Photo Credit: Eliteprospects.com photographer Timo Savela

Jesse Puljujarvi signs one-year extension with Karpat

This morning, it was announced that Jesse Puljujarvi has signed a one-year extension with Karpat Oulu of the Finnish league for the upcoming season and will join the team for training camp starting on Monday.

After having a very productive first year in Finland, it’s no surprise that Puljujarvi decided to return there for the start of the 2020-21 campaign, especially with a sizeable gap between now and the start of the next NHL season. Last week, we heard that the Edmonton Oilers and restricted free agent, Jesse Puljujarvi, had a productive meeting over Zoom where the 22-year-old apparently backed off on the previous sentiment that he would never play for the team again. According to Harri Aho, Karpat’s sports director, this new deal allows for an out-clause provided that Jesse wants to return to the NHL:

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“We have had a very open discussion between Jesse and his agent about what can happen on the NHL side. After all, Jesse has the right to sign a contract with the NHL, but no one knows exactly what the situation will be in North America next season. With this agreement, Jesse is a full member of (Karpat) and an important piece of the team for the coming season.”

As we all remember far too well, Puljujarvi left the Oilers organization at the end of the 2018-19 season and returned to his native Finland where he spent this past season with Karpat Oulu, posting 24 goals and 53 points in 56 games. Upon his departure, Puljujarvi announced through his agent that he would never play for the Oilers again, but that stance has seemingly softened significantly over the past 12 months. So what does that mean for a potential return? When speaking to Finnish outlet, Tampere Iltalehti, Puljujarvi said:

“You can never say no. I have grown and I see things a little differently. There’s now a different GM and head coach out there. Build a winning team in Edmonton. It may be possible that I will still be playing there.”

In his first stint in Edmonton, Puljujarvi struggled to carve out a regular spot in the Oilers’ lineup and spent far too much time yo-yoing back-and-forth between the NHL and the American Hockey League. As a result, the youngster lost any confidence he had in himself and made the choice to return home and wait for a better situation, a decision that proved to be very important in that he now seems to have softened his stance on the team that drafted him. While there’s no guarantee that the Oilers and Puljujarvi will be able to reconcile, there certainly is hope that this relationship is not as dead as it once appeared, but as always, we’ll have wait and see how things shake out.

In 139 NHL games after being selected 4th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Puljujarvi has registered 17 goals and 20 assists for 37 points.