Four Teams That Should Trade for Jesse Puljujarvi

As the Edmonton Oilers’ season beings, the buzz about a potential Jesse Puljujarvi trade remains a popular topic of conversation. Despite having a much-needed strong camp and positioning himself on Connor McDavid‘s wing, Puljujarvi has yet to shake the trade rumours.

While it seems unlikely he’s moved this early in the season, some teams profile as a fit for the 24-year-old. A deadline move could be a likely outcome for Puljujarvi, as his skills in a depth role could push a team over the top.

A Puljujarvi Trade Could Benefit Many Teams

Whether it’s open cap space, a hole in your middle-six, or the desire to upgrade, Puljujarvi can fit the description. His 2021-22 season was the most productive of his career thus far, and could be the spark he needs moving forward. He knows that he has to step up this season for the Oilers, especially in such a spotlight.

Minnesota Wild

Despite being predicted to finish near the top of the Western Conference, the Minnesota Wild have a glaring lack of offence in their middle six. In their current lineup projections, the bulk of the scoring appears top-loaded. That said, the offence needs answers up and down the lineup after the trade of Kevin Fiala. His departure will likely have a trickle-down effect that impacts the rest of the depth-scoring ability.

The Wild second line of Tyson JostJoel Eriksson EkMarcus Foligno will be carried heavily by the play of Eriksson Ek. He recorded 49 points in 77 games last season, which was the highest among players that weren’t on the top line.

In addition to this, the sophomore production of Matt Boldy will be an x-factor in their depth scoring. Boldy impressed in his 47 games with the Wild last season, scoring 15 goals and registering 39 points. If Boldy can produce at a near point-per-game level on the third line, the Wild are in business.

That said, the Wild would be a vastly improved team if they added the skill and size of Puljujarvi. While he hasn’t found the scoring touch he was expected to have, there is talent to be capitalized on. The Wild would be wise to take the gamble, as the upside is there. Puljujarvi is owed $3 million in 2022-23 and is a pending Restricted Free Agent. If the Wild were serious about acquiring Puljujarvi, they would have enough room under the cap to make it happen. (CapFriendly)

Winnipeg Jets

With few changes to the roster, the Winnipeg Jets desperately need depth scoring. Despite having a very talented top line, the remainder of the forward group leaves a lot to be desired. A Jesse Puljujarvi trade would make sense and he would fit in seamlessly in the existing forward group.

The third line is especially concerning, consisting of Morgan Barron, Adam Lowry, and Mason Appleton. That line profiles as a checking fourth line, and puts a lot of pressure on the top six to carry the offence. Adding Jesse Puljujarvi to the middle six would add a more offensive option to an otherwise defensive group. Another option could be putting Puljujarvi in Blake Wheeler‘s spot on the second line, shifting Wheeler onto the third line. Regardless of the move, it would spread the scoring out more.

The Jets have the cap space to pull it off as well, entering the season with $3,360,307 in cap space. (CapFriendly) Not only that, but they also have the assets to swing a deal for a young talent like Puljujarvi. A deal could likely focus on one of the Winnipeg Jets’ young defensive talent. As of right now, only one of them can fit into the lineup, meaning one of them could be available.

The Jets aren’t necessarily viewed as a team who would aggressively swing a deal like this, but they should absolutely inquire about Puljujarvi. A player of his calibre could take the Jets from a bubble team to a playoff team.

Ottawa Senators

The tone of the Ottawa Senators‘ rebuild has finally shifted in the right direction. After adding a lot of talent, the Senators finally seem to be making their push toward contention. They may be a few pieces away from becoming a playoff team, but a Jesse Puljujarvi trade could push them to that level.

The Senators have drastically improved their forward group. Adding both Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat has turned their top six into a dangerous bunch. That said, the talent drops off sharply once you get past that second line. The Senators’ third line currently consists of Tyler Motte, Shane Pinto, and Mathieu Joseph, and they don’t profile very well offensively.

A Puljujarvi trade assists in creating a deeper lineup and adding versatility to an otherwise one-dimensional bottom six. Placing him on a line with Shane Pinto and Mathieu Joseph would give the Senators a terrific option below the top-two lines. They wouldn’t necessarily light up the scoresheet, but they would be able to hold their own against other teams. Offensive game aside, they would function as a tremendous forechecking group. They could help to wear down the other team while also adding some depth scoring, something the Senators need.

The Senators have both the money and prospect capital to swing a Puljujarvi trade. Entering the season with $4,118,452 (CapFriendly) in cap space, Ottawa already has enough room to make it work. Would it guarantee them a playoff spot? Probably not, but it would add more talent to their team this year and potentially move forward.

Colorado Avalanche

While their cap space could make this difficult, the Colorado Avalanche seem to be interested in most trade targets. They don’t necessarily need help, as they appear to be among the best in the league for yet another season. That being said, their middle six has a couple of areas that Puljujarvi could help with.

The third line could benefit from the impact Puljujarvi could have, as Andrew Cogliano is likely nearing the end of his NHL career. Slotting a player like Puljujarvi onto a third line would make the Avalanche even more of a juggernaut. His skills profile perfectly with the style of the Colorado bottom six. The forechecking first bottom six has had the benefit of an offensive upside, meaning Puljujarvi could thrive. Similar to the low-risk acquisition of Valeri Nichushkin, Colorado could bet on Puljujarvi’s success in their offensive systems.

Despite their clear powerhouse status, no team is perfect. If the Avalanche look to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, they could benefit from a Puljujarvi trade. The biggest thing standing in the way of this happening is the money. Colorado only has $646,431 in cap space currently (CapFriendly), which they need to create cap space to make the trade possible. While that cap space does grow throughout the season, it still poses a challenge in bringing players in early in the year.

Oilers Have a Decision to Make

Puljujarvi has been a polarizing player for the vast majority of his career. Many believe that his time in Edmonton is up, but that’s up to management. Whether or not Puljujarvi is an Oiler for the 2022-23 season remains to be seen, but he’s someone to keep an eye on.