Karpat, one of the star teams of Finland’s SM-Liiga, came out on Wednesday announcing that they had re-signed Jesse Puljujarvi. Puljujarvi moved to Finland’s top league last season, after contract negotiations with the Edmonton Oilers dried up.
PULJU IS BACK!
— Oulun Kärpät (@OulunKarpatFi) August 5, 2020
Jesse Puljujarvi Re-Signs in the SM-Liiga
Puljujarvi’s battle with the Oilers has been long and drawn out. The winger has been unsigned since the end of the 2018-19 season. Many speculated that issues arose because the winger was being confined to the AHL, rather than receiving NHL ice time. He requested a trade many times but was never moved by the Oilers. So, to receive more personally-flattering minutes, Puljujarvi moved to Finland’s top league last season.
Puljujarvi joined Karpat, a team he had played with for two years prior to being drafted fourth overall by the Oilers in 2016. His rejoining of the team came with plenty of fireworks. The winger scored 53 points in 59 games, leading Karpat in points and ranking fourth among the entire league. This is impressive enough but is only bolstered by the fact that no play in the Liiga’s top-20 in scoring was younger than the 22-year-old Puljujarvi.
His strong 2019-20 season had many fans excited about what a potential return to the NHL could mean. But it seems fans will have to wait quite a bit longer to see the winger make his much-anticipated return to the league. According to Chris Johnston, Puljujarvi’s new contract includes an NHL opt-out clause, which would allow Puljujarvi to sign a new contract and return to the NHL before-or-during the 2020-21 season. The Oilers do still hold his NHL rights, though, so he will be forced to sign with them unless his rights are traded.
It’s also being reported that Puljujarvi’s new contract is only one-year in length. This means the winger will have ample time to re-sign with Edmonton ahead of the 2021-22 season. That is, if he chooses to return to North American play.