Jesse Puljujärvi was one of the most polarizing figures throughout the whole NHL season. There was a lot of uncertainty where he was going to play and where his future lied in the NHL. The question is “how good is he really” because we haven’t seen his true potential at all. Let’s start at the beginning.
Jesse Puljujärvi draft position
The Edmonton Oilers drafted Puljujärvi 4th overall in the 2016 NHL draft. He was originally 3rd on the draft board due to a great season in the Liiga league. He posted 28 goals in 50 games. In the world Junior championships he scored 17 goals in 7 games for Finland. He was only 17 years old at the time.
The original reaction was Puljujärvi was going to be a NHL ready player right out of the gate. He was thought to be a solid power forward which can dominate with his two way ability and overall frame.
Venture to the NHL
The disappointment came immediately. Puljujärvi played 28 games and scored only 8 points with the Oilers. Then he was brought down to Bakersfield and scored 28 points in 39 games.
In the next season he played 55 games and scored 20 points for the Oilers. Then he was brought down again to Bakersfield and scored 5 goals in 10 games. It wasn’t a bad season but you could tell he was becoming more of an elite AHL player.
In the 2018-2019 season Puljujärvi had even more trouble on the ice in the NHL. He scored 9 points in 46 games for the Oilers and 4 points in 4 games for Bakersfield. He eventually was taking a backseat to the lineup. His role slowly diminished to where he was becoming a bench warmer.
Puljujärvi’s role was being diminished, which gave him a reason not to play in Edmonton anymore. General manager Ken Holland did not want to grant him a release that he wanted. The package deal would have to be solid to grant a trade but he wouldn’t get his hand forced.
Even with all the rumors Holland never traded him so Puljujärvi went to play for Europe again. He went back to play the Kärpät in Liiga, the Finnish Elite league, and was one of the best in the league, scoring 53 points in 56 games.
What to do now
With the season Puljujärvi had in Europe, it makes you wonder “how good is he really”. He is a great player in Europe but never got his chance to shine in Edmonton. On Kärpät, he didn’t have anyone around him. He was the clear best player on the team, but in Edmonton they had him with Connor McDavid. For some reason, that didn’t help him shine.
Puljujärvi will not come back to North America unless his rights are traded to another team. He knows he can crush the Liiga league, and is absolutely worth another look at the NHL level.
If Holland does go along with a trade, he will not get the full value of a former 4th overall pick. He will probably get a 2nd round pick due to the fact he is a great European player that might make a impact in the NHL.
Puljujärvi’s development was truly hampered in Edmonton, but there should be no reason why a team wouldn’t offer a 2nd for him. He is still only 21 years old and has a lot of upside. If he gets traded to a team that would give him major minutes with a solid line that would give him the production he needs. His offensive ceiling is still high enough for teams to take advantage of this.
Jesse Puljujärvi news and his next move
Now we finally got to the question “What’s next?” David Staples from The Edmonton Journal reports that Finland’s coach, Mikko Manner, thinks best thing for Puljujärvi is to stay in Finland for another season. Increase his stock at a league he owns. He was brought into the league to early and now it’s time to get it right.
In other Jesse Puljujärvi news, the coronavirus cancelled the world championships. This was his chance to showcase his improved skill set against NHL players. He will not get that chance which will make it harder for NHL teams to trade for him.
In your opinion what do you think Jesse Puljujarvi best course of action should be?
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