Storms are getting: Forward Jesse Puljujarvi
Oilers get it: Forward Patrik Puistola
Corey Pronman: Patrik Puistola is still an undrafted third-round pick from the 2019 draft. He has great skill and offensive instincts and can score goals in the net and from range. His speed and effort never sold points though. As a one-way winger without elite talent, he has NHL potential but is not a high prospect.
It says a lot about where the value of Jesse Puljujarvi is that this is the only thing he can pull. Puljujarvi’s equipment is naturally more interesting. He plays a lot of football for a big winger and has some ability, but his hockey sense and competition have been a concern in recent years. Puljujarvi is an NHL player, and a better player than Puistola, but whether he can actually play the top nine in the Stanley Cup like Carolina is a question. Edmonton has obviously decided that the answer is no. I think it’s a 50/50 decision. Puljujarvi is talented in other areas and I think he has more to offer.
I don’t care about this Carolina lottery because I like Puljujarvi, but it is very interesting and unique given the position that the two clubs are in, in the ranking. It’s also difficult because it begs the question of what Edmonton’s next move is with this extra space.
The size of the stormnot: B+
Oil levelB- (TBD depending on next move)
Sean Gentille: Before the typhoon hit Puljujarvi, the stage was already a combination of play and prediction. Now, it’s true. This is not a big deal; which, for better or worse, fits hand-in-glove between player and team.
Carolina, in recent years, has excelled at controlling possession and creating scoring opportunities. This year alone, they lead the league in expected five-on-five percentage (60.7) and per/60 (3.33). In terms of actual five-on-five / 60 goals, they still rank highly…but eighth overall, instead of first.
Puljujarvi embodies this process. His defensive impact has been outstanding, and so far this season, he has also advanced the game. He can’t eat. More than fair, he hasn’t been able to turn his defensive role into offense – at least not at an acceptable rate, if that’s what you need.
Good news for Puljujarvi and the Canes? This is not exactly what they need to do. Now, Carolina needs a game-breaker. That’s not news – that’s why they went out and got Max Pacioretty in the offseason. Pacioretty’s injury (and San Jose’s decision to send Timo Meier to New Jersey) has forced them into a different lineup that, for now, includes duplicating the type of player that got them to this point. There is nothing wrong with that.
They took all of Puljujarvi’s $3 million cap hit, but still have plenty of cap space to add juice to the bottom six. What they did on Tuesday was important but small. As for Puljujarvi, he has now reached a place where the expectations will be better suited to his skills. He is a player for a team that invests in the things he adds to the mix, rather than worrying about what he doesn’t do. Now, if some people can stop thinking that he’s Valeri Nichushkin 2.0, and the lock to go from a playmaker with 25 goals, we’ll make some progress. He may have more to offer, but if he doesn’t, that’s okay, too.
In the case of the Oilers, they cleared a lot of unused player space. Quibble with the last point if you want, but Puljujarvi isn’t a $3 million player in Edmonton, and they can’t make him one. We’ll see what they do with the space, but creating it – and increasing Puistola’s rights – is the point. In space, this is enough.
The size of the storm: B
Oil level: B
(Photo: Perry Nelson/USA Today)
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