Grading the Hurricanes’ Trade for Jesse Puljujarvi

Longtime trade target Jesse Puljujarvi finally has a new home. The Edmonton Oilers have traded the 2016 fourth-overall pick to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Patrik Puistola.

The Hurricanes were one of the teams linked to Puljujarvi before this trade, and now they have officially landed their guy. He will now have the opportunity of a fresh start with Carolina and aim to help them win the Stanley Cup. The Oilers, on the other hand, have landed a solid prospect in Puistola and freed up some much-needed space. Here are the grades for both teams involved in this swap.

Hurricanes Improve Forward Group With Puljujarvi

The Hurricanes were expected to add at least one forward to their roster by the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. This is because star winger Max Pacioretty is done for the season, and the Hurricanes have extra money to work since Pacioretty is on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Due to this, they have now brought in a promising young forward in Puljujarvi, and he should serve as a decent addition to their group moving forward.

Jesse Puljujarvi Edmonton Oilers
Jesse Puljujarvi, former Edmonton Oilers forward (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

After posting a 14-goal and 36-point campaign in 65 games last season for Edmonton, Puljujarvi has just five goals and nine assists in 58 games this season. It has been a very rough season for the 24-year-old, but now he has been given a fresh start to get things back on track. When noting that he is playing with some excellent talent in Carolina, he certainly has the potential to produce more frequently again.

When looking at a possible spot for Puljujarvi in Carolina’s lineup, it is fair to argue that he could take over Jesper Fast’s third-line right wing spot. However, he also has the potential to compete for a top-six spot if he can find his previous scoring touch. With that, the former top prospect should also see time on their power play due to his solid net-front presence ability.

Related: 2023 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

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Overall, this is a decent move on paper for Carolina. They have improved their forward depth with a former top prospect who could make a big impact moving forward. Puljujarvi needed a change of scenery for quite some time now, and it will be intriguing to see if he can fit his full potential as a member of the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes Grade: B+

Oilers Free Up Cap Space; Improve Prospect Pool

The Oilers desperately needed to free up cap space, and they have done just that by moving Puljujarvi. Yet, what makes this move even better for them is that they are not retaining any of his $3 million salary, so the Oilers now have more wiggle room for the deadline.

Yet, one should not ignore the Oilers’ return for Puljujarvi, either. Puistola is developing nicely in Finland and has the tools to become an NHL player later down the road. After recording a 24-point campaign in 54 Finnish Elite League games last season with Jukurit, he has 15 goals and 38 points in 56 games this season. Thus, he is heading in the right direction with his development, and if he continues to, he should become a third-line NHL forward in the future.

Related: THW’s 2023 Trade Grades

This move also helped free up enough cap space for them to acquire veteran defenseman Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators. This was an essential move for Edmonton to make, as Ekholm will improve their top four and left side significantly as they gear up for the playoffs. Therefore, that makes this Puljujarvi trade even better for the Oilers on paper.

Oilers Trade Grade: A-