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Is Jesse Puljujarvi Worth More at an Early NHL Draft?

Could the Edmonton Oilers find it easier to move Jesse Puljuarvi if the NHL Draft is held in June?

There are a number of NHL executives and fans upset about the idea of the NHL holding an entry draft in June. The main reason stems from the idea that the standings aren’t yet set. The second biggest reason seems to be that trades will be hard to come by.

If the NHL holds its draft in June, trades will be limited to other draft picks, prospects, and players outside the league whose rights remain owned by NHL clubs. That certainly limits the potential for deals to go down.

But, could that scenario actually help a couple of teams? Two reporters/insiders closer to the Edmonton Oilers seem to think so.

One of the key items on the to-do list for the Oilers is to move forward Jesse Puljujarvi. He falls into the category of a player whose rights are owned by an NHL club but there’s no chance they can play in what’s left of a 2019-20 season. Therefore, if the NHL allows trades for players who can’t affect this season, he becomes one of the better future prospects a team can acquire.

And, if a team is itching to move picks or make a deal, Edmonton becomes a team you call.

Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer and Sportsnet’s Mark Spector discussed Puljujarvi’s trade value and suggested that with fewer options for other teams, Puljujarvi becomes a much more attractive option. And, because the Oilers aren’t necessarily looking to land a current NHL player, they’re not handcuffed by the offers coming back.

Mark Spector specifically looked at a team like the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens have 14 picks at this year’s draft and it’s hard to imagine they stockpiled so many to take a player with every selection. They’ll be looking to move picks. The Oilers don’t have a second-rounder or a fourth-rounder. They may be looking to acquire some.

Spector explains:

“I suppose you could say the rules of supply and demand should have an effect on that trade. Let’s say the Montreal Canadiens, just for fun, they’ve got all these draft picks, depending on what Ken Holland is willing to take for Puljujarvi, their market to spend those draft picks, it’s a thin market. All the roster players that teams need in the playoffs, they’re not trading to the Habs. If Ken Holland has what we call one of the very few NHL ready players who is not in the NHL, you know, a team like Montreal would say, ‘Well, gosh, we can’t trade for anyone else, let’s see if we can make a deal for Puljujarvi and get rid of a couple of these draft picks.’”

Could the Oilers and Canadiens make for a good trade partner? It’s hard to envision a time that more teams will be looking at Puljujarvi than at a draft in June. If the Oilers know he’s not coming back to the team, this could be the right time to move him.

Related: Why it’s Unlikely the Edmonton Oilers Will Re-sign Matt Benning

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