Jesse Puljujarvi has been in the rumor mill for a long time now, but the Edmonton Oilers have yet to trade the 2016 fourth-overall pick. Yet, with the trade deadline now roughly a month away, there seems to be a legitimate chance that this could change. The Oilers are looking to be major buyers at the deadline, but they of course need to clear out salary to make a high-impact addition to their group. Therefore, they certainly could part ways with Puljujarvi and his $3 million cap hit.
Yet, after recording 36 points in 65 games last season, Puljujarvi has just 10 points in 49 games this campaign. As a result, the Oilers would be selling him while his trade value is at its lowest. However, even with this, it seems that both parties would benefit by moving on from each other. Let’s now take a gander at three teams who could be willing to take a chance on Puljujarvi from here.
I could certainly see a rebuilding team like the Chicago Blackhawks being very open to the idea of taking on a former top prospect like Puljujarvi. After all, he is still just 24 years, and there is still reason to believe that he can bounce back from this disastrous start to the year. Furthermore, with Chicago being in a full-on rebuild, they are in a position to take a chance on a player like the 6-foot-4 winger.
If Puljujarvi were to be traded to the Blackhawks, it would surely provide him with the opportunity to receive top-six minutes upon his arrival. This is especially true if rental candidates like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Max Domi, and Andreas Athanasiou end up being dealt. Furthermore, he would also be guaranteed power play time due to Blackhawks’ limited forward depth. As a result, this extra playing time could allow him to produce more regularly again.
With the Oilers being one of the teams reportedly expressing interest in Patrick Kane, I wonder if Puljujarvi could be a part of a trade package to bring him in. The Oilers would also need to likely include their 2023 first-round pick, 2023 third-round pick, prospect Reid Schaefer, and Warren Foegele to make this move go through. However, if the Blackhawks wanted Puljujarvi by himself, they simply could part ways with, say, their 2023 fourth-round pick due to his decreased trade value.
Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings are heading in the right direction and have shown this campaign that they are a competitive club. At the time of this writing, they sport a 21-19-8 record but also trail the Pittsburgh Penguins by seven points for the final wild card spot. As a result, they are unlikely to be major buyers at the trade deadline, but they still could be open to the prospect of bringing in Puljujarvi. After all, they still are building up their roster, and the 24-year-old could be exactly the kind of player worth taking a chance on because of it.
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When looking at Detroit’s lineup, it is fair to argue that he could compete for a spot on their second or third line. This is especially true if his scoring touch from last season reemerges following a move to Detroit. Furthermore, if the Red Wings end up trading rental candidates like Tyler Bertuzzi, Pius Suter, and Adam Erne, it could open the door for Puljujarvi to receive more time on both of their special team units. As a result, this could be the spark that helps him take that next step in his development.
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The Oilers are reportedly looking to beef up their bottom six before the trade deadline passes, so I wonder if they could target Oskar Sundqvist from Detroit. The 28-year-old versatile forward is quietly having a solid year, as he has seven goals and 18 points in 39 contests. If the Oilers included Puljujarvi and their 2024 fourth-round pick, they could likely land the two-time Stanley Cup champion.
The Anaheim Ducks are in a full-on rebuild, and that is easy to recognize when noting that they sport a 16-29-5 record. Due to this, it is apparent that they are in a position to bring in an intriguing young player like Puljujarvi. Furthermore, it could be equally beneficial for him to join Anaheim, as it would provide him with the opportunity to play for a low-pressure franchise as he aims to get his career back on track.
When looking at the Ducks’ lineup, it is fair to argue that Puljujarvi would be in the running to be utilized on their second line. He could replace Max Jones on the line and play with top prospect Mason McTavish and veteran winger Frank Vatrano. Possessing such a notable role could result in Puljujarvi gaining more confidence and producing at a more consistent pace again. With that, his solid net-front presence ability would surely increase his chances of playing on one of their power play units.
With the Oilers being one of the teams reportedly interested in John Klingberg, it certainly seems possible that they would add Puljujarvi to that deal. With the latter, the Oilers could also throw in their 2023 second-round pick, while the Ducks would need to retain half of Klingberg’s salary.
Nevertheless, it is clear that now is the time for the Oilers to move on from Puljujarvi. He is in need of a change of scenery, while Edmonton needs to improve their roster elsewhere. As a result, do not be surprised to see these three teams in play for his services at the deadline from here.