Jesse Puljujarvi signed to play with Oulun Karpat of The Champions League in Finland. He didn’t waste any time getting off to a strong start with a goal, an assist and a team-leading six shots in his first game back. This is fine, in fact, great news for the Edmonton Oilers who need Puljujarvi to show well in an effort to raise his value around the NHL.
Perhaps this game didn’t set the league on fire when it comes to a willingness to trade for the Finn or that all of a sudden, other NHL organizations were knocking down the door of Oilers GM Ken Holland. That said, there is already news that at least two teams are interested in Puljujarvi’s services.
Tampa Bay and Carolina the Consensus Teams
Elliotte Friedman spoke with NHL Network and after saying the Oilers would only trade Puljujarvi for a return that works and makes them happy, he explained some Canadian teams have shown interest, but two U.S. franchises might stand the best chance of landing the former fourth-overall pick.
Friedman noted that the Oilers want a player and a pick and he also noted that the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning are presenting themselves as frontrunners, potentially willing to offer that return.
The question is, ‘Do these options make sense for the Oilers?’
Where’s the Fit With Carolina Hurricanes?
Carolina has been one of those teams rumored to be in the mix for a while. There is a connection between Sebastian Aho and Puljujarvi because Jesse played with Aho on the Finnish world junior squad. There is also a connection between Puljujarvi’s agent Markus Lehto and Teuvo Teravainen, which might not mean much, but could suggest that the two sides are more likely to be on each other’s speed dials.
But, bottom line is, the Hurricanes could use more scoring. If Puljujarvi can continue to score in Finland, he could help the Hurricanes in that regard. The return could be a number of things but the names of Julien Gauthier, Warren Foegele and second-round pick have been suggested. GM Don Waddell has five picks in the first three rounds of the 2020 draft to play with and that allows for some conversation between the Hurricanes and Oilers.
Friedman said, “I think Carolina is willing to give them one of their prospects, maybe a guy like Gauthier but they’re not so interested in doing the pick.”
Where Do Tampa Bay Lightning Fit?
Tampa Bay became a new addition to the conversation when a few media members started suggesting there was a fit.
Dustin Nielson of OilersNation.com and TSN suggested the draft pick compensation would not be an issue for the Lightning as they have a ton of their own picks in 2020 plus a conditional 1st they got from the Vancouver Canucks and the Red Wings 4th-round pick to go along with the Senators 6th-rounder.
Nielson suggests the Lightning might be willing to move their own 3rd-round pick considering the Red Wings 4th-rounder will likely only be a few spots behind. When it comes to players off of the team, Nielson believes the conversation revolves around Cedric Paquette.
Nielson can’t quite wrap his head around why the Lightning would be interested, thinking that perhaps Tampa GM Julien BriseBois believes he can do what the Oilers couldn’t. Still, this is good news for Holland that a second team is now in the mix.
I think Tampa Bay, who they kind of flirted with back and forth, they kind of know which Tampa prospects they might be able to get, but I think again, it’s a combination of finding the exact group of the two things that they want, the pick plus the prospect.
One other local Edmonton media personality, Jim Matheson, suggested if Oilers are talking to Tampa regarding Puljujarvi, they most likely want center Anthony Cirelli and/or defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. As for a prospect, Edmonton might ask for winger Taylor Raddysh, who had 46 pts in first AHL season and was a former jr teammate of Connor McDavid.
For now, the Oilers can just cross their fingers that Puljujarvi keeps playing well and has more than one good game. The better he does, the more the offers go up.