Jesse Puljujarvi on possible Oilers return: “Never say never”

After a solid year in the Finnish league that resulted in a Young Player of the Year nomination, there are fresh rumblings circling these here Internetz that Jesse Puljujarvi may have softened in his stance about a return to the Edmonton Oilers. According to a report out of Finland by Janne Onnela (paywall), time may have healed some wounds here.

For the second time since the NHL shut down, we’re talking about the potential for the former fourth overall pick to make his way back to the Oilers after very publically taking his ball and going home. I’m not saying he didn’t have reasons to want out, obviously there was some kind of rip in the ginch that led him to instruct his agent to air out trade requests and we’ll never truly know what that is, but there are signs popping up lately that suggest the tides may be turning between the player and organization. Back in late April, Puljujarvi was playing video games on Twitch with friend of the Nation, Larvinen, when he was asked about whether or not he would consider a return to Edmonton. Here’s what I wrote about it at the time:

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I know that the Jesse Puljujarvi saga has been going on for well over a year now and talking about it is like kicking a dead horse that’s been mostly eaten by scavengers, but there could be another chapter in this story. Just last week, Puljujarvi was playing some twitch vids with friend of the Nation, Larvinen, when he was asked about whether or not he’d ever consider a return to Edmonton. We’ve heard his agent say that he’d never play another game with the Oilers so that had to be that, right? Puljujarvi offered a simple, “never say never.”

According to Onnela’s article, Puljujarvi repeated the same sentiment again recently so maybe bridges are being built and there’s actually a chance for a deal to get done? Is there some smoking building here? Follow me down the rabbit hole for a moment and pretend that this is actually possible and that Jesse Puljujarvi is legitimately open to playing in Edmonton. My first thought is that you’d have to give Ken Holland a lot of credit for waiting him out, right? Last summer and even into the season, Holland made it clear that he was in no rush to trade Puljujarvi away just because he asked for it. Rather than making a sell low trade like Pistol Pete would have probably done, Holland tucked the Puljufile away and may potentially retain an asset that stated he would never play for this team again. But are we close?

Back in May, Gregor asked Ken Holland for an update on the situation:

Oilers GM Ken Holland told me this morning there is nothing new regarding Puljujarvi. “Not much going on in the hockey world right now. Too many unknowns to have any real conversations. We don’t know when the off-season will be,” text Holland.

Seeing as this Puljusaga has been going on for well over a year now, it’s almost hard to believe that we’re still talking about this and yet here we are. Even with this latest round of news, that doesn’t mean that we’re anywhere closer to getting an answer one way or another, but maybe this change in attitude means we’re finally inching towards the finish line. With a new coach and GM in place from the time Jesse was last here, I always felt like Puljujarvi had as good of an opportunity to rehab his game with the team that drafted him as he did anywhere else, but I really didn’t think there was much chance it could happen. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play on a team with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl? Then again, would they want his baggage back in the room at this stage? Does anybody care?

As always, all we can do is wait.

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