The Oilers have limited assets to deal with the trade deadline looming, which poses an interesting conundrum when it comes to Jesse Puljujarvi.
Darren Dreger had a Thursday morning radio hit on Edmonton’s TSN 1260.
The Insider was asked about the possibility of the organization being torn on whether to continue to develop the young forward, or deal him away for needed help.
“Well, look - they don’t want to get rid of him,” indicated Dreger. “My Oilers sources tell me that they’d prefer not to trade Jesse Puljujarvi. And in fact, there’s some who believe that Peter Chiarelli may have gone as far as reaching out to the agent a week or 10 days ago to say that, ‘We’re not trading him.’
“But again, given the situation of the Oilers, it’s no different than a lot of teams. If a team makes the right offer, you can’t ignore it - but I think that’s unlikely. And it’s unlikely because of what we saw last night.
“Look, Ken Hitchcock was brought in as a gunslinger here to right the ship and get them back winning - so that’s priority one for him, is to get as much of a contribution out of every player as he can. But the end goal, of course, is to win games and he’s not worried about hurting anyone’s feelings.
“But as an organization, is it in the best interests of the organization - Jesse Puljujarvi - to have him play six minutes a night. And I think the answer to that is no. So is this player willing, interested, in going to Bakersfield and continuing to develop and progress in the American Hockey League.
“Historically, if recent history tells us, that wouldn’t be choice No. 1 for Jesse Puljujarvi. He was okay with it on a short-term stint just prior to Hitchcock taking over the bench from Todd McLellan.
“So now you’ve got a situation if you’re Peter Chiarelli. What do you do with this asset. If your coach isn’t interested in playing him, the player doesn’t want to go to the American Hockey League - he’d rather be traded; then as the GM you’ve got to make a tough call. You can’t just flat-out say, ‘Well, we don’t want to trade him.’ You do have to manage the asset.
“So I think there’s a number of scenarios that could be in play here with Puljujarvi.”
Puljujarvi is in the final season of his entry-level contract.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly