If you are giving credit where credit is due, you have to give full marks to Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland for the job he has done since taking over the reigns of the organization. Holland inherited an absolute disaster courtesy of laughably bad former Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli, but he has somehow managed to make the most of it since being appointed general manager.
The biggest move of course was the one in which Ken Holland, somehow, managed to convince Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving, historically Edmonton's greatest rival, to take on the Oilers worst possible contract in the form of Milan Lucic. Not only did Holland manage to send Lucic to the Oilers but he got a player back in James Neal from the Flames that could potentially slot alongside Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl moving forward. That being said though, in spite of all his good work thus far, Holland still has one big problem to resolve before the start of the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season and that problem comes in the form of determining the future of Oilers prospect Jesse Puljujarvi.
It has become rather obvious that Puljujarvi no longer wants to play another minute as a part of the Oilers organization and I can hardly blame him. The level of incompetence that organization has demonstrated, especially when it comes to young talent, over the past several years has been nothing short of embarrassing. Puljujarvi feels his development was hampered by being forced to play with the aforementioned Milan Lucic, and when you consider just how awful Lucic has looked you would be hard pressed to argue with the young man. Now that is not to say that Puljujarvi should not shoulder some of the blame himself, he has certainly shown a tremendous lack of consistency, but the Oilers certainly have not made it easy for him to succeed.
Holland was asked about this very topic recently and was pressed on whether or not a trade involving Puljujarvi, who has demanded to be moved, was inevitable. Holland made it clear that he would not be forced into making a move just for the sake of making it, which is probably a good sign for the Oilers.
“I don’t want to box myself into one position,” he said as per the Edmonton Journal. “So I’m going to operate today based on the information at hand. If the information tomorrow was different than today then I’ve got to re-evaluation my position. I’m open to anything that makes sense in the best interest of the Edmonton Oilers.”
Now you might be thinking to yourself, is it really possible that Puljujarvi could remain an Oiler in spite of all the bad blood on both sides here? Well according to Edmonton Oilers insider Bob Stauffer, you should not be surprised if it does indeed come to pass.\
Jesse Puljujarvi’s situation remains fluid, Ken Holland [is an] experienced GM, Markus Lehto [is an] experienced Agent. Oilers can’t make trade for the sake of making a trade. Not out of the realm of possibilities that Puljujarvi is at Oilers Training Camp this fall.