The Edmonton Oilers have made a curious move that has elicited some negative reactions from some members of the media.
First and foremost the Edmonton Oilers organization officially announced on Saturday that they would be calling up former first round draft pick Jesse Puljujarvi back up from the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League. The move comes after just 4 games after the Oilers made the initial decision to send the disappointing Puljujarvi down to the AHL to rebuild his confidence but obviously given the recent turmoil in the organization there may be other factors at play here.
In spite of a good showing during the Edmonton Oilers training camp the start of the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season was largely a disappointment from Puljujarvi and eventually resulted in the decision to send him down to the AHL. That however was when Todd McLellan was the head coach of the organization and now with Ken Hitchcock at the helm the Oilers likely want to see if they can't get more out of the former first round pick who is starting to look like another drafting failure from the Oilers organization. That being said though there are some who are very skeptical that playing under Hitchcock will make much of a difference for Puljujarvi.
"No doubt, exposing Puljujarvi to Hitchcock is a good idea," said Sportsnet's Mark Masters. "But the idea that the coach was the reason Puljujarvi wasn't productive is flawed, in my opinion. If he plays the same way, this coach will send him down too. And how much could Puljujarvi have learned in 4 AHL games?"
It's a great question from Masters and one that doesn't have an official answer as of this writing, although I have no doubt that both Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli and Ken Hitchcock will be asked about it when they next face the cameras. If I had to speculate I would suggest that this move was likely the product of a decision from Chiarelli who is now likely extremely desperate to save his job. Chiarelli's track record as Oilers general manager has been, in my opinion, disastrous and getting some production out of one of his top draft picks would do a great deal to help him save some face.