Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi is ready to prove his full-time NHL worth and appeared to do that when he hopped back into game action Saturday.
With two goals and a helper, the Finnish winger made himself dominant en route to helping Edmonton to a 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Considering his performance, as well as his speed and overall improvement of his game, he is proving that he has what it takes to perform at the NHL level.
In Saturday’s game, the 19-year-old winger got to play alongside Jussi Jokinen and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and also saw time with Connor McDavid. Not only was he a plus-3, but he also had three shots on goal, scoring on two of them.
Making the Cut
Puljujarvi has been out of the lineup for a couple of games, leaving Kailer Yamamoto to steal the show. However, he came out showing speed and skill and tried to do everything in his power to stand out. WIth great speed, quick hands and a lethal shot, he managed to be one of the best Oilers on the ice and the first star of the night.
In 28 games with the Oilers last season, he recorded a goal and eight points before being assigned to the Bakersfield Condors, where he impressed and posted 12 goals and 28 points through 39 AHL games.
The 6-foot-4, 211-pound winger is an excellent skater with quick hands and great vision. He is able to make smart passes and carry his own line, and he also has an outstanding shot. However, he will have to work on remaining consistent game after game and could stand to focus more on his two-way game.
In the end, it appears likely that he starts the year with the Oilers. He had a solid transitional year to the NHL and considering Jordan Eberle is gone and that the team lacks a lot of right-wing depth, he could make a run for one of these spots. In fact, seeing Puljujarvi on the top six for Edmonton would not be out of the ordinary.