It’s official, Jesse Puljujarvi will not be on the opening night roster on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old will start the season in Bakersfield after a bad preseason in which he had one good period playing with McDavid against a terrible version of the Winnipeg Jets. Kailer Yamamoto beat him out for that last spot and it will be interesting to see how it plays out going forward. It’s still very possible that Kailer Yamamoto gets sent back to junior after a nine game tryout opening the door for Puljujarvi to make his way back to Edmonton.
At this point in time it’s 100% the right call. This is a team aiming to win the cup this year and icing the best possible roster is important. If they were to send down Yamamoto right now he’d have to stay in junior for the entire year. With Jesse, he’s waiver exempt and can be called up at any point. His contract situation has a lot to do with this move, although his play certainly didn’t help.
So what happened? Is Jesse already moving into bust territory? Personally I haven’t liked his game since the World Juniors last year but the kid is still only 19. He has a good chance to turn it around but the downward trend isn’t good. I’d argue that he’s been worse so far this year than he was at this time a year ago. His hockey sense just isn’t there. I’m not sure if it’s him not spending enough time in the video room or just plain not knowing where to be on the ice. Either way, he really needs to start strong in the AHL this season. There will be injuries this year and the Edmonton Oilers need him to be a productive player eventually.
Best of luck.