Although he is still a teenager, Jesse Puljujarvi is a No. 4 overall pick and we should be seeing good things from him at the AHL level. One area we can look at in the limited statistical universe available is shots per game. JP does pretty well among AHL rookie forwards who have played in 20 or more games.
SHOTS PER GAME (ROOKIES) (all disciplines)
- Timo Meier (age 20) 3.21
- Tyler Motte (age 21) 3.15
- Jake Guentzel (age 22) 2.97
- Jesse Puljujarvi (age 18) 2.9
That indicates the young man is getting shots on goal at a good pace compared to other rookies—and the fact he is doing it at 18 makes it more impressive. One of the things Edmonton needs JP to do is shoot the puck and I think these numbers indicate he has gotten the message at the AHL level. He ranks No. 56 among rookies (source) with a 12.1 percentage. Mikko Rantanen was 17.1 in his rookie season, so this is an area where Puljujarvi is perhaps lacking compared to his countryman.
RECENT OILERS AHL ROOKIES (SHOOTING PERCENTAGE)
- Jesse Puljujarvi (16-17) 12.1
- Anton Slepyshev (15-16) 11.5
- Toni Rajala (12-13) 11.4
@Lowetide No matter what happens with the Oilers I would leave Jesse Puljujarvi in the minors until their season ends.
— Rivetingriffs (@Rivetingriffs) March 3, 2017
It is an interesting thought. I am in favor of Puljujarvi playing the final 19 games in the AHL—if Anton Lander is his center. If Puljujarvi plays 19 more games and averages 2.9 shots a game and 12.1 shooting percentage, he will end the year having played 39 games and scoring 14 goals as an 18 year old AHL rookie.
Of course, with Lander as his center, times have been better. In Puljujarvi’s last nine games, many with Lander, he is 5-4-9, point per game. If JP scores 10 goals in his final 19 games of the season, he will have posted a 17-goal season in 39 games. We still don’t have his offense surrounded, but the shots are encouraging. If he can find the range more often—and that probably means shooting from high-scoring areas—we can be more comfortable with the idea of Puljujarvi as a first-person shooter on the McDavid line.