by Lowetide

The Edmonton Oilers are in the golden era of drafting players and then bringing them right to the NHL. Since 2010, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Jesse Puljujarvi have all made the opening night rosters. It stands to reason that not all of these men are created equal and there have been stumbles along the way. Hall, Nuge and McDavid took to the NHL like ducks to water, Leon struggled and was unready, and Nail scored well but had gaps in his game. Jesse Puljujarvi? Well, it’s complicated. (Kid A)


  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.45 (7th among all forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 2.66 (one goal in 22 minutes)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 53.2
  • Corsi Rel 5×5 %: 2.1
  • DFF Elite 5×5 %: 32.8
  • DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: -7.5 (30 percent of TOI v. elites)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 41 shots/2.4%
  • Boxcars: 28gp, 1-7-8
  • (All numbers via and hockey-reference)
  • Special thanks to GMoney and Woodguy for sharing the DFF’s


  • RE 16-17: 65gp, 14-14-28 0.431
  • Actual 16-17: 28gp, 1-7-8 0.286
  • Source
  1. What do you make of it? Strange days indeed. This is a crazy player card, filled with great positives and sinking negatives, while also being too small a sample size.
  2. Lost season? I wouldn’t go that far, but the range of possibilities remains vast for this player. What’s more, the portion of the puzzle that includes offensive ability may be more clear, and not in a good way.
  3. Where do you want to start? Let’s go with goals. His shooting percentage was very poor, basically defensemen post that number. Again, small sample size alert. The one goal he scored was off a turnover on the power play, a good and lucky shot. He did have some ten-bell chances but couldn’t cash.
  4. Did he have a good shooting percentage in the AHL? He shot 11 percent (12 goals in 109 shots). Mikko Rantanen as a rookie shot 17 percent, William Nylander shot 19 percent, as rookies.
  5. Hmm. What about back in Finland? During his draft year in the Sm-Liiga, Puljujarvi scored 13 goals on 175 shots, works out to 7.4 percent.
  6. This is devastating. I’m going to puke. Well, hold on now, let’s have a look around. Patrik Laine played in the same league, scoring 17 goals on 253 shots, works out to 6.7 percent.
  7. Oh, okay, not so bad! Well…
  8. Dammit! Laine managed 19 shots per 60 minutes (in all disciplines) according to The Hockey News (if my math works). Puljujarvi? He averaged 13.94 shots per 60 in all disciplines. He shoots less than Laine and that may impact his ability to flourish with Connor McDavid. If he doesn’t have a terrific shot, and we’ll see because he’ll get stronger, we may be looking at more of a two-way forward.
  9. He could still be a productive player? Yes. There are some positive signs for JP as a two-way player.
  10. Let’s talk about it. Sure. He had a good possession number by Corsi, with and without Connor McDavid. JP was 2.86 5×5/60 scoring with McDavid and had a 53.8 Corsi for 5×5 percentage. Without him the offense went away (0.59 5×5/60 scoring) but the possession (53 percent) remained.
  11. So, need to find him a 3line that can score? Exactly. Nuge and Maroon? Nuge and Pouliot? Somewhere in there we should find a solution.
  12. What about the woodmonies? Dangerous Fenwick shows us why Todd McLellan didn’t want Puljujarvi with McDavid. 97 is going to get the elites beginning at the anthem, and JP wasn’t able to have a positive impact.
  13. What was McDavid’s Dangerous Fenwick? He was 55.2 percent DFF.
  14. Crazy. Beyond the outer limits.
  15. Where will Puljujarvi play next season? No idea. I suspect the club will bring him to training camp and let him compete against Zack Kassian, Drake Caggiula, Anton Slepyshev and possibly Spencer Foo for the 2R and 3R jobs. I would give him a good chance to win one of those jobs and start the year in Edmonton.
  16. Will he stay? He has to score. That’s the deal. Puljujarvi’s value now isn’t what it was draft day, if he can’t score this coming season it’ll take another hit. Behooves Edmonton to find a sweet spot, I can’t see it from here beyond Nuge on a softer 3line.
  17. You keep trying to trade him! No, but the Oilers are in win now mode. So their options are pushing him at the NHL level and possibly losing some games because of growing pains, sending him to Bakersfield for another year of frustration, cashing early as Chiarelli has done in the past.
  18. You keep trying to trade him! Part of it is lack of trade pieces that have real value, but I don’t really want the Oilers to let him go. In fact, it could bite them in the ass.
  19. Like trading Hall or Seguin? I don’t know that JP will reach those levels, but he has a potentially enormous future. He’s also a big train who is going to be a load when he gets older. A giant teenager now, you give him four years and we’re looking at a fairly unique player.
  20. Ideal spot next year? We’ve been over this. Third line with a creative center, soft parade if possible and any of Edmonton’s three vets on LW (Lucic, Maroon, Pouliot). I think he could flourish there.
  21. What will he RE be next season? Probably 60 games, 30 points, about like last season. He could blow that out of the water, but I can also see him in the minors for a time.
  22. Who will he be if he doesn’t emerge as a scorer? A giant Jere Lehtinen is possible.
  23. Who will he be if he does emerge as a scorer? The end of the phrase that begins “McDavid to….”
  24. Why this song? A few reasons. Even after listening to this song many times, it’s still somewhat unfamiliar and disjointed. It’s just short of unsettling, because there’s no logical progression. The title works as a description of Puljujarvi, and I think the song might be about growing up in chaos. This ain’t bandy.

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Professor Q


I don’t find it puzzling at all, once you realize where you are. 😉



I have to say that I find this questioning of Puljujarvi’s offensive upside really puzzling.

If you go back to Drai’s end of rookie season RE post ( you’ll see that he actually had a worse season offensively than Puljujarvi did, despite being 7 months older, speaking English and having had 2 additional years to get used to North American culture and ice size.

There was no suggestion in Drai’s RE that his offense might be lacking though.

Drai was dominant offensively after he got sent down, whereas Puljujarvi was merely ok, but Drai went to a league filled with kids, where he was bigger, older and more experienced than those he was playing against. Puljujarvi was playing against men 5-10 years older than himself, whilst not speaking the language of his coach or teammates, and having had less than 100 games experience playing on North American ice.

If Drai’s scoring abilities weren’t being questioned after his rookie season, I can’t see a good reason for doing so with Puljujarvi.

Johnny Stomper

Not understanding all the despair. The guy is 19, Of the top 20 drafted in that group year only 3 guys had a spot on the big club roster immediately. Mathews, Laine, Tkachuk.

Let this guy develop and stop worrying about it. We got a great prospect that needs to develop with all the support possible. So he didn’t come in a blow us away. This guy has all the tools to be an elite player so let him develop. To me he’s cut from the same cloth as Dr. Drai and Nurse. He’ll get there and we’ll be so happy to have him. Having a player like that in the AHL puts pressure on the guys ahead of him. Finally we have that in our system. We have all the pieces to make a good shot at the cup. All the young guys got a taste this year and they are coming in hungry and determined and finally a team with chemistry. How dominate will McD be next year.

I think Nurse is going to have a break out year this year. In the playoffs you could glimpses of his magic. Its coming lets be patient.


Came to post he looked outstanding at the Young Stars Tournament.

The fact that the Oilers sent him down immediately after he burned 40 games was a pretty obvious sign that was the deal to bring Jesse over.

I agree would have been better to start him in the AHL but that wasn’t the deal.

Ditto Caggiula.


To this point the organization and not JP is the epic fail! Of all the first round selections I have watched at the young stars tournament only Connor was more dynamic. JP was the most defensively aware of them all. I believe that a full year In the AHL with proper coaching both linguistic and hockey would completely change/open some eyes regards this young man. With proper coaching the Oilers would have the perfect 3rd line RH center they seek. A player that could move up as required screen the oposition goalie etc. He has to play big minutes in the AHL on the first or second line as well as continued work on the power play and penalty kill. He needs positive reinforcement to get his confidence back. He is not as good a player now as he was when he came over and I blame it on the organization. This can be fixed . You can not buy a purebread hunting dog puppy and take him hunting nor should you expect to take a talented kid not familiar with the language and expect him to flourish in pro hockey!


Mariusz Czerkawski,

– Great post LT: I have so much to talk about now that JDi gave me that ability to “surf” LT!

– I won’t get into it on Tabernac Saturday in detail (well maybe I will a bit!), but based on my surfing, there was a interesting schism in the LT community over the last 24 months. It boils down to IMO the fancy stats people not being able to identify with their tools how much this team had actually improved. So enamored with their ability to access data that crunched naive numbers on individual players, and the effect they had on linemates, they couldn’t see the tree from the forest.

– So they all pronounced Hall for Larsson a brutal trade: “don’t you know that Hall is elite, and Larsson only a 2nd line D you silly fool”. And they’d trot out a bunch of stats on how important Ebs was to scoring, using the same public data

– So maybe LT is signaling with this depressing Radiohead music that indeed, the Oil are better, yet it is sad because the Unicorns are dead, and the Oil’s cups aren’t going to come from 3 waves of offense circa 1985.

– I hope a new generation of stats enthusiasts come onto LT, armed with a more holistic and less definitive proclamations when arriving at conclusions: Variance, it’s a thing!

– Anyway, there have been some wonderful posters here over the years and I thank LT for this awesome blog,

– We just need to acquire 1 D better than Sek, and we are going to be in the mix for the next 5 years. I don’t have a model to show this, but it’s the truth

Richard S.S.

McDavid needs a Shooter. The Oilers do not have one.
The Oilers need a 2nd Pairing D. Sekera might be out even longer.
Filling holes like this are expensive, but with as many as 30 teams scrambling before the Expansion Draft opportunities abound. I can see Chiarelli trading most of Lowetide’s Asset List if the deals are available.


If JP doesn’t have English tutoring this summer it will still be a major problem for him fitting in either in NHL or AHL.
In one of his exit interviews he mentioned his English was better but he still had problems understanding what coaches were telling them at team meetings.Thats a big problem
In regard to his shot I think it’s quick enough just inaccurate.At WC he was able to get his shot off but other than a goal post he either missed the net or put it on the goalie.
One of the comments from a Finnish poster during his draft year was that he could flub one timers and shoot wildly.If that doesn’t improve it will be bad news for the oil.


Also a giant Jere Lehtinen is what I was hoping for the day we drafted him.


I’m fine with Jesse starting in the AHL next season – he faced some adversity this year, but he also flashed good D awareness and some offensive skill. I wouldn’t put him on a line with Connor yet – that just guarantees that he’ll face tough opposition right away – when he’s ready, I’d move Leon to C and put Jesse on his wing, where he can apprentice for the rest of the season.

I know people think we need another vet RW – it would be nice but its not absolutely necessary.

Currently our RW depth is Eberle, Kassian, Slepy, Pitlick (assuming they don’t do a GlenX with him), Pakarinen, with Jesse as a call up. That’s fine to start next season – all of those guys are players that know their roles and can execute the team’s systems.

If Ebs get traded, then that could free up cash to get a UFA RW. But if Ebs gets moved it better be to address more pressing needs like RHD and 3rd line C.

Looking down the line, I really hope they target a C with the 1st round pick – the organization has absolutely no depth at C, whereas the top 4 guys on RW are all in their 20’s + Jesse as the organization’s top prospect.



Great as always, but I’m surprised that you didn’t offer any commentary on a very key factor:

He was a teenager who didn’t speak English and just moved across the globe. No friends and no natural ability to make them. I can only imagine how well we all would have performed if we moved to Espoo just after high school to play hockey…

The Laine comparisons will always be there, but Laine was fluent in English – think about how much easier his transition was from a LIFE perspective due to that, and then figure that your LIFE circumstances probably affect your work performance. That surely applies to a plumber, an accountant, or a hockey player.

I’m not saying how he will/will not pan out, I simply am surprised that this factor was not addressed in your commentary, as you did comment on it earlier in the year.


JP was the first top 5 pick in this rebuild era that was not drafted from the CHL so the under 20 thing disallowing those players to play AHL did not apply. He should have been sent down or started the year there in Bakersfield. I am sure there is a story to this (double culture shock ..Canada, then USA, language etc) , like Drai with the troubles with his junior team that year….but still, they have plenty of resources to babysit and nurture him. With Yak bust story fresh, understandable some are a little nervous. We need these offensive forward picks to turn out.

Oh and checked both Bridgestone and PGPaints arenas in Nashvllle and Pittsburgh…………nothing on their schedules the 10, 11, 12 of June (Iron Maiden and Hall And Oates/Tears for Fears playing the 13th in respective arenas) and no game tonight. Why are they drawing this thing out so long. Must be NBC.


Modern NHL: Rookies appear to instantly break out for 1-2 seasons before regressing, usually when they fail to learn how to play defence;

JP was a teenager who didn’t even speak English expected to move across the world then get 4 goals a game like Matthews, or have a Laine type season for another losing team instead of the Oilers who actually were vying for the division lead most of the season.

JP should be more or less only 1 year older than he was last season. In other words he’s still a young player with a ton of potential.


Him + 1st for an excellent RHD is what I’d like to see. Really like the player but they can afford to make that move.

He could become an absolute force if he puts things together.


JP was in tough last year no matter what. He grew 2 inches and gained 25 lbs over the previous 18 months, he moved to Edmonton on his own with a significant language barrier and he had to get used to a much smaller ice surface and much more physical game play. Laine had a much easier adjustment cause all he has to do is get open and one-time the puck on net.

I think the Oilers should have done the reverse of what they did with JP. They should have started him in the AHL and then after 40-50 games they should have brought him up to the NHL. They had a unique opportunity to let an 18 year old develop in the AHL and they blew it. By the time he was sent down, his confidence was shot and then for some strange reason Fleming played him with nobodies and no PP time. How can you send a player down to develop offensively and not put him in a position to do that.

JP has all the tools and will be a successful NHL player, it just depends on how you define his success. I see him as a combination of Letonen, Erickson and Mikko Koivu. He will be great defensively, he will be very difficult to play against, he will have speed and size that he can use in the offensive zone and he will put up above average points.

I don’t believe that id he has a tough year next year, that he and the Oilers will be in trouble or consider him a failure. I think he will be decent next year, but in his 3rd year he will prove to be a key part of the team and tradeing him for anything other than a very key piece to this team (2nd pair PP QB) would be a mistake.

I would like to see JP spend 20 games in the AHL next year, where he will score 28-30 pts and really gain some confidence. Then he can come up and play on the 3rd line and have a solid season. I think 60 games and 25-30 pts on the 3rd line next year would be a very solid season. The following year he will be ready for the top 6 and can put up 50+ pts.

JP needs to work hard on his shot this off season, not that he has a bad shot, but he has to get it away quicker. He doesn’t have the same time as on a big ice surface. Quicker release and a little less dangle and the puck will start to go in the net more.

P.S. The Oilers need to sign a veteran RW. if JP, Sleppy or even Foo are relied on to fill that position, the Oilers are in trouble. Show me a Vrbata or a Williams to play top 6 RW to fill the gap for a year or 2. If they trade Ebs, then they need to add two top 6 RW.


The thought struck me while I read this, what it must be like for fans of other teams to be curious about Puljujarvi to come across this post in a google search. Especially if they are fans of Radiohead.

LT, you’re the McDavid of bloggers and I’m not sure what we or this team have done to deserve you. Love the REs, and this is one of my favorites for having a mysterious player covered as best we can in a creative and immersive way.

Keep doing what you do, we all love the heck outta ya.



Can’t help but agree here. This is one of the youngest straight-to-the-NHL players in a while, and was never a defensive liability. Think about that. Then, think about Laine, who was a bit of a goat in the Winter Classic in Winnipeg.

He needs to simmer, surely. But this will be a player.


JP has holes in his game and the team is letting him develop in a lower league. They learned from Nail. Screwed up royally, but they learned. If JP becomes a responsible 2 way player, on an affordable contract it’s not best case. It’s fine though. They have McDavid. That’s the hard part. That said, I see a player who has the pieces and is a bit tentative. Assuming the game slows down on him before the media turns on him he’ll be fine. Another year in the ahl is ok too. All we need is progress.

Mariusz Czerkawski

I am not sure if i am just cautiously optimistic on JP, or afraid to make the proclamations i made about Nail after his draft +1 year….