Here’s a plot twist.
According to Elliotte Friedman, who appeared on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer on Friday, the Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the teams who has shown interest in Jesse Puljujarvi.
Elliotte Friedman on Oilers NOW: “I had someone text me this morning and say, ‘there’s some names out there that you guys haven’t even considered.’”
— NHL News (@PuckReportNHL) September 18, 2020
This is an interesting note because Columbus, of course, is the team that famously passed on Puljujarvi back at the 2016 draft. Puljujarvi went into that draft as the unanimous No. 3 prospect behind Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, but Jarmo Kekäläinen opted to select Pierre-Luc Dubois instead of him with the fourth-overall pick, resulting in the Finn falling into Edmonton’s lap.
I don’t doubt Friedman’s report, but it certainly does seem odd to hear Columbus as a possible fit for Puljujarvi. A Finnish general manager in Kekäläinen opting to pass on a top Finnish prospect in Puljujarvi certainly raised eyebrows at the time.
But, apparently, the Blue Jackets are looking to insert skill into their lineup, and Puljujarvi certainly has a lot of that. Meanwhile, from an Oilers’ perspective, the Blue Jackets could help the team fill one of their two glaring holes this off-season.
Back in March, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic suggested that the Jackets could use one of their goalies, Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzļikins, to add skill to their lineup. Korpisalo is signed for two more years at $2,800,000 and Merzļikins has a cap hit of $4,000,000 for two more seasons. Another thing to consider would be a third-line centre upgrade like Boone Jenner, who has two years left on his deal at $3,750,000.
I’m not sure Puljujarvi nets you any of those players in a straight-up deal, but it could be the base of something bigger. Here’s a look at the Blue Jackets’ roster and salary cap commitments.