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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers sign Jesse Puljujarvi to two-year contract

Peace talks between Jesse Puljujarvi and the Edmonton Oilers have resulted in the disgruntled forward inking a two-year contract with the club.

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector was first to report the deal will pay Puljujarvi $1.175-m per year.

Originally drafted fourth overall in the 2016 draft, Puljujarvi broke into the league and played in 139 NHL games with the Oilers scoring 17 goals and 37 points.

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After his entry-level deal with the Oilers expired in 2019, Puljujarvi expressed his discontent with his utilization in the Oilers lineup. Puljujarvi asked for a trade and left the club, returning to Finland to play for Karpat in the SM-Liiga.

There, Puljujarvi returned to his scoring ways and scored 24 goals and 53 points in 56 games.

The Oilers parted way with both head coach Todd McLellan and GM Peter Chiarelli, who Puljujarvi played under, and discussions began on a potential return to the organization. Last year before the season, both new coach Dave Tippett and GM Ken Holland spoke with Puljujarvi, but were unable to convince him to return to Edmonton.

Holland held his ground when it came to Puljujarvi’s trade request refusing to sell the player for anything less than the full value he was looking for. No trade happened, and in July, discussions once again re-opened between Puljujarvi and the Oilers organization.

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Spector reported in August that a contract was expected and now, the deal has been made official. That article also mentioned a deal would come with a “handshake agreement that he will be traded if he cannot find success in Edmonton.”

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Holland has said recently that there had been multiple discussions with Puljujarvi’s camp and the organization. Those surrounded how Puljujarvi would be utilized in the Oilers lineup and what the team expected of the Finnish winger.

Nonetheless, this signing is massive for the Edmonton Oilers and big credit should be given to the organization for making this happen. Holland’s patience has paid off, and Puljujarvi will make his return to the NHL.

He is currently playing for Karpat again this year and will be on a loan with them.

Now it should be noted, too, that his signing in Edmonton doesn’t entirely rule out the possibility of him being traded at any point. Things could still sour and/or go south, but there’s no denying that Puljujarvi’s value will be higher now than ever before.

He worked hard in Finland to regain the confidence he lost in his first NHL stint and it paid off.

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Welcome back, Jesse.

On Twitter: @zjlaing