During Elliotte Friedman’s most recent 31 Thoughts article, the Sportsnet scribe took some time to talk about the Edmonton Oilers and Jesse Puljujarvi. Puljujuarvi’s situation is constantly part of the NHL rumor mill and with GM Ken Holland heading over to Finland, talk has picked up a little.
Unfortunately, for Oilers fans that want to see Puljujarvi back in an Oilers uniform, it isn’t happening. At least, not without some major change of heart on behalf of the player.
Puljujarvi Back in Edmonton?
Understandably, the prospect of seeing Puljujarvi in an Oilers uniform has some fans excited. He’s playing well in Finland and is one of two players being eyed for The Karjala Cup — an international tournament beginning Thursday in Finland. He along with Russia’s Konstantin Okulov are favorites to play for the team and Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland is making a trip to check in on his disgruntled winger.
The Oilers lack of depth scoring is becoming an issue in Edmonton. While still atop the Western Conference standings, their record over the last eight games isn’t nearly as glowing and without consistent offense from Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl, not to mention goal scoring from James Neal has slowed and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins only has one goal, Edmonton needs more contributions in their bottom-six. Puljujarvi might look good right about now.
Friedman Reached Out to Puljujarvi’s Agent
Friedman straight-out asked Puljuajrvi’s rep, Markus Lehto, if Puljujarvi would consider coming back to the Oilers now that time has passed and things have calmed. The answer was not a positive one.
Friedman said Lehto politely shot that down as an option, saying a new address remains the preferred option.
“Jesse’s unwillingness to return has nothing to do with current coaches, management, the team, fans or the city,” Lehto wrote. “Like I have said multiple times, Jesse has just asked for a change of scenery and to get a fresh start somewhere else. Nothing wrong with that considering the past three seasons. It is very difficult for me to see that he would return there all of a sudden now…. If things don’t work out now with the right team and best possible fit, there is nothing wrong (with playing) the whole season in Europe.”
There is Good News
Chris Johnston reported last weekend that the New York Rangers have a strong interest in acquiring Puljujarvi. There may be a trade there.
The other good news is that Friedman believes the Oilers have interest in Okulov, even though rumors are the Montreal Canadiens are front runners to land him. So, for all we know, Holland’s trip is less about Puljujarvi and more about Okulov.