A trade many in Edmonton were waiting for has finally happened. Dating back a couple of seasons now, Jesse Puljujarvi’s name has come up repeatedly in trade talks. The once-disgruntled winger seemed to have found a level of comfort in Edmonton as The Bison King, and started to play a more offensive role with the team. Then, after being signed to an extension and suffering an injury, his production dropped off a cliff. With the Oilers in cap trouble heading into this season’s trade deadline, Puljujarvi’s name was once again out there in trade discussions.
GM Ken Holland finally pulled the trigger on a deal just a couple of days ahead of the deadline, sending Puljujarvi to the Carolina Hurricanes for propsect Patrik Puistola. The 22-year-old forward has yet to play a game in the NHL and is currently skating with the Jukurit Mikkeli of SM-liiga.
There was no money retained in the deal, so this is being viewed as a precursor for a deal where Holland may have a defenseman targeted that is going to cost some money to acquire.
Reactions to the trade are mixed. Some are impressed Holland was able to move the player without having to retain any salary in the deal. Others are thinking the Oilers will be kicking themselves and that Puljujarvi will turn into a better player in a new environment based on his underlying numbers. That’s the argument analytics supporters have been holding onto for some time, but he’s yet to showcase his skill to finish or live up to that potential. The Oilers are in win-now mode and if this deal needed to be done to add another piece, fans may see the bigger picture. Ryan Rishaug of TSN writes, “My sense is the Puljujarvi deal isn’t part of a larger deal already in place – nothing else is finalized / it opens space and gives them the option to execute whatever deal they can find on a D.”
The Oilers will likely recall Devin Shore now that Puljujarvi has been traded. With Shore on the roster, the Oilers will have $3.55 million in cap space. And that is with a 20-man roster.
Next: Oilers Holland Working Hard on Deal for Blue Line Upgrade
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