Happy Monday, Nation, and welcome to a brand new Mailbag to help you get your week started and break down what’s happening with the Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re looking at the Jesse Puljujarvi rumours, NHL Draft predictions, Ryan McLeod, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
1) Brent asks – What is your bold (or not so bold) prediction for the Oilers at the NHL Draft? What are you expecting from Ken Holland in his fourth go-around with Edmonton?
Jason Gregor:
(not bold) Edmonton will not trade down from 29. They will make the pick. I do expect he will trade Tyson Barrie unless Duncan Keith informs him he is retiring, then Barrie could stay.
Advertisement
Ad
Robin Brownlee:
Holland needs to get a line on a goaltender with Mike Smith “highly likely” to spend next season on LTIR. First priority. Move a pick if that helps get something done.
Cam Lewis: 
It’s difficult to make a bold prediction because so many names and rumours are flying around right now. But my guess is that the Oilers continue the former Leafs trend (Barrie, Ceci, Hyman) and sign Jack Campbell.
Baggedmilk:
I’d bet that Ken Holland is going to use the 29th overall pick, so my BOLD prediction will be that our sweet Jesse won’t be an Edmonton Oiler by the end of the weekend.
May 18, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers right wing Jesse Puljujarvi (13) shoot the puck against the Calgary Flames during the third period in game one of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
2) Oilers fan in Van asks – The Jesse Puljujarvi conundrum seems to be picking up steam as we head into the summer and my question for everyone is what they would personally do with the player if you had control? What is your personal preference to happen with Jesse?
Advertisement
Ad
Jason Gregor:
I’d have an honest talk about if he wants to be here. If he does, then discuss the importance of improving his puck skills and balance this summer. I’d encourage him to get a skills coach to work on his puck skills and then return to Edmonton in August to work with David Pelletier on his edges and balance. If he is willing to do that then I wouldn’t trade him. And if he prefers a new destination, then I only trade him if I get a player of similar age and potential in return. Holland was patient in 2019 and didn’t give Puljujarvi away and I see no reason to deviate from that strategy now.
Robin Brownlee:
First, I find out if he wants to be here. Second, I poll the room to find out if his teammates want him to be here. If that’s a go on both fronts, then we talk about expectations. If they don’t line up, adios. Then we talk about money. If I don’t like the ask, adios. I want to see if Puljujarvi can actually put up some numbers that show up on the scoresheet, but not willing to spend half my waking hours coddling and cajoling Jesse and his agent to keep them happy.
Advertisement
Ad
Cam Lewis:
Much like how Holland handled this the first time around, I would honour his request and ask around to see if there was a deal worth making. If not, I would simply issue the qualifying offer and let him go to arbitration if need be. Jesse Puljujarvi is a solid middle-six forward in the NHL who doesn’t command much money right now and the Oilers can’t be giving that away for nothing.
Baggedmilk:
Unless I find out that Jesse would go back to Finland if a trade can’t be worked out, I’d get working on a one-year deal. If a trade is indeed in the works, the best way to get the most out of it would be to have him come back to Edmonton and compete hard. The tail end of his 2021-22 campaign wasn’t what he would have wanted and I’m not selling low on a guy I think can contribute at this level.
Advertisement
Ad
May 4, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal by forward Ryan McLeod (71) during the second period against Los Angeles Kings in game two of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
3) Yves asks – Ryan McLeod took a big step forward this season, but what’s his ceiling? We know he has the wheels to play in the NHL but do you think he has the ability to put up points as well?
Jason Gregor:
Depends where he plays. If he is the third-line centre, then I don’t see huge points, but he could produce 25-30 at 5×5 and on 2nd PP. But if he plays wing in the top six, which could happen from time to time, then he could produce more.
Robin Brownlee:
I don’t know what his ceiling is. His skating gives him a chance to be productive but the hands and the brain need to be in sync with the feet. If McLeod could be as as productive as Todd Marchant or Andrew Cogliano, that would be a pretty decent outcome.
Advertisement
Ad
Cam Lewis:
He had a point-per-game season in the AHL, albeit in a season in which a lot of top players were on NHL Taxi Squads, so there’s clearly offense there. How much he produces offensively will come down to the role he’s placed in. If the Oilers groom him to be their homegrown shutdown centre, we won’t see much offence. But if he continues to get reps as a winger in the top-six, we surely will.
Baggedmilk:
If he can turn into a 12-18 goal guy then I think I’d be pretty happy. I love this kid.
4) Trev asks – I know the Oilers don’t have a lot of cap space to work with right now but are there any pending UFAs that intrigue you as potential upgrades or roster fits?
Advertisement
Ad
Jason Gregor:
I like Janmark and Motte as free agents who could help the bottom six. Brett Kulak needs to be re-signed (pending UFA), and if they move Barrie and don’t bring in a RD, then I’d look at Jan Rutta.
Robin Brownlee:
Jack Campbell. Ville Husso.
Cam Lewis:
Sort of a boring answer but I would go with Brett Kulak, who was quietly excellent after being traded here from Montreal. And then a more random one… Josh Leivo put up an amazing run in the AHL playoffs this year and is a good bet to produce on a cheap contract.
Baggedmilk:
 
5) Stephen asks – When the mailbag goes up, the long weekend will have just wrapped up and I want to know what the Nation writers are throwing on the grill if we’re coming over for dinner?
Advertisement
Ad
Jason Gregor:
I’m best at BBQ’ing chicken. I have a special spice mixture and sauce I like to put on them. Also, I will have zucchini on the grill, roasted baby potatoes in a cake pan on the grill and red peppers. And then some brown rice. Also have a killer Gin and tonic mix that is a great compliment to have while we are BBQ’ing and then during dinner.
Robin Brownlee:
Sorry. no grill, so you’re not coming over for dinner.
Cam Lewis:
Tacos.
Baggedmilk:
I was at the lake this weekend and we were cooking a lot of smokies over the fire and mountain pies in the cast iron sandwich makers. The best.

MAILBAG IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY CORNERSTONE INSURANCE

For 90 years and four generations, Cornerstone Insurance has been a family and employee-owned business in Edmonton with all of the insurance products you need for your ever-evolving life. Citizens of the Nation can get a discount here.
Advertisement
Ad