How likely might the Edmonton Oilers be to trade Jesse Puljujarvi to help shore up the blueline?
Puljujarvi, drafted fourth overall in 2016, is one of the few attractive assets the organization has available that might help to land such a defenseman; although he’ll also be an affordable commodity for the foreseeable future up front in a cap era where every dollar counts on a team already in a cap crunch.
During a Thursday morning radio hit on Edmonton’s TSN 1260, the discussion with Darren Dreger turned to the Oilers’ need for secondary scoring, which then morphed into a player development-related question.
“Do you get the sense with the organization that they’re trying to take a different approach maybe with Jesse Puljujarvi than they have with some of their other top-end picks?”
“Yeah,” agreed Dreger. “Look, Edmonton has learned that you’ve got to be patient. And for the most part, I think the Oilers have done things the right way in that sense in how they’ve developed good, young talented players.
“I get the feeling that they’re just trying to exhaust every scenario with Puljujarvi because I think that there’s been enough in his play to show them that there’s a really good player that’s just waiting to break out of this guy. They can’t coax it out of him on a consistent basis.
“The question I always ask, and I’ve asked it of the Edmonton Oilers - not recently, but perhaps in the off-season - is at what point do you get where you go, ‘Alright, we’ve seen enough to know that maybe he’s not going to be the player that we hoped he would be when he landed in our lap on the draft floor.’
“Well, that’s not an indictment on the player or the organization - sometimes that stuff just happens, so at what point are you better to use him as a tradeable asset? And at least in the off-season, the message that I got back was - they wouldn’t even discuss it with me. It was like, ‘We’re not trading Puljujarvi.’ They just didn’t want that narrative out there at any point.
“But if go through another season of uncertainty with this young guy, does it not make sense to start talking about it, especially when you have other needs.”
Dreger reiterated he’s not suggesting the Oilers should be at that point with Puljujarvi now.
“I appreciate why they’re taking their time,” indicated the Insider. “And look, 10 games from now, 15, 20 - whatever the timeline is in this regular season - we might be signing a completely different tune because he’s playing with that consistency that everybody is searching for.”
Puljujarvi has one goal and no assists through seven starts, and is averaging 12:28 ice time per game.
The 20-year-old winger is in the final season of his entry-level contract.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly