One of the intriguing storylines around the Oilers in the coming months will be what they decide to do with Jesse Puljujarvi.
Darren Dreger had a Thursday morning radio hit on Edmonton’s TSN 1260.
The Insider was asked about Jesse Puljujarvi’s limited role with the big club while the Oilers’ AHL affiliate is winning games.
“It looked like Puljujarvi played better last night, didn’t it,” noted Dreger. “That’s how it looked. Can he string that together on a consistent basis. Well, he hasn’t been able to to this point.
“Again, if I’m management in Edmonton, you’re trusting Ken Hitchcock and the coaching staff right now. So lean on them. Find out what they believe to be the long-term upside of Jesse Puljujarvi. Now, you’re asking to look into the crystal ball and make a prediction, and often that’s really difficult to do with young, developing players.
“I can appreciate why Edmonton wants to continue to hold onto this young man, because they don’t fully know what his potential is. But if the feedback from your coaching staff is, ‘Well, we don’t really see him as being much better than a third-line player in the NHL,’ well cut bait.
“There is a trade market for Jesse Puljujarvi, but my understanding is that the Oilers just want too much - the ask on him is way too high. I don’t even know what that is. I can take a guess at it when you start talking about either a top prospect or a first-round pick obviously plus something given where he was drafted.
“But I don’t get the sense that Puljujarvi has much, if any, interest in going to Bakersfield and playing in the American Hockey League. Doesn’t have a choice organizationally, so if the Oilers want to take a tough stand on him then so be it.
“But I think it’s time that they actually seriously consider their trade options.”
Puljujarvi is in the final season of his entry-level contract, and can become a restricted free agent this summer.
Contract-related info via CapFriendly