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Photo Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

TEN TIDBITS: Jesse Puljujarvi Edition

Another chapter was added to the story of @Jesse Puljujarvi on Tuesday when the 4th overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft signed a one-year deal with Karpat in the SM-Liiga. The deal Puljujarvi signed will allow him to return to the NHL prior to December 1st if a trade is made or the player has a sudden change of heart. Here are a few tidbits on the current situation, his past and his future.

INTEREST GROWS

I found it very interesting that Oilers President of Hockey Ops Ken Holland told both Ryan Rishaug and Mark Spector that a few new teams have reached out to show interest in Puljujarvi. It gives me hope that a deal may still end up happening before the puck drops on the regular season.

THE ASKING PRICE

I believe it was Rishaug who suggested that if the offer for Puljujarvi is nothing more than a single draft pick that selection will still need to be a first-rounder. Holland is apparently also willing to accept a player ready to step into a top-nine role and an additional pick, an ask that I think is more likely to lead to a deal.

PRODUCTION WITH MCDAVID

It’s been widely speculated that Connor McDavid didn’t really feel like JP was a fit on his wing, which I’m fine with but I do think that leads us to forget that the big Finn was dangerous with the captain at even strength. During Puljujarvi’s three years playing alongside McDavid he produced at a clip of 2.06 points per 60 at five-on-five, as far as players on this current roster go nobody had a number greater than 2.06 this season with the exception of Leon Draisaitl.

Just this past season Puljujarvi had a CF/60 of 70.99 with the captain, the best total of any forward on the team that played at least 40 minutes at 5 on 5 with Connor. When you watched them play together the chemistry didn’t appear to be there but the numbers say otherwise, it’s a weird study, for sure.

IT’S ALL IN THE HIPS

Puljujarvi did manage to score 12 goals in 65 games as 19-year old getting limited time in the top six and on the power-play in 2017-18, a respectable total for a teenager, so what happened this year? I was told that Puljujarvi spent a good portion of the first half of the season complaining about his legs not feeling well.

The sense I got was that the coaching staff simply pushed this aside as regular soreness following games, which I totally get, but when the player has to have surgery on both hips following the season it leaves me wondering if the complaints should have been taken more seriously. 

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

I do believe that it looked like not just Puljujarvi but an entire second line was getting on track last year when he was playing alongside Nugent-Hopkins and Jujhar Khaira. The line showed some flashes prior to Khaira being suspended and HItchock never went back to them when Khaira returned to the lineup. I will always wonder if those three would have been able to become something.

A PLACE TO DEVELOP

Not only will Puljujarvi be joining a powerhouse club in Finland he will also be joining a team that has allowed young players to become a big part of the offence. Last season Panthers 2nd rounder Aleksi Heponiemi returned to Finland as a 19-year old after putting up huge numbers in Swift Current and finished with 46 points in 50 games for Karpat. Los Angeles Kings 2018 first rounder Rasmus Kupari was also a key contributor for Karpat last year finishing with 33 points in 43 games.

TIKKANEN CHIMES IN

The best part about this is that Tikkanen describes himself in his Twitter profile as “LEGEND”. I’d agree.

LAST TIME HE WAS THERE

Puljujarvi spent 1.5 seasons playing for Karpat in SM-Liiga prior to being drafted by the Oilers. As a 16-year old he put up 11 points in 21 games and followed that up in his 17-year old season, and draft year, with 13 goals and 15 assists in 50 games.

WHAT ABOUT THIS YEAR?

I reached out to a source in Finland to ask him what the expectations will be for Jesse in his return to Karpat and the answer was a simple one, “he could start slow but should be a dominant player in the league by the middle of October.” The regular season begins on September 12th with Karpat facing HPK.

THE BEST OF TIMES

Let’s wrap up with a pair of goals against the Flames, even if one of them went in off his leg. You’ll notice he was on the ice with McDavid for both of them.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:



  • Gary Chalmers

    He’s not the one that got away, as he is a bust, Matthew Tkachuk is the one that got away. Jesse doesn’t have it, will be nothing more then a boarderline 3rd liner.

    • Ken McTippett

      His own countryman passed on him. That should have been a red flag. He probably had inside info. I’m thinking Jesse has the talent, but may be uncoachable.

      • VvV

        It’s not like Fi knish players are scarce in the NHL, a Finish GM passing on a finish player means f all. They passed on him because they wanted a center. Or wait it’s probably Kevin Lowes fault too

          • Rugbypig

            Ken,
            this set of statements has been said many times on this site:
            Most thought he’d go third, but the Columbus Blue Jackets wanted a centre and selected Pierre-Luc Dubois. Many in the hockey community felt the Oilers caught a break when Puljujarvi was available at fourth overall.

            Picking him wasn’t a mistake.

            How they developed him was.

            So . . . . . they wanted a center . . . . . . . guess Ken knows now . . . . . .

  • SylarHRG

    If JP is the Top 6 NHL player he believes he is (at his young age), I would assume he doubles his number from when he was 17. Is that fair? 26 goals and 30 assists in 56 games. I get his league isn’t “easy” and the numbers are completely different. But he BELIEVES he is a dominant Top 6 NHL forward. Anything less in my mind is a failure and truly shows what this kid is ACTUALLY capable of. Prove me wrong JP.

  • Hemmercules

    Rishaug is living in a fantasy world if he thinks a team will cough up a first round pick for Jesse at this time. Any team would have a better shot of just using the pick and getting a useful player. I think at best you get another teams failed prospect with some potential upside. Let him stew in Finland, maybe he has a good run and gets them that first round pick in a trade eventually.

    Add the sore legs thing to the list of reasons why JP wants to get away from this organization. Seems like neither side was a fit from the beginning. JP didn’t have the motivation to improve himself and the Oilers didn’t have the motivation to help him a little more along the way. Hopefully they cut ties before the season and put this all in the past.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      I agree with the first part. I don’t see how he changes that value playing in a lesser league. If he stays there the entire year, his value will be even less next summer.

    • VvV

      The year after his draft year Sebastian Aho had 45 points in the Lliga. I believe they only play 45 games. A lot of European leagues leading scorers have less ppg than North american leagues. It’s just from the way the game is played. They also don’t count 2nd assists as frequently

  • Gordie Wayne

    I would love to know exactly what his complaint is and why he can’t suck it up, shut his mouth and just play hockey. He had the perfect opportunity with a new GM and coach and a wide open crack at a top six job, but obviously he doesn’t want to work for it. He just wants everything handed to him. Sounds like a spoiled brat to me.

    • Blackadder

      If, as is reported here, he spent the first half of the season complaining about soreness in his legs, was told essentially to “suck it up princess”, and then required surgery, I can kinda see why he might not want to return. Not saying that’s the main reason he won’t come back, I have no more actual information than anyone else here, but it’s not like the Oilers don’t have a history where injuries are concerned (Sheldon Souray).

      Really hope he can regain some confidence in Finland, flash some of the talent that had him rated in the top 3 in 2016, and we can get a decent return for him either at the deadline or next summer.

      • Ty Guy

        There has to be a concern here as well that he doesn’t play well, has continued hip problems and his stock drops even lower than it is now…thats really going to hurt.

      • Moneyball

        You are forgetting that the Oiler doctors told him he couldn’t play and needed surgery. Stubborn puljujarvi didn’t believe them and got his own doctor to tell hi the same thing. Sounds like bother puljujarvi thing Nd not the team.

  • Ken McTippett

    The kid likely wants to play for an American team. Way less pressure than playing in front of Edmonton’s angry fanbase. You’ve got to have nerves of steel to play pro hockey in Canada.

    • Oilman99

      Even give him a full season to show what he can really do, before pulling the chute on him. Maximum return is the target if he really doesn’t want to return to Edmonton, maybe they can recoup a first round pick for him if he shows he can become the player they thought he could be.

  • Consultant

    Both those goals he went to the net. Then his reach takes over. Honestly he could be the perfect winger for McDavid by depositing all the rebounds. Such as shame. I still think he will end up scoring 30 plus in the NHL (in a year or two) but the sky was the limit with potentially being on Connor’s wing. Impatience led to some very bad decisions for Jesse.

    • Oilman99

      Maturity, and a questionable agent contributed massively to this situation. The guy showed flashes that he could be a horse, and dominate play, but no consistency.

    • CARLSOTO

      He was the perfect player type to play on McDavid’s wing. He’s big, right-handed, can skate well for his size, can make good passes and has a decent shot. All he had to do was listen to McDavid and play how McDavid wanted him too and he could have put up 70 points if he played right and was there for the whole season. If he used his body to create space and played tough on the boards and in front of the net he would have fit well on the first line. However, we all have played with that one guy who only wants to do what he wants and that just doesn’t make for a good teammate.

      I can understand him wanting out if the Oilers poo-poo’d him regarding his leg soreness; nobody wants to work somewhere where they ignore your well-being. That being said, it seems fishy that Oilers didn’t have access to medical information regarding his hip issues, they should have been able to see medical charts from Finland when they drafted him. From what I’ve read you don’t just wake up one day with sore hips because the joint is deformed.

  • hagar

    The trees are turning color, NFL season is about to start, training camps in nhl starting to get things ready.

    Summer is great, but this is my favorite time of year. Can still drive summer vehicles, still bbq and watch sports on the deck, it’s the perfect little time between summer and winter.

    Go Oilers!!

  • TKB2677

    My concern with JP is right now he’s worth not much. If the Oilers could have got anything useful, he’d be gone right now. So I believe for the Oilers to have a chance of getting anything useful, he had to absolutely light it up in that league. I am talking over a point per game. Based on everything I have heard and read, the team he is going too is one of the best teams in this league but the league itself might not even be on par with the AHL. So if he is putting up like 33 pts in 43 games, that doesn’t jump off the page because in theory if he is as good as he’s supposed to be, he should be able to dominate.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      Best thing Jesse can do is go and light it up and play a ton of minutes, because if he really wants a trade he needs to show teams that he can play to drive interest in making a trade for him. Holland just needs to stand fast and wait and see how things go

  • FutureGM

    “He is a very skilled player but in Edmonton you just need to have something more. Believe me, I know”
    What a strange comment from Tikker
    Thick skin for media and fans?
    Foreign boys don’t get a fair shake?
    Any thoughts on this? Would love a media fellow follow up

    • Neilio

      I think he means that you can’t just be a flashy player in Edmonton. If you bust your butt every game, the fans love you. Oilers fans are critical, but its because they’re paying attention. They pick up on everything. Effort and attitude are perhaps more important here than in most other places. I don’t think it has anything to do with being foreign. We’ve always got foreign players and prospects that we’re excited about.

      • FutureGM

        Good call, that makes sense to me. Although I think thick skin would be an asset. 20 articles on this guy making a pretty standard decision. With every single author for the site making an article can we officially call this the peanut gallery? Haha

        • Neilio

          Thick skin is an asset. I’d think its a requirement to be any kind of public figure. Particularly for sports. If you want all of the good parts, you need to be able to deal with the bad parts too. I think the Canadian players kind of know what to expect, but also I think they’re coached in how to deal with off-ice things more than other places. I don’t think JP has gotten any good advice in his young career as far as that goes.

  • Ken McTippett

    Hahaha. I love Esa. He was always one of my favourites back in the day. He was a great interview. Sometimes he was impossible to decipher, but he was never not entertaining!

  • Rob...

    Imagine an alternate universe where instead of coming out and demanding a trade there was just a joint press conference this summer where Jesse and Ken came out and said that after a successful surgery Jesse was going to spend the next year playing in Europe to test the impact on his game and hone his offensive skills before rejoining the Oilers; secret agreement in place that if Jesse blew the doors off he’d have the opportunity to rejoin the big club and fight for top 6 minutes, or he could be traded if the right offer came along.

    • Neilio

      I’d like to imagine an alternate universe where JP’s agent told him he’s in no position to demand anything. And that his best chance to become a top 6 winger is with the team that drafted him. Also to have told him that you make your issues known quietly to the GM, so that everyone still has options. Imagine all of these trade demands were never public, and he had a presser and said the surgery went well and he’s looking forward to showing what he’s got. Then Holland has got a bargaining position to work from. It hasn’t poisoned the well. Everything JP and his agent have said and done, has made it harder to actually get what they want.

  • VvV

    The year after his draft year Sebastian Aho had 45 points in the Lliga. I believe they only play 45 games. A lot of European leagues leading scorers have less ppg than North american leagues. It’s just from the way the game is played. They also don’t count 2nd assists as frequently