While it was somewhat expected that the Edmonton Oilers might not re-sign forward Jesse Puljujarvi, fans expected the player to fight for his place on the roster. But it sounds like Puljujarvi has no problem moving on, he wants out.
According Oilers insider Tom Gazzola on The Oil Stream podcast with Dustin Nielson, Puljujarvi is on his way out of Edmonton as the forward himself is ready to play for another NHL team.
“The topic of fresh start is coming up again (with Puljujarvi). And it’s not the Oilers just saying, ‘We’re done with Jesse Puljujarvi.’ I think there’s kind of a mutual understanding there that both sides are OK with moving on…It’s not, ‘Hey, they need him to play with skilled players.’ It just feels like it’s time to move on and everybody kind of agrees.
The Edmonton Oilers will take heat when the move happens with critics saying the Oilers didn’t handle Puljujarvi correctly, that he makes his teammates better. But it’s time for him to move on. They tried it, time to move on and I think it’s a mutual thing from both sides.”
At first, Puljujarvi started the season playing very well and appeared to be picking up where he left off of his successful return to the NHL in 2020-21. Fans even thought he could be on his way to setting new career-highs in goals and points after starting the campaign with six goals and 13 points in the first 11 games. Then, things slowed down for Puljujarvi, who then was sidelined for a month due to an injury. Upon his return, he struggled to finish his plays and in 19 games – from his return from injury to the end of the regular season – he tallied just two goals on 43 shots, adding to his record sheet just six assists…
In the postseason, Puljujarvi managed just two goals and three points in 16 playoff games, when the Oilers clearly needed much more from the depth…
The move will be easy for the Oilers too seeing that GM Ken Holland has a lot on his plate. He has to deal with a lot of free agents, including Kailer Yamamoto, Ryan McLeod AND Evander Kane, who let’s just say did a whole lot better than Puljujarvi in his short tenure in Edmonton. Given the Oilers’ cap space, it will have to make additional moves to get it done and we get why Puljujarvi will help make room for those transactions.
At least, it sounds like Puljujarvi is more than okay with it. Are you?