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News and Notes: “Philosophical discrepancy” between Oilers and Jesse Puljujarvi, Mike Grier named GM of Sharks, and more

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Cam Lewis
4 months ago
We’re getting into silly season with the NHL Draft set to go on Thursday and Friday and free agency shortly after that. Here are some notes rounding up the interesting stuff from the last few days…

The Oilers and Jesse Puljujarvi disagree on role…

Over at The Athletic, Daniel Nugent-Bowman reported that a key factor behind Jesse Puljujarvi and the Oilers looking to potentially part ways is because the two sides have a “philosophical discrepancy” on the player’s role. The Oilers want to pencil in Puljujarvi as a third-line winger while he wants a top-six role.
Nugent-Bowman also notes that the Oilers are trying to get a player who can help the team now in return for Puljujarvi rather than a draft pick.
Mark Spector doubled down on his report that Puljujarvi wants out but Nugent-Bowman is reporting that Ken Holland told The Athletic that isn’t the case. It wouldn’t be surprising if Spector was correct about Puljujarvi asking for a trade and Holland is saying otherwise in order to make it easier for him to find a deal with good value coming in return. Information about Puljujarvi wanting out obviously makes it more difficult for Holland to negotiate with other teams.

The Oilers are hoping Duncan Keith returns…

We still don’t know whether Duncan Keith will be back next season, but Ryan Rishaug of TSN said on his podcast that he’s absolutely considering retirement.
Nugent-Bowman noted in that aforementioned post in The Athletic that he’s been told the Oilers hope that Keith is back next season.
When they acquired Keith last summer, one of the benefits was that his contract lines up with Evan Bouchard, who will see his entry-level contract expire following the 2022-23 season. Keith’s money coming off the books would then give the Oilers more than enough room to pay for Bouchard’s next deal. But if Keith retries, the team will need to go out and acquire another veteran left-handed defender, and that player’s contract might overlap with Bouchard becoming an RFA, which isn’t ideal for cap management.
Nugent-Bowman also noted that he believes Keith appears more likely to keep playing than goaltender Mike Smith. He also wouldn’t be surprised if Keith came back next season and signed a cheap deal to continue playing after that.

Former Oiler Mike Grier named GM of the Sharks…

The San Jose Sharks have finally found a general manager. It’ll be Mike Grier, a fan favourite in Edmonton from when he was an Oiler between 1996 and 2002.
Grier has quite a difficult task ahead of him in San Jose. The Sharks have missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons and their prospect pool is barren after being a competitive team for well over a decade. The team is also gobbed down by a handful of big contracts to underachieving veterans, such as Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic make $26.5 million annually combined.
Despite the mess, Grier says he isn’t looking to tear down the team and rebuild right now…
Another thing Grier has to navigate is uncertainty on the Evander Kane situation. If Kane wins the grievance filed against the Sharks by the NHLPA, he’ll be back on San Jose’s roster with a $7 million cap hit.
There’s still no date set for Kane’s grievance and it likely won’t be resolved before the start of free agency on July 13.
It would be in the interest of both sides to work out a deal independently within the next week, as Kane surely wants to capitalize on the early spending spree in free agency and the Sharks also want salary cap clarity heading into the off-season. No resolution being met before free agency would be advantageous to the Oilers because Kane’s market would shrink as potential suitors sign other forwards to multi-year deals. They could wind up signing Kane at a bit of a discount later in the summer if this situation lags on.

Claude Giroux is seeking a multi-year deal…

One of the players mentioned as a possible replacement if Kane doesn’t return to Edmonton is Claude Giroux. Giroux had spent his entire NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers before going Cup chasing with the Florida Panthers last spring. He scored 23 points in 18 games with the Panthers in the regular season and added eight points in 10 playoff games.
The team’s run to the Western Conference Final this spring has made the Oilers a legitimate destination for veteran players who are looking for a chance at winning the Stanley Cup, so signing Giroux isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Pierre LeBrun noted that Giroux is seeking a multi-year deal somewhere because he has two sons and doesn’t want to be moving them around year after year. As Elliotte Friedman suggested on the 32 Thoughts Podcast, the Oilers could offer Giroux multiple years and a legitimate crack at the first Stanley Cup of his career.

New (but old) jerseys for the 2022-23 season…

This has been known for quite some time, but the Oilers spilled the beans on Twitter on Monday that the royal blue jerseys will be back next season. They’ll take over as the primary home look from the widely disliked orange uniforms.
Tom Gazzola is also reporting that the Todd McFarlane Spawn jerseys from the early 2000s will also be back next season, but with a twist. According to Handsome Tom, the comet jersey could return as a reverse retro with a white base, similar to the popular mockup from Spitz Designs…
The Oilers had a white-based uniform for their reverse retro back in 2021 based off of an old WHA look, so we might see them do an inverted version of the comet jersey with some orange added.

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