Oilers News & Rumors: Ennis, Puljujarvi, Bouchard, More

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, the team placed veteran forward Tyler Ennis on waivers Monday. Is this because of his early season struggles or because there’s another move coming from the team? Meanwhile, Jesse Puljujarvi got an opportunity on the Oilers top line Sunday night and is all the rage in Oilers Nation on Monday. Finally, when will defenseman Evan Bouchard get his first look this season? Could an opportunity be coming for the rookie defenseman thanks to some early season power play production issues for Tyson Barrie?

Oilers Waive Tyler Ennis

Tyler Ennis was placed on waivers by the Oilers Monday morning and it’s not completely clear why. While Ennis, 31, has been held pointless in four contests with the Oilers this season, there’s a real risk the Oilers could lose him considering he makes just $1 million on a one-year deal.

Ennis was brought in last season at the trade deadline and given an extension this offseason after telling the Oilers it was his desire to stay with the team. He’s a popular player and strong depth guy and another team might be interested knowing he could slot in on any of the team’s four lines and not be overwhelmed. A team like the Toronto Maple Leafs might be interested as they’re rumored to be in the market for a forward and he has history with the team, having played 51 games there a couple of seasons ago.

Jason Gregor points out that Ennis being waived is likely so the Oilers can recall Bouchard or forward Joakim Nygard from the Taxi Squad without having to wait. If Ennis clears, the Oilers will be able to send him up and down without needing waivers.

Related: Oilers Weekly Preview: Jets, Leafs & Senators Each Offer Unique Challenges

Puljujarvi Hits Home Run After Being Offered Opportunity

It might not have been a grand slam because he didn’t score a goal, but the performance put in by Puljujarvi on Sunday night versus the Winnipeg Jets can certainly be classified as a home run. Head coach Dave Tippett offered the forward a chance to play alongside Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Puljujarvi took advantage. He posted an assist, six shots on goal, earned third star of the night honors, and had arguably his best game ever in an Oilers jersey.

Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers
Jesse Puljujarvi (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Tippett said after the game that Puljujarvi did exactly what was expected of him, which was play the same way he’s played all season. The bench boss noted that the winger is really coming into his own and could be a strong player for the Oilers the rest of the way. “He knows he’s a good enough player to play in the (NHL) now and he’s going about the business of proving it,” Tippett said.

The coach didn’t confirm as much, but the belief is that Puljujarvi will keep his spot on the top line heading into Tuesday’s rematch with the Jets.

Evan Bouchard Ready to Play

The consensus in Edmonton seems to be that it’s only a matter of time before Bouchard gets into the lineup for the Oilers. Some were wondering if that might have been on Sunday, but the Oilers stuck with the same roster. However, some line juggling against the Jets hints there might be good news for Bouchard on the horizon.

Evan Bouchard Oilers
Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers, 2018 NHL Draft, Dallas, TX, June 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Bouchard is one of the few solutions for the Oilers who have struggled to move the puck out of their own zone at times or score on the power play. The two areas Bouchard seems to excel at are passes out of the zone and quarterbacking a man advantage. Early in the season, Edmonton’s power play has struggled and Sunday night, Tippett leaned toward Darnell Nurse instead of Tyson Barrie when trying to get the goal that could tie the game late in the third period.

Is this a sign that there’s some concern the power play may not be clicking as well as the team might have hoped with Barrie running point? This isn’t at all to suggest the Oilers are giving up on Barrie. Far from it. That said, perhaps a player like Bouchard could get a look if Barrie doesn’t get on the board soon.

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