Jesse Puljujarvi isn’t coming back to the Edmonton Oilers. He and agent Markus Lehto have continued to make it clear to Oilers GM Ken Holland that Puljujarvi has no interest in returning to play for the Edmonton Oilers. The goal remains to return to the NHL after a trade out of Edmonton has been completed.
Puljujarvi, to his credit, has stuck to his word. He threatened to go to Europe, followed through with it, and is now dominating the Finnish league. In 18 games with Karpat of the SM-liiga, Puljujarvi has eleven goals and 20 points (11-9-20). He’s the team’s leading goal scorer, with a four goal lead on Mika Pyorala and Juho Lammikko. He’s also second on the team in points with 20, trailing Lammikko by a pair.
His performance with Karpat has not gone unnoticed to this point in the season. Multiple NHL teams, according to sources, have shown an interest in the Finnish winger. Interest in a trade continues to ramp up, as Puljujarvi must be signed by December 1st to play in the NHL this season.
Among the interested parties, the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning remain in the mix. Interest from the Rangers was further confirmed on Saturday night, when Sportsnet insider Chris Johnston reported the following.
“Right now, Ken Holland has a lot of different options,” Johnston reported on Saturday. “He’s talked extensively with teams going back to this summer, I believe the New York Rangers are a team that continues to show persistent interest in Jesse Puljujarvi.”
The Oilers and Rangers have hooked up on deals in the recent past. The clubs exchanged struggling forwards Ryan Spooner and Ryan Strome a season ago, a deal that went decidedly in New York’s favor. The Rangers shipped Cam Talbot to Edmonton in the summer of 2015, while the sides made a minor deal at the 2017 trade deadline (Taylor Beck for Justin Fontaine).
One player who has fallen a bit out of favor in New York is Lias Andersson. A 21-year-old forward, Andersson has struggled mightily in eleven NHL games this season. He has just one assist and has posted a Corsi For % of just 36% while averaging 10:05 per game. This isn’t what New York had in mind when they used the 7th overall pick in 2017 on him.
Andersson had just six points (2-4-6) in 42 NHL games a season ago, and 20 points (6-14-20) in 36 games with AHL Hartford. He’s a potential trade chip for Puljujarvi.
Johnston would go on to report that Holland is set to go watch Puljujarvi within the week. “Ken Holland is headed over to watch him play in an international tournament in the coming days,” Johnston said.
As for a decision on the immediate future of the player? Well, let’s just say that while a trade could be creeping closer, it’s far from imminent.
“I don’t believe the Oilers have reached an internal decision on what they’re going to do here — if it’s a trade right away, if they hold onto his rights beyond the Dec. 1 deadline … or if they try and keep him.”