PARIS IN THE SPRING

by Lowetide

Jesse Puljujarvi hurt his knee earlier today, and there was some concern (I was concerned) about the young man’s status. Late word this morning has him fine.

Peter Chiarelli described Puljujarvi’s season at the exit interview a few days ago, and the frustration from player and organization was clear. However, all is not lost and there are encouraging signs. In a thoughtful recent piece about the big Finn, Oilers Nerd Alert wrote the following:

  • But the speed and skill is there, in spades. The possession impacts are excellent – indeed, for a rookie they are stellar. What’s missing for Puljujarvi is confidence and experience (and also like Drai, some man strength to be able to play his imposing power game against NHL size players). 

Puljujarvi’s first NA season was neither poor or strong, and when thinking about a young man (18) playing against men that’s probably predictable. There are some good things, and perhaps some innocence (with an explanation). Bruce McCurdy pointed out the other day on the Lowdown that Leon Draisaitl went back to junior and dominated. Puljujarvi lost confidence (while scoring a goal and seven ‘first’ assists) and was sent to another high performing men’s league. Let’s (once again) compare JP to Mikko Rantanen and David Pastrnak in their AHL debuts:

  • David Pastrnak (Age: 18.138) (25gp, 11-17-28) (NHLE: 82gp, 19-30-49)
  • Mikko Rantanen (Age: 18.360) (54gp, 24-36-60) (NHLE: 82gp, 19-39-48)
  • Jesse Puljujarvi (Age: 18.248) (39gp,12-16-28, 109 shots) (NHLE: 82gp, 13-18-31)

Pastrnak was younger in his AHL debut, Rantanen was 112 days older than JP when he made his AHL debut. I’m not sure age gap can be used to explain the offense. One final item before we move on: even-strength scoring, just to check (and maybe expose a friendlier view of our Finn).

  • David Pastrnak (Age: 18.138) (25gp, 10-14-24 0.960) (Shots per game: 3.04)
  • Mikko Rantanen (Age: 18.360) (54gp, 18-24-42 0.777) (Shots per game: 2.69)
  • Jesse Puljujarvi (Age: 18.248) (39gp, 7-11-18 0.462) (Shots per game: 2.79)

The shots-per-game total is encouraging and may indicate JP played in some poor luck this past season. One area we can’t examine closely is linemates, and I do think there is a case to be made for Puljujarvi there. Not playing him with Anton Lander didn’t make a lot of sense, and that’s with due respect to Josh Currie who had a fine season. I will also tell you that confidence has been mentioned (remember, this is a young player) and more than one mention of ‘looking lost out there’ has been trumpeted at the WHC’s. This young man may need a mentor as a center upon NHL arrival and the Oilers should be able to provide one.

Jujhar Khaira is one of several prospects who will require waivers this fall, meaning (in the words of Elvis Presley) it’s now or never for the young man to make the NHL roster for good. Jesse Puljujarvi won’t be waiver eligible this fall, not Anton Slepyshev, nor Drake Caggiula. That’s the task as I see it for Khaira: Find a way to stay on the roster. I am hoping he can do it, and show some offensive ability (6-10 goals) in a 4line role.

The Oilers rookie crop of forwards in 2016-17 (Puljujarvi, Caggiula, Khaira, Slepyshev) are an intriguing group who have a lot in common. Good speed, three of them have good size and Khaira has a terrific mean streak that will hold him in good stead. I think they will all be wingers eventually, but we’ll see. Only Puljujarvi (in my opinion) holds promise as a quality goal scorer at this level (25+).

I’m reminded of Bill James and his 1986 Abstract. That year MLB had an incredible crop of rookies, with the NL (Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux, Will Clark, Benito Santiago, Barry Larkin) offering stunning talents at the top. The National Leaguers all had a range of skills, and Bonds is the best player of my lifetime. James lauded the rookie crop in that league, but sounded the alarm for the AL crop (which included Jose Canseco, Ruben Sierra, Pete Incaviglia, Cory Snyder). Why? Although the bats were fantastic, there wasn’t much defense and the power hitters struck out a lot. James was right (although men like Fred McGriff and Mark McGwire would emerge as HOF calibre hitters) and the NL crop far exceeded the American League.

I think this rookie crop of Oilers forwards are going to be remembered for shy bats. It’s possible, maybe even probable, one of these wingers grabs a job with McDavid or Draisaitl and scores goals by association, but as a group I don’t think the goals are going to save them. Jesse Puljujarvi alone can save the lot of them. Let’s hope this knee injury is nothing really.

BAKERSFIELD COACH 2017-18

Kris Knoblauch is the coach of the Erie Otters and a good guess has him coming to the Oilers organization this fall. The Condors may need a new coach and the local media (Bob, Jim Matheson) seem to be pushing his name forward. Is there a match? I have long felt the Oilers needed to hire someone more interested in development than winning, but that’s a gripe impossible to prove really without time-on-ice.

ERIC RODGERS ESTIMATED TIME ON ICE (NHLE)

Our friend from Oklahoma did wonderful work again this winter and gave us estimates for time-on-ice and points-per-82. Here are the forwards (over 25 games, sorted by TOI):

  1. Anton Lander (25:50) (50.47)
  2. Taylor Beck (25:33) (48.18)
  3. Ryan Hamilton (23:14) (28.32)
  4. Jujhar Khaira (21:19) (28.55)
  5. Josh Currie (19:26) (20.71)
  6. Jesse Puljujarvi (19:22) (27.67)
  7. Patrick Russell (16:08) (13.01)
  8. Jaedon Descheneau (12:08) (15.21)
  9. Jere Sallinen (10:16) (7.27)
  10. Scott Allen (10:11) (12.85)
  11. Greg Chase (9:17) (11.24)
  12. Braden Christoffer (9:06) (6.29)
  13. Kyle Platzer (7:12) (6.05)

If those numbers are true, Gerry Fleming (or Chris Knoblauch) probably want to play the prospects a little more. Jesse Puljujarvi has had a tough season but his struggles (and boxcars) could have been helped with more time alongside Anton Lander. In my opinion.

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Psyche

I am a believer in data analysis and application. But, the difficulty when applying and integrating data with Jesse P is that he is a late developer. And we need a formula to factor late development into his future performance. I don’t believe his current numbers are reliable indicators of his future performance. It’s a good thing that he is a late developer (Leon is similar, as are most of these young men that are 6’2 and above). Jesse will deliver top 6 goals and assists, it’s just too complex to predict if that will be next season or the season after. Above all, when he is ready he will need to be given the opportunity (environment) to succeed (i.e., ice time, line mates, PP).

Ducey

If JPs NHLE is 28 points, why would the Oilers trade for Ryan Strome ?

John Chambers

I am less concerned about Puljujarvi’s development after hearing Chiarelli’s comments the other day.

It’s now clear that the organization’s plan was to have JP learn the pro game, focused on defensive positioning, game management, checking responsibilities and the like.

Thing is, we’re not used to this as Oilers fans. We’re used to our young stars torching Junior leagues, the KHL, or the AHL, and jumping to the NHL with a boatload of offensive potential, but severely lacking in defensive acumen or the patience to learn a team game or embrace defensive responsibilities.

If the aim was the pump JPs stats the option existed. Play him with Lander, give him tons of pp time, and let the NHLE stats soar!!

But the better plan is the have him ready to contribute at the NHL level without being a liability to the team. Once that is rote he’ll have the coachs confidence to let the offense fly.

Clarkenstein

Hindsight is 20-20 I hear. The Oil have made a habit of rushing kids to the Show. JP was no exception to that continual and ongoing habit of poor development. So in hindsight I think a year of playing Major Junior would have been just what the doctor ordered. He’s wasn’t a “man” yet so why is he playing with them? It seems to have worked for Drai. I’m assuming there’s probably another silly rule that didn’t allow him to do that.

Stud Muffin

Why do we have to compare him to Pastrnak and Rantanen. What about Forsberg and Nylander.

fifthcartel

I agree that Puljujavi’s season was neither poor or strong. I don’t think it was eyebrow raising in either direction, maybe slight eyebrow lifting with concern, but I think there’s a decent amount of things (TOI, teamates) that could have played into it.

He was back of Pastrnak and Rantanen, but closer to W. Nylander, and Toronto emphasized developing their prospect after their new regime came into power. His ppg was better than the younger Nylander in Rochester.

I’d be curious to see the TOI from Providence and Toronto for Pastrnak and W. Nylander.

I’m not worried just yet. His 18-year-old AHL numbers are better or equal to 19-year-old numbers for Forsberg, Tatar, Horton, Kesler, although some of those only had ~20 games played.

Fillip Forsberg
19 yr old AHL season: 47gp 15g 19a 34p, 0.72ppg

Jesse Puljujarvi
18 yr old AHL season: 39gp 12g 16a 28p, 0.71ppg

Part of me wonders about the knee stuff. I wonder if they should have just let him rest and train instead of going to the WC’s.

Dino

Puljujarvi is going to be fine once he gets his man strength and confidence back. Kid is talented he just hasn’t figured out how to put it all together yet. He looks discombobulated out there for lack of a better word. I think in hockey it’s called poise, he will gain that with more experience on NA ice and he will be a legit top 6 winger.

JD_Wry

Great 3rd period by Canada. That was awesome.

Dino

Who I hope they pick if they keep the 22nd pick (in no particular order)

Suzuki
Yamamoto
Lind
Thomas

106 and 106

Playoffs Update:

With NSH calling Johansen’s injury and it being a “thigh” injury needing emergency surgery suggests that he fractured his femur. Major blood loss, totally atrophy in recovery. Much like Fedun’s injury years back on that icing call. Think it may take more than the 3-4 month timeline they gave.

Speedy recovery.

Woogie63

IMO

JP has enough skill, he needs to transition from the European hockey to NHL hockey;

More stops and starts to stay in position vs. big looping turns

In the defensive zone he has to own above the half wall and get the puck out of the zone vs. Cruising through the middle of the ice

Much stronger vs. Puck dieing on his stick.

Scungilli Slushy

Lowetide: It’s been years, probably since Paajarvi, since I’ve seen a teenage forward with better positioning. I think it might be the bandy.

I wouldn’t be surprised, I know a Peruvian fella who played Futsal which is sort of soccer’s version of Bandy, he feels that’s where much of his ball skill is from (he has a lot), and every player plays both ways. I’ve read the same about Bandy a few times. Our version is shinny I suppose, though I’m not sure how much shinny kids play these days.

John Chambers

Lowetide,

Love the bandy. Every year Canada sends a bunch of skaters to compete in the Worlds, usually in Russia or Finland.

A friend of mine played on the team that went to Kazakhstan in 2012. Canada plays in tier-2 and gets their asses handed to them by the strong teams. But every night all the teams from all the countries would go get astonishingly drunk together. Kind of like the rugby fraternity.

Scungilli Slushy

To me it seems JP just needs to mature a bit. Not everybody is ready to be a world beater at 18. Swedish has mentioned physical maturity. I think JP’s nature might be a long term benefit if he progresses well, he seems good natured and not too full of himself. Many guys who can step right in and contribute at a high level often seem pretty self centred, I of course don’t know for sure but that is the impression I get, team second.

jtblack

Stud Muffin,

I agree. LT is picking the 2 most dominate 18 year old AHL players in the last 10 years? Very few players under 21 score over 1 ppg. We already know Pastrnak is Amazing in the NHL and Rnatanen looks to be the real deal also.

William Nylander had 32 pts in 37 games, almost identical to Puljujarvi. I am not trying to cherry pick, but what I am saying is there a lots of 18 / 19 yr olds who scored near Puljujarvi’s level and have been able to score at the NHL level. Nylander is interesting because he landed on MAtthews line and threw up 61 points as a rookie. If JP lands on Connor’s wing there is no reason to think he can’t put up 50 – 60 pts, especially if the coach plays him on PP1 in Letestu’s spot.

I think JP will need to score early on (even at camp) and force the coach no choice but to play him top 6. If that happens I think a great year lies ahead …. If he gets limited usage, it could be more like last year … I don’t care if he’s AHL or NHL, as long as he gets Top 6 minutes so he can develop

John Chambers

Scungilli Slushy,

The hardest thing for hockey players is adapting to the speed skates. Can’t stop and start easily and can’t make tight turns.

jtblack

106 and 106,

Ron Maclean was suggesting it was more of a Charlie Horse type of injury … don’t know but just passing along the info

JD_Wry

106 and 106: femur

Or a blood clot caused by a severe contusion. That would match the circumstances (he stayed on the bench) and the recovery timeline.

Don’t mind me

jtblack: Ron Maclean was suggesting it was more of a Charlie Horse type of injury … don’t know but just passing along the info

Could also be a Hematoma, which in severe cases can Impinge on a nerve or cause muscle tissue death. *

* I am not a Doctor but have read some on this blog.

Diablo

The Hermit: Could also be a Hematoma, which in severe cases can Impinge on a nerve or cause muscle tissue death. *

* I am not a Doctor but have read some on this blog.

I am a physician and I’m calling BS on Johansen’s injury being a fractured femur – certainly not a communated fracture like Fedun’s – it takes a tremendous amount of force for an injury like that to occur. He wouldn’t have been able to skate afterwards let alone sit on the bench after an injury like that – he would have gone into shock.

Blood clot requiring emergent endoscopic surgery or hematoma evacuation is much more likely given the timeline of recovery. Uncommunated fracture perhaps but hard to see how that occurs after the hit he took.

Jethro Tull

https://youtu.be/DqbQzmHOLP8

I aam also not a doctor, but this is the most logical explanation.

JD_Wry

Lowetide: Puljujarvi has played very well to my eye

What number is he wearing? I’m watching a very fuzzy German stream of the game. Interesting spin, hearing Finnish and Swedish names pronounced with a German accent.

A-HO!

Ryan

Lowetide: Because I am a mean mean man.

I was thinking about your idea of packaging a 1st rounder for Vegas to take Pouliot.

At first blush, it sounds batshit crazy given the high cost to move Pouliot.

I can think of a scenario where it makes a good deal of sense… If you pair that move with acquiring a dman pre-expansion draft.

If Chiarelli were to pry one of Petrovic, Pysyk, or Demers if our cap allows out of Florida, or another team if a better opportunity arises (their respective trade value will be at a nadir before the expansion draft) then imagine that.

Drop Pouliot’s 4m cap hit x 2 years.
Add a RHS NHL defenseman (bought on the cheap)
Ensure you don’t lose Testube, Kassian, Reinhart, or Khaira…

Thoughts?

JD_Wry

Cam might be #1 in our hearts, but he’s #3 on this list:

comment image:large

And of course, McDavid is #1 in our Harts.

Professor Q

Clarkenstein:
Hindsight is 20-20 I hear. The Oil have made a habit of rushing kids to the Show.JP was no exception to that continual and ongoing habit of poor development.So in hindsight I think a year of playing Major Junior would have been just what the doctor ordered.He’s wasn’t a “man” yet so why is he playing with them?It seems to have worked for Drai.I’m assuming there’s probably another silly rule that didn’t allow him to do that.

I don’t think he was drafted like Laine and others in 2015. Many CHL teams don’t take an import selection. So, I’m not sure which team had his rights if any (Laine was drafted by Sarnia; could Puljujärvi have been able to play for Edmonton Oil Kings?).

But he was playing with men in Europe. Playing in the AHL isn’t that different, but you get a closer game style and parameters to the NHL game while having closer control on development (while perhaps not having the most beneficial coach?).

Professor Q

Lowetide: He is 39.

That’s old!

JD_Wry

Lowetide,

👍

There looks to be a tall #98 on the Finns, but he’s a left hand shot. At first I blamed WG’s phone, but then I remembered that it will be mirror-image because the game is on the other side of flat Earth.

highgloveside

Ducey:
If JPs NHLE is 28 points, why would the Oilers trade for Ryan Strome ?

Strome has also scored 50 pts in the NHL, on a team that is not giving him any love, can be had at a reasonable price. There is minimal downside to Strome. He starts on the wing and even if in 2 years he is a right shot 3C that scores 40 pts, that is a valuable player for the Oilers. He could also end up being a 2RW that scores 60+ pts.

Professor Q

I bet Valtteri Fils bad about that penalty now.

Diablo

Ryan: I was thinking about your idea of packaging a 1st rounder for Vegas to take Pouliot.

At first blush, it sounds batshit crazy given the high cost to move Pouliot.

I can think of a scenario where it makes a good deal of sense… If you pair that move with acquiring a dman pre-expansion draft.

If Chiarelli were to pry one of Petrovic, Pysyk, or Demers if our cap allows out of Florida, or another team if a better opportunity arises (their respective trade value will be at a nadir before the expansion draft) then imagine that.

Drop Pouliot’s 4m cap hit x 2 years.
Add a RHS NHL defenseman (bought on the cheap)
Ensure you don’t lose Testube, Kassian, Reinhart, or Khaira…

Thoughts?

A lot of ifs …
… if you can trade Ebs or something else for a top 4 D; not unreasonable to think that this is a possibility
… if LV wants Pouliot and his 2 years x 4 million; right now we just have no idea how likely this is
… if they would rather have a 1st rather than one of our available players (I’m assuming you would suggest protecting 4-4-1 in this scenario)

LV would potentially have available to them:
– Maroon, and Letestu (both 1 year away from UFA and not likely to resign with LV after that)
– Kassian (potentially a bad fit for LV based on his personal history)
– Pouliot
– Khaira
– Reinhart
– Brossoit

Yeah I can see that 1st being worth more to LV than anything we have available.
Which means I really like the idea of getting a top 4D before the expansion draft and protecting 4-4-1.
Yes we’d be giving up the 1st, but another legitimate top 4 D … guys like Hamonic or Faulk, if they’re made available … would be worth it.

But if we’re talking Demers, Pysyk, Petrovic, then no.

Ryan

Lowetide: I wouldn’t do it. I wrote it to be outrageous to make a point, but it didn’t work. I would keep Pouliot over buying him out and wouldn’t sweeten a deal much (no first-round pick or Caleb Jones, et cetera).

The move would cover 2 years of Demers’ cap hit almost. I forgot to add that the move would also stop the Oilers from signing Russell.

Klefbomb – Larsson
Nurse – Demers
Reinhart – Benning

Then

Klefbomb- Larsson
Sekera – Demers
Nurse – Benning
Reinhart

If the Oilers lose Reinhart and don’t sign Russel, our blue will be in really rough shape next season.

Klefbomb – Larsson
Nurse – Benning
Simpson – Fayne

The 2016 Dallas Stars offer a cautionary tale of what losing two top four dmen (Sekera/Russell in our case) can do.

highgloveside

Both Pasternak and Rantanen were put on the top line and 1PP in the AHL, JP started 3rd line then ended up mostly 2nd line with minimal PP. Not sure why that was, unless they wanted him to work on some very specific things that he would not be able to learn as effectively on the top line.

JP has too much size, speed, skill and defensive acumen to not have a good NHL career. I would project him as a Marleau type of player, big with speed and brains. Maybe a Steen or Wheeler comparison as well. These two took a couple years to really get going but then flourished.

Ryan

Diablo,

I would love Faulk too, but unfortunately Carolina has no pressure points on their blue line for expansion.

The Islanders have some issues, so there could be an opportunity there.

There’s not much available on the free agent market. The Oilers are tight on cap space.

After expansion, I am sure the market for NHL dmen will skyrocket.

Diablo

highgloveside:

JP has too much size, speed, skill and defensive acumen to not have a good NHL career.I would project him as a Marleau type of player, big with speed and brains.Maybe a Steen or Wheeler comparison as well.These two took a couple years to really get going but then flourished.

Well said – this capsulated how I feel about JP so well.

Also, it feels like our expectations on JP have increased as a result of the success that Leon has had – but let’s be honest, nobody thought Leon would have such a meteoric rise this season. So isn’t it unfair to now expect the same of Jesse. They’re different people and players.

I’m fine with the fact that he’s going to have to marinate in the AHL for a while – I wouldn’t even project him on to the NHL roster for next season. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to be a very good player for us down the road.

Alpine

Why the rush to move Pouliot and include something valuable in the process? We only have to re-sign Drai and Kassian which should only eat into a portion of all the cap space we have this offseason.

We were able to keep Purcell on a larger cap hit for two seasons and allow him to gain enough value to move out as a rental. Why not do the same with a similar but better player? Maybe next season you have a cap problem with 97 being extended plus Nurse and Benning.

But I’m not sure it’s a good idea to move out a) 22 OV or b) one of the AHL freshmen D (I’ve heard Jones mentioned) just to get rid of a serviceable but flawed player like Pou. Jones is their best prospect outside the NHL (Non-Puljujarvi division) and he will probably pass Reinhart within 12 months.Enticing LV to draft Pou with a valuable sweetener just to keep pending UFA Letestu who’s useless at EV or 5-6 D at best Reinhart is Tambo level asset management.

Again, I know it’s been discussed ad nauseum what to do with 67 and what to trade alongside him to dump his contract, but we really don’t have that great of depth in the system to move out anyone who’s in contention for being our best prospect. Which includes landing someone quite good at 22.

Diablo

Ryan:
Diablo,

I would love Faulk too, but unfortunately Carolina has no pressure points on their blue line for expansion.

The Islanders have some issues, so there could be an opportunity there.

There’s not much available on the free agent market. The Oilers are tight on cap space.

After expansion, I am sure the market for NHL dmen will skyrocket.

Yeah I’m not one of those that thinks Faulk is available either.

Demers for Eberle has been talked up a lot – he’s a former TMac player, so he’s probably not as bad as his first season in Florida suggests. But I’m not sure you’d get enough cap savings though. Both Pysyk or Petrovic could be had by dealing with LV directly. No need to trade for either before the expansion draft.

The Islanders are the Eastern Conference team that looks most likely to deal a RHD before the expansion draft.

highgloveside

Lowetide: If he costs you Eberle and doesn’t work out, that’s more than minimal downside.

I don’t see him as not working out. A player of his skill doesn’t score 50 pts in the NHL and then become useless. Players with minimal skill can have a 1 off season of 50 pts and go back to normal.

I believe at worst he is a 3C in the 40-45 pt range and a 2PP right shot. If you get that at $2.5 mill less then Eberle, then you are fine. He could also be a 25 goal scorer on a top 6 wing, still at a cheaper price.

Is ther risk, sure, but I don’t think there is much of it and I ndoubt you get much more for Eberly and his $6 mill.

Professor Q

JonyPro:
Getzlaf caught yelling at the ref

https://www.hockeyfeed.com/nhl-news/breaking-controversy-arises-surrounding-ryan-getzlaf-s-homophobic-slur

…how did he only get a $10,000 fine and not tossed from the game and a suspension, as is precedent? Maybe the Preds win in OT after he’s tossed, and maybe Game 5. Maybe he learns that he shouldn’t use such slurs, to get his way or otherwise.

I mean he finally got reprimanded but hey, it’s the Ducks.

highgloveside

Psyche: I don’t think JP can be classified as a late developer. Draisaitl is definitely not a late developer, scoring 50+ and 70+ pts in his 2nd and 3rd years. I would define a late developer is someone developing after his ELC. JP could be a late developer but I expect him to take some significant steps in his ELC. He could easily by a Ryan Johanson type who struggled for 2 season and then exploded.

I don’t think JP can be classified as a late developer. Draisaitl is definitely not a late developer, scoring 50+ and 70+ pts in his 2nd and 3rd years. I would define a late developer is someone developing after his ELC. JP could be a late developer but I expect him to take some significant steps in his ELC. He could easily by a Ryan Johanson type who struggled for 2 season and then exploded.

highgloveside

Professor Q: Sorry, but xxx is not a homophobic slur, thats just a bunch of clickbait.

Sorry, but xxx is not a homophobic slur, thats just a bunch of clickbait.