Should The Edmonton Oilers Bring Back Jesse Puljujarvi?

Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi #13. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi #13. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

It wasn’t long ago that Edmonton Oilers fans were either hoping that Jesse Puljujarvi would be traded or he would be put on Connor McDavid’s line. Since then Puljujarvi has been traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. While Puljujarvi is still a restricted free agent, I do not see the Hurricanes qualifying him at the $3 million rate, so he will likely become a UFA.

In 75 games last season, he had 5 goals and 16 assists. That is with 58 games for the Edmonton Oilers and 17 for the Hurricanes. He also skated in 7 playoff games for Carolina where he got only one assist in those games.

Why Would The Edmonton Oilers Want Jesse Puljujarvi Back?

Asides from the fact that I have a Puljujarvi shirt, Puljujarvi was a decent bottom-six forward. The main issue for Puljujarvi is he was getting paid much more than his production. He had a good expected goals for differential the last few seasons with the Edmonton Oilers.

If Carolina does let him hit the free-agent market, I don’t think that Puljujarvi’s camp can expect to get close to the amount he made last season. I would think that he will come in closer to around $2 million.

A $2 million cap hit is much better looking on the bottom 6 than a $3 million hit. If he is available, Jesse Puljujarvi would be a better fit on this Edmonton Oilers team who is already near the cap ceiling.

Why Would Puljujarvi Want To Come Back To The Edmonton Oilers?

One of the things Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have done is make the Edmonton Oilers a desired free-agent landing spot. Getting the chance to play with either of these two superstars is an enticing thing for players. Even if they don’t get to play on the same line as McDavid or Draisaitl the Edmonton Oilers have a chance to win the Cup and that is something you can’t say about every team.

This point also is true with Jesse Puljujarvi. The main reason his stats were so good the last couple of years is that he almost exclusively played with either Draisaitl or McDavid. Once the Oilers brought in Hyman and Kane, he was moved down the lineup and his numbers dropped.

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In my opinion, there is still one spot open on the Oilers top 6. Right now it is filled by Kailer Yamamoto, but there is no reason Puljujarvi couldn’t find his way back there again.

This all depends on if he will take a pay cut. The Oilers cannot afford to pay him more than what he is making now. I don’t think there is going to be a team that does, but there is always a team that could be willing to take the chance.