While his first trade request didn’t lead to a move, it seems that Puljujarvi’s second attempt could be more successful. Per Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, sources have confirmed that the Edmonton Oilers winger is “ready to move on for a fresh start” outside of Edmonton. He adds that the Oilers are “ready to oblige” and are already speaking with “at least four teams” in order to secure as high of a return as possible for the former top-five pick. Spector also consults a group of pro scouts to gauge an opinion on what Puljujarvi’s value is on the trade market, and the responses came generally along the lines of a second or third-round pick. TSN’s Chris Johnston confirms Spector’s reporting that several teams have engaged the Oilers in trade discussions regarding Puljujarvi, and he goes further, naming the Senators specifically as a team believed to be in the mix.
This is not Puljujarvi’s first time seeking an exit from Edmonton, but this time it seems more likely thanks to his improved play. The first time, Puljujarvi had not established himself as an NHL option and the possibility of a return to Finland was looming over the entire process. Now, Puljujarvi is coming off of a successful season as an Oiler, where he scored 14 goals and 36 points in 65 games. The 24-year-old winger offers an intriguing package of size and skill, and it’s no surprise that a team like Ottawa, who drafted their own power forward in Tyler Boucher tenth-overall at last year’s draft, would be interested. What will be surprise, though, is his ultimate destination, as Ottawa is only one of several teams vying for his services.
Now, for some other notes regarding the Edmonton Oilers:
- On the Insider Trading segment of TSN’s Sportscentre program, Darren Dreger reported on the situation with Oilers starter Mike Smith, who has one year remaining on his contract at a $2.2MM cap hit. Per Dreger, Smith and GM Ken Holland will meet this week to discuss the player’s future, and in all likelihood the result will be that Smith will be placed on long-term injured reserve for the rest of his contract. Smith battled injuries during the Oilers’ run to the Western Conference Final, and although he had a strong season (.915 save percentage) he only got into 28 regular-season games. At 40 years old, Smith could be prioritizing his long-term health over a quick return to the ice, a choice that is definitely respectable.
- With Smith no longer in the picture, then, the Oilers will need to target a new number-one goalie. Per Dreger, Holland is expected to delve “deep” into the free agent market this summer in search of a goalie, and Dreger specifically names Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell and St. Louis Blues goalie Ville Husso as two candidates for the job. Smith’s play was the subject of lots of conversation during the playoffs, and many believe that the Oilers are an elite goalie away from true Stanley Cup contention. With Smith’s anticipated placement on LTIR, it looks like Holland will be on the hunt for names like Campbell, Husso, or other top goalies.