The Edmonton Oilers find themselves in a very difficult position, and the vultures may be circling.
The fact that former first round draft pick Jesse Puljujarvi is not the least bit happy with the Edmonton Oilers organization is possibly the worst kept secret in the National Hockey League at this point. Puljujarvi has not shied away from expressing his displeasure with the Oilers in recent interviews conducted in his native Finland, and the fact that he also has yet to sign a new deal with the Oilers also suggests that the two sides are not seeing eye to eye at the moment.
We know beyond any doubt at this point that Puljujarvi and his agent have already demanded a trade and although there is a new general manager in town, the Oilers fired the incompetent Peter Chiarelli and brought in long time architect of the Detroit Red Wings Ken Holland, that trade demand appears to still be in place. Puljujarvi's agent has expressed serious doubts about whether or not things could ever work out for his client in Edmonton, but thus far the Oilers have stood firm and held their ground. Holland has certainly been doing his due diligence but it sounds like the offers the Oilers have received thus far for Puljujarvi have been underwhelming at best.
"Puljujarvi is and has been convinced that he needs a change," said Puljujarvi's agent Mark Lehto. "He is an NHL player. This is about getting an opportunity for a new start. The salary can be almost anything."
It is clear that Puljujarvi wants out of Edmonton and into a situation where he will get the chance to express his skills at the NHL level, and it seems at least one rival team has come calling about the underachieving forward. According to a report from Pittsburgh Penguins insider Dan Kingerski it appears as though the Penguins have already reached out to the Oilers regarding Puljujarvi, but it also sounds like Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford balked at the asking price.
When news of Puljujarvi’s trade demands broke earlier this summer, an NHL source told PHN the Penguins made contact with Edmonton but did not like the price, believed to be Bryan Rust.
That being said Kingerski believes that the cap space created by moving rust in and of itself would be a valuable asset for the Penguins, especially when you consider that restricted free agent Marcus Pettersson is still in need of a contract. No word on how far along these discussions have gone, but Kingerski does not believe that Ken Holland can allow Puljujarvi to begin the season without a contract, a situation that would likely result in the forward bolting for Europe, leaving with the Oilers with nothing in return.