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Targets in Tampa

The Tampa Bay Lightning have emerged as one of the teams in the mix for Jesse Puljujarvi, who scored in his Champions League debut with Kalpa on Friday.

As was discussed earlier in the week, Ken Holland’s asking prices appear to be set. If a team wants JP and is only willing to part with a single pick it will likely have to be a first. Holland is also apparently willing to accept a player who is ready to play a top nine role and an additional draft pick.

Let’s take a look to see if the Lightning have the assets in place to pull the trigger on a Puljujarvi deal.

DRAFT PICKS

The draft pick compensation would not be an issue for the Lightning. With the two exception of a 5th rounder they have all of their own picks in 2020 to go along with a conditional 1st from the Canucks in the JT Miller trade. Tampa also has the Red Wings 4th round pick in 2020 and the Senators 6th rounder.

I would be shocked if the Bolts are willing to move a first round pick for JP, even if it is likely to be a pick that falls near the end of the opening round. They may be willing to move their own 3rd round pick considering the Red Wings 4th rounder will likely only be a few spots behind.

PLAYERS

The only option I see possibly being available off the current roster of the Tampa Bay Lightning is Cedric Paquette. When you look at the Bolts line up Paquette likely is slated to begin the season as the 4th line center behind Stamkos, Point and Cirelli.

He’s a 26-year old who played over 65 games for the first time in his career last season. In 80 games last year Paquette finished with 13 goals and 4 assists. He makes 1.65 million for each of the next two seasons before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2021.

Paquette could slide right into the third line centre role on the Oilers between Markus Granlund and Alex Chiasson.

PROSPECTS

The Lightning do have a couple of prospects the Oilers may be interested in but I’m not sure they fit Holland’s criteria of being ready to step into top nine minutes.

Alex Barre-Boulet

Barre-Boulet absolutely blew up in his final season of junior hockey and carried it over to the American Hockey League last year. This 5’10 center signed with the Lightning as a free agent following his 20-year old season in the QMJHL, a season in which he scored 53 goals and finished with 116 points. He followed up that sensational effort with 34 goals and 34 assists in 74 games as an AHL rookie.

Boris Katchouk

Katchouk was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft and now has a year under his belt in the AHL. It wasn’t an overly productive season for the former Soo Greyhound as he finished with just 23 points in 75 games. I see Katchouk having third line upside in the NHL but not anytime soon.

Taylor Raddysh

With 46 points in 70 games Taylor Raddysh, a right winger, had a much better rookie season than Katchouk. Raddysh is a former teammate of McDavid having spent a year together in Erie. I’m not sure the Lightning are ready to move Raddysh after just a year in the American League.

Mitchell Stephens

The 33rd overall pick in 2015 now has two AHL seasons under his belt. Stephens played 32 games in Syracuse last season and finished with 24 points. He’s a center who has kind of been buried on depth chart in the Tampa organization.

BUT WHY?

Here’s a question I can’t seem to get my head wrapped around. Why do the Lightning want Puljujarvi? Why would Tampa want a player that fans in Edmonton say has no heart, no work ethic and isn’t committed to learning to play the game in North America? The Bolts are a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, yet they apparently have interest in Puljujarvi. The only thing I can think of is that Tampa GM Julien BriseBois was a big fan of JP in his draft year and blames the Oilers for the players struggle. If BriseBois thinks the Lightning can put Puljujarvi in a position to succeed he may also be willing to pay Holland’s price. I’d still have the Hurricanes as the best fit as a trading partner but the Lightning certainly are intriguing.

Previously by Dustin Nielson:



  • CactusJr

    “Why would Tampa want a player that fans in Edmonton say has no heart,…” do you think nhl GM’s consider what fans think of a player? Especially Edmonton? We run players out of town like it’s a religion….

  • The Rookie

    I’m not interested in either of those prospects and I think I’d still rather have the Center out of Ottawa. But who knows what’s available for
    What…

  • CMG30

    Better to let him sit in Europe for a while. If a quality player comes back in a trade we will likely have to protect that player in the expansion draft. Truthfully I don’t know if we will need to protect jP or not if he’s playing in europe.

  • The Swarm

    Wait. Then wait some more. Plenty of wingers will get hurt between now and Dec 1. Someone will over pay for our 4 goal man. This is not Holland’s first rodeo.

  • Bob Lawblaw

    Patience, ON – I think this one should simmer for a while. If Tampa (and other teams) are interested already, they’ll be even more interested if he scores a few more.
    Maybe he’ll light it up on another team, unfortunately it’ll be a team that lets him be “lead dog” or close to it, so I wish him luck with that. Maybe the next english lesson should be ‘ There is no “I” in “team”.
    I trust Ken Holland with whatever decision he makes and I haven’t said that for a while.

    Go Oilers Go !!!

  • hagar

    That hip surgery would have to be some kind of magic for jesse to slide into the top six in the bolts line up, that team is stacked up front, and jesse demands he starts playing again in the nhl as a top 6 forward.

    He would probably look like a kid starting his first year of hockey in bantam.

  • Bond 0097

    Jesse has contributed all he is going to for us, which is not much so let him stay over there. As injuries and dashed expectations pile up in the nhl his stock will go up a bit, then with any luck maybe we can get some sort of a return out of this failure. Yes I saide it failure, because anyway you look at it the whole JP fiasco is a FAILURE. The only innocent person is KH and the new coaching staff. When does sideshow Bob get held accountable and FIRED?

  • Burnward

    Straight up: why would any other franchise not think their crew could do a better job of development?

    The Oilers are the worst we’ve seen…ever?

    This is almost certainly why he has so much interest.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      LOL shouldn’t you be more concerned the sell off that is coming so Value Village can sign turtlechuck and whathisname…oh wait forgot it’s all good you guys signed Talbot in free agency and ..oh wait that was it…

      • Lazarus

        Well we all know Coil Country won’t be turning the piggy bank upside down for your draft pick in that year.. Pool Party won’t be costing you a lot will he..lol, thanks for the pass on Chucky Dilly

    • Lowe enuf

      There is truth to what you say… but how does that square with the Lames lack of success? You would think that with the Oilers no longer ragdolling you guys every year that the Lames would just be perrennnial cup contenders all of those years. Boy I will bet you had some amazing cup runs year after year……

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Holland does not have to rush into any trades, Jesse is signed with his team in Europe, yes he has an out, doesnt mean he is going to use it unless he gets traded, If I was Holland let Jesse play in Europe play lots of minutes and hope he put up points and drive interest in him up, there is plenty of time to find a deal and no need to rush into one

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      Schultz isnt a bad player, the problem, here was he was logging too many minutes against decent lines. College players do not play 82 games, the NCAA only plays I believe around 35 or 40 games plus playoffs and Schultz could handle that, but he was playing too much and way too many minutes and it was effecting his play

      The Oilers should have cut down his minutes and managed his games better. When he got traded to Pittsburgh, they dropped his minutes down, put him on the 3rd or 4th pairing and Schultz did fine. The Oilers could have done that as well but for some odd reason chose not to, why who knows.

  • billsbills

    Not really interested in any of that. A fourth line center that would likely be lost either as a UFA or the expansion draft. Besides I’m sure Tampa wants to shed salary. Brayden Point is going to eat every penny they have.

  • hockeyartist

    The fans dont really have any idea who or why PJ wants to leave, including myself. I still think there’s more to this story, maybe he has good reason but is keeping it within the organization. Maybe he isn’t at all what the fans think, that would explain why Tampa would be interested.

    • RJ

      To me, it’s the only thing that makes sense. With all due respect, he wants to play in the top-six and the Oilers have one of the weakest group at RW anywhere in the league. He has never played for Holland or Tippett so there can’t be any bad blood. If you read what he’s asking for, his best opportunity to play 1RW or 2RW is in Edmonton, but he wants a fresh start. There must be more to the story.

    • hagar

      It’s hard to picture when you imagine higher end businesses, as being different than normal businesses. People in higher ends, like this, still have friends, they can still say the correct things to get people to consider them.

      Despite the version of Peter we have in our minds, there are still many people that have known him for years, that dont hang on oilersnation at all. Edmonton is simply a pin in a map for lots of people that get into a certain plain of life.

  • Hockey Buddha

    Puljujarvi had a couple of outstanding games, where it looked like he was rising to the occasion. He was the best player on the ice. On a team with Drai and McDavid, that’s significant. Unfortunately, he never built on it. it..

    • hagar

      His agent even put a caviat to his possible ability to become an nhl player, in that he might get drawn down by lack of confidence.
      Even if this flake gets his confidence back in Finland, what does that mean when he looks to get back here?
      We all know he was good in europe and sucks here.. he has never once transitioned from Europe to nhl.. this is not some anomaly.

      I wouldnt be one bit surprised if he went allstar again in Finland, then went mental midget again, once returning to nhl.
      He might simply have zero idea what NHL life is like, living as a laplander, so far north, he is of the like 2 percent of people from Finland under 40 that dont speak perfect english. Leon didnt need to learn english, its unusual for a Scandinavian and German and even Russian to not talk perfect english.
      I would wager he never quite fit in regardless of his hockey skills. He was probably the kid from waaaaaaay out in the country that got home schooled until grade 12.

    • Moneyball

      Hate to tell you but puljujarvi never had any games where he was the best of the ice. He sucked pretty thoroughly.

      His best game was where he got 2 garbage goals by finally listening to the coaches and going to the net, but that was 1 game and he turned into his lame old self after that.

      A typical puljujarvi game is where you don’t even know he’s there or he quits on a play. I remember one game last year where he bobbled the puck that lead to a st.louis break away and then gave up on the play and the game was then out of reach.

      He just sucks.

  • Deported to Ottawa

    He’s a kid with poor English skills that moved to a different country, joined a new team to play a game on a smaller ice surface.

    For starters his anxiety level had to be pretty high. I don’t know what, if any, support the Oilers gave him off the ice.

    Learning with poor language skills makes everything harder.

    There have been many rumours that he didn’t put forth an effort to learn English. Is that true?

    I don’t see any ghosts in the closet here. I think he was simply overwhelmed by the situation. He got off on the wrong foot, perhaps letting his frustration get the better of him.

    I think getting his confidence back, having a fresh start would be good for him. I do think from everything I’ve read he needs to learn English or go to a team with a strong Finnish connection.

    Time will tell. Holland certainly doesn’t need to panic.