The Puljujarvi Rumors: Stop Making Sense
On top of all the controversy surrounding Lias Andersson, there has also been a long-circulating rumor connecting him and disgruntled Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse PuIjujarvi. It’s hard not to put the two in the same conversation as their stories are almost a perfect copy of one another.
The Finnish product Pulujarvi was drafted the year before Andersson (2016), fourth overall by the Edmonton Oilers. He was advertised by scouts as a big-body winger that had excellent speed, high-level stick-handling skills, and was strong on both ends of the ice. His projected ceiling was higher than Andersson’s, and more in the likeness of a play-maker from the wing.
Much like Andersson, however, he ran into a low ceiling on Edmonton’s very deep forward group in his rookie season. Without much support or ice time, Puljujarvi ended up with eight points (1G-7A) in 28 games for Edmonton in 2016-17, while being bounced back and forth from the AHL. Not exactly an ideal start. Sound familiar?
The following season Pulujarvi’s point total rose to 20 (12G-8A) in 66 games. Once again, while playing in a fairly pigeonholed role alongside players not named Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. Instead, he played on a line with Jujhar Khaira and Milan Lucic. That grouping doesn’t bode well for anyone’s scoring stats!
Frustration began to grow, and by the end of the next season, his scoring production had bottomed out at nine points in 45 NHL games. He started to vocalize his desire of wanting a change of scenery for his own sake. When the organization refused to trade him, he forced the issue by holding out and not reporting to the team.
As a result of this standoff, the 2019-20 season saw Jesse Pulujarvi back in Finland playing for Karpat and rediscovering his game. He put up an impressive 53 points (24G-29A) in 56 games and found his stride. Not only was he showing the rest of the NHL, he was worth an investment, but also made it very clear to Edmonton that he had no intention of returning.