Well, it didn’t take that long after all. After sending 20-year-old Jesse Puljujarvi to the Bakersfield Condors to find his confidence on Nov. 10, the Oilers have announced they have recalled him just two weeks and four AHL games later.
While it’s not likely that Puljujarvi’s four-game stint solved any problems, the fourth-overall pick in 2016 fared well scoring two goals and two assists, but with the recent coaching change in Edmonton, new head coach Ken Hitchcock may feel that his defense-first coaching style can help further develop Puljujarvi to develop into the star the franchise had hoped for when they drafted him.
Unfortunately, Puljujarvi has underperformed in 104 NHL games over the course of his career, despite success in several AHL stints. He has just 14 goals and 29 points in the NHL, including just one goal this season in 11 games, in a year where the team had hoped he could develop into that high-volume scorer. Instead, he bristled at rumors that he might be sent to Bakersfield and made it clear that he would prefer working through his difficulties as a bottom-six option with Edmonton. However, with him getting little ice time, fewer opportunities and spending more time in the press box, the team opted to send the underperforming Puljujarvi as well as teammate Kailer Yamamoto to Bakersfield.