Oilers’ 5 Possible Trade Destinations for Jesse Puljujarvi

It appears as though the Edmonton Oilers and Jesse Puljujarvi are finally both ready to go their separate ways. They have both given it multiple attempts and are now ready to accommodate the players’ request to go to a new team. There is a good amount of interest out there, so even though the price tag may look like a second-round pick or something similar, competition may drive up the price. Nevertheless, we will look at the five most likely landing spots for Puljujarvi as the Oilers should trade him soon.

Carolina Hurricanes

With a number of free agent forwards to deal with, it creates room for the Carolina Hurricanes, who have shown interest, to bring in the big Finnish forward. There’s history there with Puljujarvi and Sebastian Aho as they were dominant together in the World Juniors in 2016. Puljujarvi led the tournament in points with 17 and won the MVP alongside Aho. The Hurricanes’ No. 1 centre isn’t on the level of Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl, but having another player who speaks the same language and where there’s history can play a huge factor.

Jesse Puljujarvi Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Martin Necas may be on the move from the Hurricanes, a restricted free agent (RFA) as well who got bumped down the depth charts after Seth Jarvis arrived and played very well. There’s only a certain number of spots in a lineup, and with a decline in production in his third season, it could create an interesting conversation as to whether Carolina would consider swapping young forwards.

Puljujarvi’s stellar 5-on-5 play defensively would play right into the system that Rod Brind’Amour and the Hurricanes have laid out as the Oilers’ forward is rarely on the ice for even-strength goals against.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks appear on the list of possible teams considering they are now fully rebuilding, which means players are on their way out. As they ship out older players of value, it creates openings in the lineup that they still must fill. There lies the interest in Puljujarvi. He is 24 years old and it seems like he still needs a bit more time to get his game on track, but he possesses the potential to be a top-six forward, score, and be an excellent two-way player.

The Blackhawks have the ability to be patient in this regard since they aren’t trying to win anything within the next couple of seasons other than the draft lottery. A young player with Chicago whose name has been thrown around is Kirby Dach. Though he is three years younger than Puljujarvi and should be given more time to develop, the team might feel like they should move him sooner rather than later to get a better return. The Blackhawks could surely use a young forward who excels on the defensive side of the puck and is great at forechecking.

Ottawa Senators

Another team that has shown interest in Puljujarvi and who the Oilers can take advantage of the cap space is the Ottawa Senators. They not only have a great middle-six workhorse in Connor Brown who is a likely trade piece this summer, but Marc Spector of Sportsnet brings up the point that they could realistically take on Zack Kassian’s contract in the process. Not only would they deal Puljujarvi and save some money there, they would check one more thing off the offseason checklist by trading Kassian.

Connor Brown Ottawa Senators
Connor Brown, Ottawa Senators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Ottawa is building a young team and Puljujarvi can play a middle-six or third-line role for them with an opportunity for a fresh start and a better opportunity. If the Oilers receive a player like Brown in return while freeing themselves on money, they have to highly consider taking it. The Oilers don’t need a draft pick since it won’t help them next season without flipping it. The best return is someone who can play effectively and consistently on the third line while also having the potential to slide up if needed.

Colorado Avalanche

Many have drawn comparisons between Valeri Nichushkin and Puljujarvi. They are both big, great forecheckers, and the skill is there. The Colorado Avalanche took a chance on Nichushkin three seasons ago after the Dallas Stars gave up on him when he failed to score a goal in 57 games. After showing clear signs of progression over his time with the Avalanche, he is now a 25-goal scorer and Stanley Cup champion, playing a big part in the playoffs as well as the regular season.

Related: Oilers are a Few Moves Away From Being the Next Avalanche

Though the Avalanche will try to sign Nichushkin, he now has a Cup and will be looking for a payday after breaking out at age 27. Puljujarvi is three years younger than him and the exact age when Nichushkin started to figure out his game. Colorado could see that and save themselves some much-needed money down the line by trying their luck again in transforming another very similar and younger player.

Arizona Coyotes

Another likely destination for Puljujarvi is the Arizona Coyotes who have four higher second-round picks in the 2022 Draft as well as some young forwards of interest that could realistically be swapped for him as well. As I mentioned above, it is highly unlikely the Oilers are going to keep a second-round pick if they receive that in return, but would need someone who can help the team win next season.

The Coyotes also have more than enough cap space and will be looking to reach the cap floor once again. If Arizona doesn’t want to be rebuilding for a long time, they’d be wise to eventually start turning their plethora of draft picks into young players who can start helping with that.

It’s not a question of if Puljujarvi will be traded, but when. By the draft seems likely, but before free agency at the very latest. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out in Edmonton for their high first-round pick, but at least they’ve hit on a great deal over the past decade.

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