Arbitration is never fun for anyone. Should the Oilers and Jesse Puljujärvi not come to an accord (or a trade), it’ll be arbitration day for Jesse Puljujärvi next Friday.
The 2022 Salary Arbitration hearing dates have been set and will be held from July 27 to August 11.— NHLPA (@NHLPA) July 21, 2022
Schedule available here: https://t.co/Lq2uy86sFr
There are a few scenarios that could play out here.
- The Oilers could trade Jesse Puljujärvi to another club prior to the hearing. I’m fairly certain that if this was going to happen, it would have happened already. There are plenty of reasons to speculate why a deal hasn’t yet happened, but I bet atop the list somewhere is that Ken Holland hopes to get a player that can at least play right wing on the third line at a good price. Jesse Puljujärvi is at least that already, so Holland might not be getting his ask. Getting a third round pick (or something like that) really isn’t worth making the deal. Remember, Kailer Yamamoto’s arbitration hearing comes about a week after Puljujärvi’s, and Edmonton has exactly zero right wingers signed at this time. A deal hasn’t happened yet, and Puljujärvi could be gone as soon as tomorrow if the right deal comes the way of Ken Holland. So far, it hasn’t yet happened.
- The Oilers could trade Jesse Puljujärvi to another club after the award. If Puljujärvi gets an award like 3.5MM, it might be a richer deal than one initially would have thought. It might be a bit richer, but cost certainty is an attractive option to a GM looking to get a player in a deal. If I’m Edmonton and I get to this point, I think I enter the season with the player on the roster.
- Jesse Puljujärvi is awarded a one year deal and remains an Oiler. If Puljujärvi is awarded something like 3.3 or 3.4MM for one year, the Oilers will be obligated to sign the deal. Even if you project Puljujärvi to be a mid-six player at his peak, 3.3MM is a fair deal for that flexibility. The longer this drags out, the more likely I believe that the Oilers will play the year with Puljujärvi in the lineup.
- Jesse Puljujärvi is awarded a one year deal that exceeds 4.5MM and the club exercises the right to walk away. I don’t think JP gets a deal worth more than 3.5MM in arbitration, but if the wheels go sideways for the Oilers and there’s a super generous arbitrator that offers Puljujärvi well north of what anyone is expecting, the Oilers could elect to walk away from the deal. This is only an option if Puljujärvi’s award exceeds $4,538,938, and I don’t believe that’s a realistic expectation. If the award is less than that number, the Oilers will be required to sign Puljujärvi for the award. This is important to note, as Puljujärvi’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for July 29th. Kailer Yamamoto’s hearing isn’t scheduled until August 7th. If the Oilers don’t take action on Puljujärvi prior to his hearing next Friday, it could really create a scenario for the week leading up to Kailer Yamamoto’s hearing due to the lack of available cap space.
So, what happens? I think we’re headed to a hearing. If JP gets an award for something between 3.25 and 3.5MM, I think there’s a good chance we see him in Edmonton again for the 2022-23 season. If the Oilers come to agreement with Kailer Yamamoto prior to Puljujärvi’s hearing, I think that there’s a greater chance that JP gets moved. Again, I’m not sure Ken Holland’s been loving the offers he’s been getting, so this might just be a long drive to camp opening.
We’ll find out soon.