With the Stanley Cup Playoffs over and the NHL draft not far off, there are lots of emerging NHL rumours. Teams are looking at how they can acquire assets for a rebuild, or get great players to help their playoff chances. One such rumour involves the Edmonton Oilers shopping RFA winger Jesse Puljujarvi.
Edmonton Oilers Shopping Pending RFA Jesse Puljujarvi
Rumour: According to Kevin Weekes, the Edmonton Oilers are actively shopping Jesse Puljujarvi.
I’m told the @EdmontonOilers are actively shopping F Jesse Puljujarvi, and there’s some interest from clubs in market for his services. Curious to see if there’s a match for potential deal between now and next week’s Entry Draft. @espn @NHL #HockeyTwitter
— Kevin Weekes (@KevinWeekes) July 4, 2022
Analysis: Puljujarvi and the Oilers have a rocky history. There were issues between the player and the former general manager Peter Chiarelli, resulting in Puljujarvi playing in Finland for a season and a half. Since returning, Puljujarvi has been an excellent play-driving winger with strong defensive results for the Oilers. However, with his pending RFA status, he does not seem to be a priority to make cap room for.
Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi is once again seeking an exit from Edmonton. This time, the club appears willing to oblige the former fourth-overall pick with a trade. https://t.co/Fv1Pc8sTV1 pic.twitter.com/zbHr8l4Dh3
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 30, 2022
The Oilers seem to be disappointed with where the 2016 4th overall draft picks career has gone. With him now being shopped, a team can swoop in and snag Puljujarvi for a potentially cheap cost. The Oilers are no longer high on the player, and he still provides good value. He could be a fantastic buy-low option for a contending team. Because the skillset Puljujarvi brings are typically not extremely well rewarded through contracts, a new team could sign him at a great price.
The Oilers Should Make The Trade Happen
There are many teams in the NHL that should be interested in trading for Puljujarvi. He’s a versatile player that can play up and down the lineup. He is able to be a primary player on a lower line or a good complimentary player on the top line. Puljujarvi provides defensive stability while driving pace offensively. While he may have only put up 36 points last season, that’s only one metric of evaluating a player’s value offensively.
The player ranked 17th among all forwards in CF/60 and 7th in xG/60 last season. While this is likely inflated due to time played with Connor McDavid, he still excelled in the 300 minutes (approximately one-third of his ice time) away from McDavid, more than most would have predicted. Any smart team will be calling to see if they can get such a good player for cheap.
By trading Puljujarvi the Oilers lose a good player, however, they have the opportunity to not only recoup assets but relocate the cap space from Puljujarvi. The Oilers also need to re-sign Kailer Yamamoto, and they likely would not be able to sign both players. The Oilers have to be smart about trading an undervalued asset like Puljujarvi, though. They can’t trade him for the sake of making a trade. They need to be able to get good value out of it.