March 4: Puljujarvi underwent the surgery today according to John Shannon of Sportsnet, who adds that it was on both hips.
February 28: After receiving some bad news from the Edmonton Oilers medical staff, young forward Jesse Puljujarvi had visited a specialist for a second opinion. Unfortunately that opinion seems to have agreed with the first, as Jason Gregor of TSN is reporting that Puljujarvi will undergo hip surgery next week. Puljujarvi will not play again this season.
The fact that Puljujarvi has been playing through this injury certainly may explain some of his struggles, but it will end what has been an extremely disappointing season nonetheless. In 46 games with the Oilers the 20-year old forward recorded just nine points, a step backwards from the already underwhelming total he posted in 2017-18. Selected fourth overall in 2016, Puljujarvi was expected to step quickly into the NHL and become a potential winger for Edmonton centers like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but now has just 37 points through the first 139 games of his career.
Importantly, this also caps his earning potential. Since the Oilers gave Puljujarvi more than nine games in his first season after being drafted, his three-year entry-level contract will come to an end this year. He’ll finish without earning any of his big performance bonuses, and now heads into restricted free agency as something of an enigma. Top draft choices are often signing expensive long-term deals after their original contract expires, but Puljujarvi will certainly not want to lock himself into an underpaid contract after his disappointing start. It’s unclear where exactly the Oilers will sit in negotiations.
Unfortunately this is just the latest bad chapter in a terrible book for the Oilers. The team has struggled through coaching and management changes this season and find themselves fighting for draft lottery positions instead of the playoffs. The team was embarrassed last night in McDavid’s return to the lineup, and will take on the Ottawa Senators tonight in a battle of Canada’s worst teams.
Puljujarvi is expected to be back to 100% in time for training camp in September, and given that he will be waiver eligible destined for a spot on the NHL squad almost regardless of his play. The team will have to hope his performance improves along with his health.