The problem is that we don’t have all of the information about Jesse Puljujarvi, and that leads to reactions based on what we do know. On the face of what we know to be true, it was foolhardy to let game 40 pass, wait a heartbeat, and then send the young man down. It will cost extra in cap dollars when the young Finn hits age 25, as a contract that might have got him through for $4.0M now may cost $6.0M—and it is possible that it could be more depending on how JP progresses.
What I don’t know, and it is fair to assume no one does beyond the Oilers, is why they did it. Seems to me that there was no obvious reason to lose the year, and that must mean there are other issues (language, adjustment, family, maturity) at play. Online, you will see reams and reams of ‘Peter Chiarelli is a crazy man’ and that may well be, but it seems illogical to hammer this subject beyond acknowledging it is highly unusual.
What I think we can say, with authority, is this: The Edmonton Oilers do not have a strong track record in the area of contract management, and that this is an unusual bit of handling. Beyond that, I expect your reaction to today’s news will depend on how much damage or help you feel Peter Chiarelli has delivered since arriving in Edmonton.
PULJUJARVI IN BAKERSFIELD
The next issue at hand is this one: Who is the young man going to play with in Bakersfield? Anton Lander and Anton Slepyshev are both in Edmonton, leaving (skilled men) Taylor Beck, Jujhar Khaira and Ryan Hamilton. That probably means Khaira and Puljujarvi will be on the same line, since Khaira is the only center.
Ideally, you would see Puljujarvi placed in the best possible circumstances, and that may mean playing LW with Beck on the other side and Khaira in the middle. The Condors play tomorrow, Thursday and Saturday, I imagine Thursday will be the first game we see the Finn—a home game against Stockton.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN BAKERSFIELD?
Let’s assume the instructions to Gerry Fleming are to play the living daylights out of Puljujarvi, and let’s say it is going to be 20 games at 18 minutes a night (360 minutes in total). Using JP’s NHL time (318 minutes) and the NHL-to-AHL ratio (Rob Vollman’s) we should expect about 20 points in those 20 games. If JP reaches 20 points in 20 games, his NHLE would be 39 points. I think that is a fair guess at reasonable.
The Russian went 9gp, 3-7-10 (works out to 82gp, 13-30-43 NHLE). His rookie AHL season (15gp, 2-2-4) resumes and I hope we see him in a substantial role. I have been impressed with Todd McLellan’s usage of graduating minor leaguers—they get right into the lineup and play substantial roles.
Is on waivers. That was bound to happen, and I think we see Laurent Brossoit tomorrow. We will discuss in the 8:30 GDT post tomorrow morning, but I do like the waiver idea, too.