The Edmonton Oilers are nearing the start of the 2017-18 campaign, where they will be looking to carry over their success from this past season.
As Edmonton prepares to start the year with less depth on the right side, considering Jordan Eberle’s departure and Leon Draisaitl possibly switching to the wing. With that being said, they will have to keep an eye on a few right wingers heading into camp, especially Jesse Puljujarvi.
The Finnish winger is ready to enter the year with more confidence and experience than he had in 2016. Edmonton’s 2016 fourth-overall pick shows great speed and size, as well as the ability to carry his own line and handle the puck well.
He did get a 28-game gig with the Oilers last year, but only registered a goal and seven points. However, with the Bakersfield Condors, he rose to prominence as one of the team’s top forwards. In 39 games with the Oilers’ AHL affiliate, Puljujarvi racked up 12 goals and 28 points and proved his worth as he got the chance to fully ease into his transition to the North American game.
Coming into this season, the 19-year-old has a better shot at cracking the NHL roster, and even has the potential to make a run for the top six. He has had more time to develop and adjust his game and showed great speed and ability. Not only that, starting fresh and having his rookie year behind him should help him moving forward.
Still, he will have to work on sharpening his two-way game, and must also prove his ability to contribute and put up numbers. Though he did have a lot of scoring chances in his run with Edmonton last year, he didn’t capitalize on a lot of his chances and could have been a better asset on the forecheck.
Overall, considering Edmonton’s depth and Puljujarvi’s growth over this past year, he should be ready to crack the NHL roster full time.