About five years ago, I began the ‘Forecasting’ series on a couple of Oilers named Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall. I had a lot of fun writing about Jordan Eberle because Eberle’s last full season in 2011-12 saw him reach an impressive 76 point level after shooting nearly 19%. While a lot of folks thought he would somehow improve on that number, a large part of the readership realized that he was on a heater for a good long time in 2011-12 (18.9% is a pretty good heater). What am I going on about? It was fun tracking who had what. Those who kept a keen eye on Eberle in 2011-12 had the upper hand as to what was about to happen.
Today’s player? There’s a couple of good guesses.
Let’s fast-forward to present day. Jesse Puljujarvi is one of the great hopes on the right wing for the Oilers. Is 2018-19 his breakout season?
A CHANCE TO RIP IT UP
The fourth pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft was Jesse Puljujarvi. It probably should have been Pierre-Luc Dubois, but the Columbus Blue Jackets decided to get creative at third overall. Since his draft year, he’s appeared in 93 career games and scored 28 points (13-15-28). Over the past two years, he’s spent time on both the Oilers and in Bakersfield. He’s about to enter the final year of his entry-level deal in 2018-19.
With two professional seasons under his belt, you might be wondering why the points aren’t just flying off of Jesse Puljujarvi’s stick. There’s a few good reasons actually. There’s good reason to be optimistic as well.
- Puljujarvi is roughly four months older than Kailer Yamamoto. You’ll remember Yamamoto, who had a killer preseason last year and spent nine games with the club before getting assigned to Spokane. I think we’re all on the same page in saying that Yamamoto and Puljujarvi are two different players, but even though Puljujarvi has had a couple of years with pro expereince while Yamamoto has had nine games, it’s fair to remember that Puljujarvi and Yamamoto are damn near equal in age.
- Jesse Puljujarvi spent a lot of time on a line with Ryan Strome and Milan Lucic. Both of these players had 34 point seasons, and Lucic had a heck of a year for himself. We’re all hoping for Milan Lucic to bounce back quite a bit in 2018-19, but I’m going to go ahead and suggest that perhaps you might want to pair Puljujarvi with someone who’s not having a career worst year out there.
- We talked a bit yesterday of how the Oilers power play struggled. Man, did it. Puljujarvi didn’t get much time out there over the entire year. Almost comically, you’ll never guess who his most common linemates were out there on the man advantage. I’ll give you a hint: Lucic was one of them. There was Patrick Maroon sometimes. Also: Ryan Strome.
Kailer Yamamoto is likely to get a long look this preseason. So should Puljujarvi. If we’re to believe Todd McLellan today, there’s at least a fair chance that Puljujarvi gets time on the third line again this season, which may work out so long as he’s not hanging around with Lucic for long times. Maybe Puljujarvi gets some significant power play time this year. Maybe something really wacky happens and he gets some top six time.
Wind the guy up, let him go. It’s time.
Assume 82 games played. How many points will Jesse Puljujarvi score in 2018-19?
This poll is closed