Jesse Puljujärvi has signed an extension for one year. It’s valued at 3MM, and it will keep him from a Friday arbitration hearing with the club. On the face value, it’s an excellent deal for the Oilers. The Oilers would do well to keep Puljujärvi on the Oilers. I’m not so sure that’s what happens.
Only Kailer Yamamoto (August 7th arbitration hearing) and Ryan McLeod (has not yet accepted qualifying offer) remain unsigned.
You already know where I stand: the best idea here is if the Oilers plan on keeping Jesse Puljujärvi and putting him in the lineup for 2022-23. Puljujärvi had career high in goals (14) and points (36) in a season that saw him with two major injuries and a bout with Covid-19. Puljujärvi made every line he played on better, from the top line to the third. He didn’t dazzle with gaudy goal totals (his 8.8 S% last season is a bit light), but even the top line was more productive while Puljujärvi was on it compared to when it was anyone else at 1RW.
The Oilers don’t have a whole lot of options at right wing, even with Puljujärvi signed. This could work in his favour, as the Oilers are up against the cap with Kailer Yamamoto’s arbitration hearing scheduled for August 7th. The Oilers may still opt to move Puljujärvi for another right wing, though I can’t imagine the return would be any greater than what they have in Puljujärvi now. They’d almost have to take on a contract that’s valued less than 3MM, and they’d have to find a taker. It could happen. It’d be ill-advised, but it could happen.
The cap is working against the Oilers pretty hard right now. Ryan McLeod doesn’t have arbitration rights this season, but an award that exceeds 3MM for Kailer Yamamoto may force Edmonton’s hand into making a cap move they’d rather not. If Yamamoto’s award is something like 3.5MM from an arbitration hearing, the Oilers may find themselves needing to make a decision they’d rather not.
In short, it’s a great day if the Oilers hang onto Puljujärvi going forward. Trading a possession hound for a third line guy who bangs it up a little isn’t exactly going to be a good deal for the Oilers. Edmonton might be buoyed by a player with a fractional cap hit to 3MM, but they’d be wise to stay away. Keep an eye on Kailer Yamamoto’s arbitration date to see if anything shakes out between now and then.