Oilers New Prospect Puistola Could Be Rewarding Project

The Edmonton Oilers made their first trade amongst a frenzy of moves this week as they traded fan favorite Jesse Puljujarvi to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Patrik Puistola. While this move was solely completed in an effort to free up some cap space to bring in a new defenseman, which they did in Mattias Ekholm, Puistola is a low-risk, high-reward player that if he continues to play well overseas, could become a future bottom-six forward for the Oilers.

Who Is Patrik Puistola?

Puistola is a 22-year-old forward prospect that can play either wing and currently plays in the Liiga for Jukurit in Finland, the top professional hockey league in the country. He has scored 15 goals and added 23 assists for 38 points through 56 games and currently leads his team in points. He stands 6 feet tall, 174 pounds, and remains unsigned by the Oilers. The Hurricanes selected him 73rd overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and never signed him.

He has represented Finland on multiple occasions, playing for their U16, U17, U18, and U20 teams at the World Junior Championship. Perhaps his most impressive showing was when he played for the U20 team during the 2019-20 season. He scored five goals and added three assists for eight points through seven games, which was good enough for second on the team in scoring, and even won a gold medal defeating the United States in the final game.

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He has stood out in Finland as an offensive weapon with plenty of tricks in his arsenal that he can use to put the puck in the net. While his defensive game isn’t the strongest, he has stood out as a player that is able to be elite amongst players older than him, but it’ll be tough to see if he’s ever able to transfer his game over to the North American style of hockey.

“Offensive winger with top-six upside. More of a goal-scorer but can also make plays.”

– DobberProspects: Patrik Puistola Prospect Profile (February 28, 2023)

Watching some highlights and seeing his style of play, there are shades of Patrik Laine from the Columbus Blue Jackets as they are both shoot-first players that have been working to improve their defensive game. They both also have lethal shots that always somehow make their way past the goalie. He has a smooth stride and a high hockey IQ that allows him to find open space while being able to find any hole a goaltender gives him.

Patrik Puistola Carolina Hurricanes
Patrik Puistola, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While his defensive game may not be elite, it will be interesting to see what the Oilers decide to do with Puistola. They have until the end of the season to sign him to an entry-level contract or let him walk to free agency. If I were the Oilers, I would sign him and let him continue to improve. With the pace he’s on, he could be getting minutes in the American Hockey League as soon as next season.

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Puistola’s Upside Makes Him High Reward Player

Puistola has the upside of a top-six winger. His ability to play the game on either side of the ice is a benefit in itself, as he could fit in just about anywhere in the lineup. I think he is still at least three seasons away from getting a crack at the NHL level. If the Oilers decide to take the risk and sign him, he would be able to improve his game in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors and slowly could become one of the biggest steals in recent history.

I think one day we could see Puistola in the NHL. It will be a long process of getting used to the game outside of Finland for the youngster, but he has some serious skills that if he is able to transfer them to the NHL level one day, could be utilized by the Oilers a few years down the road.

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