Jesse Puljujarvi hasn’t been in the news much lately but with the trade deadline almost upon us, his name has surfaced as a potential trade candidate. The restricted free agent remains ineligible to play this season but to a rebuilding team that might be interested in acquiring him, that wouldn’t be much of a deterrent.
However, Oilers GM Ken Holland told reporters, including Postmedia’s Jim Matheson, that he hasn’t been shopping the winger nor have teams really been calling about him. He had indicated last month that he was open to moving Puljujarvi but his preference wasn’t to move him for a rental player. That could also be limiting the market for him as at this time of year, pending unrestricted free agents comprise the majority of the players that get moved.
The 21-year-old ranks second in scoring in the SM-liiga with Karpat this season with 21 goals and 27 assists in 48 games and sits one point out of the top spot on the scoring leaderboard. Perhaps even more importantly, he’s averaging 18:41 per night which is well above the 11:57 per night he had with Edmonton last season. From a development perspective, that’s significant.
Puljujarvi requested a trade out of Edmonton over the summer and signed back in Finland when it was clear that a move wasn’t coming. The December 1st RFA signing deadline came and went without a trade. Based on how things are looking now, the trade deadline is likely to come and go without a move as well. If that happens, the 2016 fourth-overall pick will need to decide if he’d be better off returning to the Oilers next season or continuing to hold firm with his trade request.