The Edmonton Oilers are off to the best start in decades, going 5-0-0 in the first two weeks of the 2019-20 season. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have picked up right where they left off last season with 12 points and 11 points respectively in their first give games. Even newcomer James Neal has 7 goals in his first five games. But… you know who’s missing from the team’s top-six forward group. Jesse Puljujarvi… remember him?
The former 4th overall pick demanded a trade from Oilers GM Ken Holland this past offseason and is plying his trade in the Finnish SM-liiga with Karpat until a trade materializes. Interestingly enough, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported this past weekend that Puljujarvi is happy to spend the rest of the season with Karpat.
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“I’m hearing he’s comfortable staying all year in Finland,” said Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston during the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “Obviously the Oilers might have a decision to make for what’s best for them, as they get closer to the Dec. 1 deadline where he has to be traded and signed if he’s gonna play in the NHL this year.”
“I get the feeling that’s a comfortable situation for the player. He’s trying to get his confidence back, trying to get his game back and he might be the best player right now in the Finnish Elite League.”
Well… don’t get too comfortable Jesse because Oilers insider Kurt Leavins of The Edmonton Journal is reporting that the Oilers have discussed the possibility of a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes, with particular interest for Julien Gauthier.
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There continues to be some talk that the Oilers may be interested in Julien Gauthier in Carolina. The right-shot winger was the Hurricanes 1st over-all pick in 2016. That’s the same draft as you-know-who. Gauthier scored 27 for AHL Charlotte last season and 2 more in 2 games this year before his call-up. If indeed Edmonton scouts watched Saturday’s ‘Canes game against Columbus they would have seen Gauthier play 4th line minutes (8:25 TOI, and all but a few seconds of it 5×5) and register 0 points, 0 shots and 2 hits. One thing that perhaps may make the player attractive in such a deal though is the fact that Gauthier is waivers exempt. He could go to the AHL without fear of losing him for nothing.
With Finns like Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen already playing big roles in Carolina, Puljujarvi seems like the perfect fit.