Edmonton Oilers have reportedly ‘broached the possibility’ of extending Jesse Puljujarvi beyond this season
Photo credit:Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing9 months ago
As rumours continue to swirl as the Edmonton Oilers look to bolster their roster ahead of what’s expected to be a deep playoff run, the club has reportedly taken a slight look ahead to next season.
And it involves a piece that so many in Edmonton have expected to be moved: Jesse Puljujarvi.
According to NHL insider Chris Johnston, the Oilers have “broached the possibility” of extending Puljujarvi beyond this season at a lower cap hit. The comment came during an episode of The Chris Johnston Show that aired Saturday.
Johnston had talked about the Edmonton Oilers expressing some interest in trading for Patrick Kane and as host Julien McKenzie looked to move onto the next topic on the show, Johnston paused to say this about Puljujarvi:
Another point on Edmonton also is that we’ve all been wondering what’s going to happen. Is there going to be a big waiver move this week? They ultimately send a couple players to the American Hockey League to manage in the short-term their cap situation.I think a lot of people, including myself, just assumed Jesse Puljujarvi was the odd man out in Edmonton. It definitely looked and sounded that way that he would definitely be traded, 100%. They are a team that is going to have to create some room by moving a player out.But what’s interesting to me is I’ve heard in recent days the Oilers have at least broached the possibility of extending Puljujarvi instead of just trading him. Possibly trying to get him signed to a cheaper extension beyond this year. He’s on an expiring deal, he’s a restricted free agent. I don’t think those talks went anywhere, I don’t know where those talks stand at this moment, but a guy that has always seemed on his last day in the city, they’ve at least broached the possibility of seeing if they can extend him.That’s pretty interesting too as we all look to what move the Oilers make to create cap space. Whatever they do, if it’s a big name or small name, it’s basically money-in, money-out. Whether it’s someone like Warren Foegele, or maybe it’s still Puljujarvi who is the odd-man out, maybe it’s somebody else they’re trading. They have to remove money from that roster. They’re at least seeing if Puljujarvi is willing to stick around, and I don’t know if he is at this point. I think it’s interesting they’ve had that discussion.
The biggest knock against Puljujarvi this year has been his $3-million cap hit. He’s a player whose offensive game has taken a step back this season and that’s likely due, in part, to the significant drop in ice time he’s seen. Last year when Puljujarvi scored 14 goals and 36 points in 65 games, he played 16:14 TOI per game, but that number has dropped to 12:29 per game while he’s scored just five goals and 12 points.
Even still, Puljujarvi’s remained a valuable defensive player for this team and has been a great disruptor of the opposition’s play. One big thing we’ve seen so far this season is the way his year has turned around. Through the first 28 games of the year, the Oilers were outscored 7-19 with Puljujarvi on the ice at 5×5 as the team controlled just 26.92 percent of the goals scored. In the 28 games since, however, the Oilers have outscored opponents 12-8 controlling 60 percent of the goals scored.
If Puljujarvi was on a deal paying half of what he’s making this season, I’d be willing to bet that the heat he has faced would be a lot cooler than it is. As Johnston noted, these talks — for now — appeared to have headed nowhere, but it’s interesting nonetheless that the Oilers have at least opened the door to this possibility.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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