Oilers News and Rumors: Cave, Puljujarvi, Gauthier, More

In a news and rumors update surrounding the Edmonton Oilers, the stat line for the Oilers to start the season is amazing, there is news on Jesse Puljujarvi, rumored interest by the Oilers in a forward out of Carolina, roster changes via the waiver wire and more. Plus, who is the Oilers best defenseman so far this season? An interesting case can be made for an unexpected player.

A Good Two Weeks for Oilers Fans

It’s a mistake to get too far ahead of things but the Oilers have had a great two weeks. As Bob Stauffer points out, the Oilers are 5-0 and the lead Western Conference. Connor McDavid is first in points, (4-8-12) and Leon Draisaitl (4-7-11) is second. James Neal has seven goals on the season, five of which are power-play goals (leads NHL in G and PPG) and the Oilers special teams are top-notch with a 41.2% success-rate on the power play and their penalty kill sitting at 94.1%. Both are good for second in the NHL.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Meanwhile, the Oilers have their last four #1 picks “ripening” in other leagues. Phillip Broberg is in Skelleftea, Evan Bouchard and Kailer Yamamoto are in Bakersfield and Jesse Puljujarvi is in Finland playing for Karpat.

Puljujarvi’s Trade Value Changing?

Speaking of Puljujarvi, he is a point-per-game player in Finland with 11 points in 11 games. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston notes that he’s working on getting his game back and so far, things have looked good. In fact, things have gotten so comfortable for the forward, he’s potentially thinking about staying all season.

Related: NHL Rumors: Hall, Puljujarvi, Gudbranson, More

Ivan Provorov, Jesse Puljujarvi
Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi, and Philadelphia Flyers’ Ivan Provorov (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Matt Slocum)

What becomes an interesting question for the Oilers is whether or not to make a change on how quickly they try to trade Puljujarvi based on this new information. The Oilers have not missed Puljujarvi’s production but if Puljujarvi is legitimately thinking about not returning to the NHL, one has to wonder if this is for just the Edmonton Oilers or for anyone?

Perhaps there’s a concern he won’t want to sign in the NHL prior to December 1, 2019 and instead want keep his positive momentum going. Considering he might be the best player in the Finnish Elite League, does his success in Finland make him a player other teams will want? Or, does his comfort level in Finland make him a player teams don’t want to risk trading for only to see him not join the franchise?

Related: Tyler Benson and the Edmonton Oilers

Puljujarvi For Gauthier Trade?

This news might be where the rumors of the Oilers interest in Julien Gauthier comes from. Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal suggestion the Oilers are interested makes one wonder if the Oilers might be more prone to making a trade now when they weren’t interested before.

Julien Gauthier
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton might not have traded Puljujarvi one-for-one to acquire Gauthier, but if they don’t want this Puljujarvi situation to drag out, maybe that changes. Gauthier’s waiver exemption is a huge plus in any trade because he could be moved back and forth to the AHL if the Oilers wanted to slow-play his development. And, slow-playing his development might be the way to go should this be a deal the Oilers are considering.

Leavins writes:

If indeed Edmonton scouts watched Saturday’s ‘Canes game against Columbus they would have seen Gauthier play 4th line minutes (8:25 TOI, and all but a few seconds of it 5×5) and register 0 points, 0 shots and 2 hits. 

source – ‘One of the unsung heroes in the Edmonton Oilers shining 5-0 start has been a player that far too many critics love to hate: 9 Things’- Kurt Leavins – The Edmonton Journal – 10/13/2019

Related: Top 15 NHL Power Forwards

Colby Cave Clears Waivers

Oilers forward prospect Colby Cave was placed on waivers Saturday as Josh Archibald was activated from the I.R. He passed through unclaimed and will report to Bakersfield.

Anaheim Ducks Hampus Lindholm Edmonton Oilers Colby Cave
Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm and Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave (Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)

Cave had a legitimate shot to make the team but was outplayed by players like Tomas Jurco and Markus Granlund. And with Granlund making a move to center at the suggestion of Oilers Assistant Coach Glen Gulutzan, he seems to have found another step in his game, making it even harder for Cave to win a spot back. Add Alex Chiasson to the mix and Cave could be in Bakersfield until an injury requires a call-up.

Surprising or Not-so Surprising Benning Stat

Many fans like to harp on Matt Benning despite him being a strong depth defenseman with good underlying numbers. But, one might assume not many people were aware Benning has yet to be on the ice for a single goal against five games into the 2019-20 season.

Matt Benning Oilers
Matt Benning, Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 21, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

And, according to Leavins, he’s accomplishing these feats while facing extreme D-zone starts (73.1%). Moreover, he’s not often on the ice with the Oilers best forwards. One has to wonder what else Benning will have to do for fans to turn the corner and start to get behind him.

Remembering Ted Green

Finally, our condolences go out to the friends and family of Ted Green. Green won a Stanley Cup as a player for the Boston Bruins and five-time winner as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s. He passed away at the age of 79.

The Oilers announced Green’s death Saturday, and he was honored before Edmonton’s game against the New York Rangers.

Related: Top 10 NHL Legends Who Never Hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup