Jesse Puljujärvi’s time with the Oilers is likely to soon draw to a close. It might happen as soon as this weekend, maybe even a little before. Puljujärvi’s rights have been owned by the Oilers since he was drafted fourth overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
It’s been quite the six years.
Fast forward to today, and you’ll find the fanbase split into two factions. When JP’s name comes up, the Oilers are either moving a player that’s underperformed - or they’re giving up on a player that’s giving more than just what the boxcars say. I’ve been pretty adamant about how the Oilers are giving up a player that’s far exceeded his meagre cap hit, and that I think this player could turn into a star on a team that understands basic math. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Jesse Puljujärvi is the most polarizing player that I can remember since at least Benoit Pouliot. I don’t remember Pouliot catching so many lame reasons about why he couldn’t play on the top line from his detractors, folks just didn’t like Pouliot and some folks really didn’t like the idea that magical numbers were helping shape some fans’ perception of Pouliot.
I can understand people not liking a certain player.
People would be wrong not to like Jesse Puljujärvi, but people are wrong every day of the week. Just say that you don’t like the player. I don’t like eggs, but millions of people do. You don’t hear me making up stories about why I don’t like eggs, I just told you I didn’t like them. Likewise, folks don’t have to make up some poorly cobbled together story about how he doesn’t want to be an Oiler, or how he’s not good because he doesn’t play on the penalty kill, or how he’s demanding to play a certain spot in the lineup. Stop being lazy. You’re better than that. Just say you don’t like the player. While I think you’re crazy, I know you’re not just making things up.
I believe Spector when he says that the Oilers don’t want to take a chance on getting an arbitration award that’s near 3 million dollars. They’re already paying a guy on the fourth line over 3 million a year, that’s got to get annoying after a while.
Now that we’ve sat through a few months of some folks with access doing their best to devalue an asset, we’ve likely to sit through at least a few more days before Ken Holland tries to fetch equal or better value for a former fourth round selection. The Oilers are right up against the cap again (they’ve got about seven million in cap space to sign Kailer Yamamoto, Brett Kulak, Ryan McLeod and whatever they get for Jesse Puljujärvi pending no further moves). Edmonton has exactly four draft picks in this week’s draft. I’d say they need to get an NHL player back, but I’m not exactly sure they do based solely on their current cap situation. Sure, Duncan Keith could retire (and free up a tonne of cap space in the process), the Oilers could trade Tyson Barrie a year after extending him for three, but the Oilers are up against time and space right now. What’s the most likely thing to happen? Ken Holland freeing up cap space, or the Oilers losing all of Kane, Kulak, Puljujarvi, and Barrie for a net sum of a couple draft picks in a weak draft?
WAS IT ALL WORTH IT?
This happens every couple of years in Edmonton, but you know that by now. Puljujärvi is just the latest guy to go through the wringer. There will be more guys and more wringers. It almost ended in 2019 when he left for Liiga. Credit to Ken Holland for getting him back on a low cap two year deal, but that party’s about to end.
It’s just about time for the other shoe to drop. See you on the other side.