There has certainly been no lack of attention paid to the ongoing saga between Jesse Puljujarvi and the Edmonton Oilers. The young forward is a restricted free agent playing in his native Finland this season rather than with his NHL club and both sides seem open to a trade. If Puljujarvi does not sign by December 1st, he cannot play in the NHL this season, so the timeline for a deal to be made is down to less than a month. However, there have been recent rumors that perhaps Puljujarvi could in fact return to Edmonton. After all, the Oilers are off to a hot start and Puljujarvi himself is playing well for Karpat in the Liiga and the two sides may be more amenable to an agreement. That is at least what Oilers GM Ken Holland hopes, as he heads overseas for the Karjala Cup, in part to negotiate with Puljujarvi. However, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the player side is not as keen on a reunion. Agent Markus Lehto reiterated that, despite the performance of the Oilers so far this season, Puljujarvi’s focus remains on finding a fresh start in the NHL:
Jesse’s unwillingness to return has nothing to do with current coaches, management, the team, fans or the city. Like I have said multiple times, Jesse has just asked for a change of scenery and to get a fresh start somewhere else. Nothing wrong with that considering the past three seasons. It is very difficult for me to see that he would return there all of a sudden now…. If things don’t work out now with the right team and best possible fit, there is nothing wrong (with playing) the whole season in Europe.
- Another big name taking part in the Karjala Cup is CSKA Moscow forward Konstantin Okulov. Okulov’s name has already been a fixture in the rumor mill this year as a player being eyed by a number of team’s as a free agent addition this off-season. The 24-year-old Russian has 14 points in 23 games thus far and recorded 31 points in 48 games in the KHL last year. While Okulov has been most frequently linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that has become known for poaching Russian talent, Friedman states that the rival Montreal Canadiens are actually considered the front-runners for the talented forward. He adds that with Holland in attendance at the tournament, the Oilers will likely take a run at Okulov as well.
- Paul Postma has finally found a new job in Europe. The veteran defenseman began the year with the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk, but left the club early last month. The NLA’s HC Lugano has announced that they have now inked Postma to a contract for the remainder of the season. The capable two-way defenseman brings over 200 games of NHL experience to the Swiss club after showing last season with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL that he is even more of an asset in Europe. Lugano, typically a top contender in the NLA, is in the midst of a second straight underwhelming campaign and could use the help. Postma will face high expectations when he debuts for a team in great need of a game-breaking talent.