudy
      96. Miller
      97. Poehling
      98. Thompson
      99. Smith
      100. Dube

    • Lowe enuf

      What a bonehead comment. Sure, the Management of the Oilers has some responsibility for squandering his development by not leaving him in Bakersfield. Chia pet obviously made a deal to limit his time there. In the end who will pay for it? Jesse. The agent who made this handshake deal with Pete needs to man up and tell the kid the truth. There is no easy way in to the NHL. The road to hell is paved with the carcasses of highly skilled junior prospects who couldn’t translate their dominance of Junior into an NHL career. If you don’t speak the language of your workplace you will not excel. If you don’t put recognize your own failures you can’t improve. If you don’t seek honest counsel to sort out your difficulties, you miss opportunities to rectify the situation. If you foolishly demand what you have not earned, you will be disappointed.

  • Beer

    Failure at being talented prospect, failure at being a adult. Change of scenery won’t make difference. He’s a loser through and through. Lied about his knee injury pre-draft. schemes and lies one after another. I am not even bothering to take his agent’s phone calls if I am Holland. Sue me!

    • FutureGM

      Your name is beer. But the 21 yr old has failed at being an adult. hahaha This whole statement is ridonkulous. How can someone fail at being an adult if they just became of age?!?
      “You’re a failure as a teenager!”
      “But I just turned 13. I still have 99.9% of my teenage time ahead of me”
      “You are a failure because Beer said so” lol
      Oh, by the way, he didn’t fail at being a talented prospect either. He was drafted 4th overall and high on everyones draft list because he WAS a talented prospect.
      Lay off the sauce beer! hahaha

  • Burnward

    If you take away any frame of growing up an Oiler fan these kids are getting drafted into the worst pro sports franchise of the last 20 years.

    They’ve seen top picks wasted and discarded.

    If this was another young player playing for like Arizona it’d be ” we’ll yeah, of course he wants out. Look how those clowns handled him.”

  • Harry2

    I guarantee you JP was told to shut the F up and play by the Oilers leadership group and hes sour cause probably no one has ever spoke to him like that before. Like McD said. They want players who want to be part of this team. Not entitled crybabies

  • blobbo

    He had culture and language shock when he arrived. A kid like that shows promise early. He should have been taught English early, long before he arrived in North America.

    Draisaitl moved to Canada and was fluent and culturally immersed by the time he was drafted. He still needed more development time before he made it to the big team. I don’t know what Puljujärvi was thinking when he arrived in North America so unprepared. His handlers back home failed him.

    How did the Oilers do with a pre-draft interview with an interpreter?

    • Harry2

      JP was given an english teacher and its become public knowledge that he blew off appointments and didnt put in the time. The guy is an adult and needs to take his share of the blame for the situation hes in

  • Derzie

    Has not progressed. Hasn’t put effort into getting better. Didn’t bother to learn English to better communicate with his team. Does that sound like someone who can ‘demand’ anything? Time to ignore Jesse until he is worthy of discussion (i.e. he becomes an NHLer)

  • dsanchez1973

    Well, if I was king for the day, I’d have Ken Holland and Dave Tippett hold a press conference, and say “we are desperate for scoring wingers, and we have a kid who was drafted on the potential of being a dominant power forward scoring winger. We’re going to do whatever it takes to turn him into that.”, and then follow through with a long stretch (at least 20 games) where he basically never steps on the ice without at least one of 97 or 93 with him.

    While I can’t claim to have any special insight, I’m a little tired of the “new coach, new GM, fresh start” comments. Hitchcock was pretty glowing about him, Chiarelli drafted him. It seriously feels like some lack of connection with his teammates, and the key guys in that group are all still there.