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Oilers Inching Closer to Placing Jesse Puljujarvi on Waivers

Reports note the Oilers are considering placing Jesse Puljujarvi on waivers if they can’t find a trade partner in the next couple of days.

Chris Johnston of TSN reports that the Edmonton Oilers might put forward Jesse Puljujarvi on waivers ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline. The move could come as early as this week with Kailer Yamamoto almost set to return to the lineup and GM Ken Holland has noted that teams aren’t jumping up in an effort to acquire Puljujarvi via trade.

The waiver idea here is two-fold. First, either clear Puljujarvi’s $3 million off the cap by putting him through waivers and demoting him if he clears or, second, have another team claim him and absorb his cap hit. And, if he clears, he might be easier to trade because another team can also move him in and out of the AHL and NHL without exposing him to waivers.

Puljujarvi is a casualty of both a lack of offensive production and a salary cap NHL. Many believe he can still be a useful defense-first forechecker who posts the odd goal on a team’s top nine, but the Oilers have been patient with Puljujarvi’s development and they aren’t seeing what they need to in order to keep him above other players on the roster. Their cap situation necessitates making a move to clear a forward off the roster and Puljujarvi solves the most problems with one move.

Jesse Puljujarvi Edmonton Oilers NHL waivers
Jesse Puljujarvi Edmonton Oilers NHL waivers

Puljujarvi has been a healthy scratch for the Oilers of late. Head coach Jay Woodcroft says it’s not something Puljuarvi is doing to warrant the benching, but it’s a roster fit decision. That’s another sign that of all of the pieces that don’t fit, Puljujarvi is it. Another team might have an interest if they can get him for free.

Johnston noted, “He was scratched coming out of the All-Star break. Of course, there has been sort of on-again-off-again trade discussions around this player going back a couple of years now. And despite some of the struggles he’s had this year, I still think there is some interest in Puljujarvi.” Puljujarvi, 24, has four goals and 10 points in 49 games this season. He carries a $3 million cap hit and exposing him to waivers is a better option for Holland than having to retain salary in any trade. He’s a pending RFA this summer, so if a team claims him, they’ll have some contract control.

Next: Rangers and Blues Weren’t Willing to Wait on Tarasenko Trade

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