Edmonton Oilers: Where Will Jesse Puljujarvi Fit In

EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 13: Jesse Puljujarvi. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - DECEMBER 13: Jesse Puljujarvi. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Though Jesse Puljujarvi didn’t get a lot of playing time with the Edmonton Oilers last year, he will likely get more NHL time this coming season.

Despite only posting a goal and eight points through 28 NHL games, the Finnish winger finished the year strong in Bakersfield, registering 12 goals and 28 points with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate. Not to mention, he got more experience and ice time and has better transitioned to hockey in North America.

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers /

Edmonton Oilers

With the Oilers lacking complete depth on the right wing, Puljujarvi will likely compete for a spot on the opening night roster. However, with the Oilers needing more right wingers, and with Puljujarvi still adjusting and proving his worth, where does he fit into the NHL lineup?

First, let’s look at the Oilers depth on the right side. With Jordan Eberle gone, it looks like Leon Draisaitl will remain as a winger on the top line. After him comes Zack Kassian and Iiro Pakarinen; both are experienced right wings, but do not have high totals. Because of this, the Oilers will then consider making players like Jussi Jokinen and Ryan Strome right wingers.

As evident by the lack of depth, Edmonton needs more pure goal scorers and promising wingers on the right side. Puljujarvi can fill that role; it’s just a matter of where he fits in. While Kassian has shown flashes of skill and upside, the 19-year-old will likely outshine him and earn a spot on the second-line wing. Jokinen could make a run for the top-six RW, but considering his declining totals and age, he will likely fit in on the Oilers’ bottom-six.

It appears that Puljujarvi is gearing up to take on the responsibility of a second-line winger. While he has shown upside with the Condors and plenty of potential, he must improve in key areas to keep his spot and prove his worth.

The 6-foot-4, 203-pound winger shows great speed and physicality and must show a stronger game on the backcheck. In addition, he could stand to use his size to his advantage and put more power behind his shot. Not to mention, though primarily a playmaker, Puljujarvi needs to adapt to an all-around player and start getting pucks on net as well.

Next: Edmonton Oilers: Matthew Benning Ready for Top Four

If he can tweak parts of his game and put more work into developing, Puljujarvi will likely see a huge jump in ice time as he could evolve a top-six skater for Edmonton this season.