Karu Puljujarvi?

by Lowetide
Photo by Mark Williams

I’ve been thinking about the Oilers 2020 draft and the unique qualities of it. Every pick was a forward, and all of them brought skill. It got me thinking about past drafts. Did Edmonton go all in on burners one year? What about Coke Machines?

THE ATHLETIC!

I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.

THE 2005 DRAFT

There were several speed merchants in the 2005 draft chosen by Edmonton. Using the NHL draft media guide, Andrew Cogliano was described as an “excellent skater with a smooth, powerful stride, uses quick bursts to get to loose pucks.” Taylor Chorney was “an excellent skater with outstanding speed, balance and agility” while Danny Syvret “skates very well, his agility, mobility and speed make him one of the most effective defensemen in the OHL.”

Robby Dee? “A smooth, quick stride with excellent speed, natural skater.” Even Chris VandeVelde, who was not a burner in the NHL, had “a wide stance, long stride good speed that has improved.”

Slava Trukhno was “a very good skater, effortless stride, a little bow-legged.” He was a favourite of mine after seeing him make some fine skill plays during one preseason. “Saw him good” can fool you, kids! Fredrik Pettersson was “an excellent skater with good acceleration.”

Among the group of speedy players, Cogliano showed early that he had the offensive ability to play in the NHL. Added to durability and work ethic, and he built himself a long career. He also developed into a quality forward against elite competition, as shown in Puck IQ’s player card versus elites. That’s a helluva player.

If the Oilers get a bigger Andrew Cogliano out of Dylan Holloway, pray to the God who’ll answer you the general manager doesn’t trade him away for a second-round pick.

JESSE PULJUJARVI

Jesse Puljujarvi took a kneeing penalty in the Liiga and there’s a lot of talk about his adding a ‘rugged’ gear. Jesse Puljujarvi is a big train and he’s going to run over a lot of people in his NHL career. However, he isn’t Matthew Tkachuk. Let’s review the original scouting report.

WHAT DID THE DRAFT DAY SCOUTING REPORTS SAY?

  • Corey Pronman: He’s an unbelievable skater for a 6-foot-4 player, having a great top gear and a really fluid stride. He’s not that physically aggressive, but he closes on guys so well that he pressures and wins battles effectively. Puljujarvi shows a high-skill level, a plus shot and high-end hockey IQ. He is constantly around the puck and setting up his teammates.
  • Red Line Report: Big horse looks and plays like a Mats Sundin clone. Has the four S’s: size, skills, skating, shot. Has all the tools to be a dominant power forward who combines top-notch skills with brute force. Terrific size/strength and is impossible to move off the puck — uses wide stance and is hard on his stick. Comes alive whenever the puck is nearby. Wants to make plays. Dynamic skater accelerates in a few strides and has excellent speed. Uses long reach and soft hands to beat “D” off the rush. Dangerous every shift.

Big men like Puljujarvi are going to flatten mortals because speed + mass equals Dustin Byfuglien. By all accounts Frank Mahovlich was a true gentleman but when he made contact, damaged goods. Puljujarvi will be a going concern because of what he is physically. I don’t think he is mean spirited in the least. That mean streak can be an asset, but it’s either in the DNA or not.

By the way, there’s a positive Covid-19 result on Puljujarvi’s team. That may mean his Liiga season is over, as the indications have the NHL starting in January and that means training camp for the Oilers in December. JP’s current Liiga stats (13 games, 6-4-10) carry an NHLE of 17-12-29 in 82 games. That would be splendid NHL production.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

At 10 this morning, TSN1260. We’ll preview the NBA draft and talk about the NHL’s return to play plans. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will pop by at 10:20 and talk about Puljujarvi’s time away and what might be expected from the big man this season. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will pop by at 11 to talk about the NFL weekend to come and why the Seahawks recent play may force a change in betting strategy. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Note: I’m also part of the “sports moustahce” draft at 9:05 which has been ridiculous and fun to prepare. Should be a blast!

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OriginalPouzar

Holloway talking about potentially spending 51 days in a bubble and asked what he’s going to do – he doesn’t talk about video games (and, from accounts, consoles were huge for the NHL players), his quote is:

“It’s an opportunity to get ahead on school,” he said. “I still have a lot of school I have to do.”

love the maturity of this kid.

OriginalPouzar

Per Jeff Marek:

More on the ECHL situation – Expect the entire North Division to cease operations for the season. That’s Adirondack, Brampton, Maine, Newfoundland, Reading and Worcester. Official announcement expected around 2ET.

No big surprise here. I expect a few AHL teams to not play as well, perhaps with player dispersal and loan to playing teams.

OriginalPouzar

At least Wichita is playing.

As per John Shannon:

The ECHL is planning to start their season on December 11th with 11 teams…Allen, Florida, Greenville, Indy, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Orlando, Rapid City, South Carolina, Tulsa, Utah, Wheeling and Wichita….with a 2nd group of teams starting on January 15th

LadiesloveSmid

Can’t believe LT was only a frightfully 25 when Mahovlich dropped the shoulder on Harper there.

MachDavid

Just wondering where the Oilers will be holding training camp and perhaps the first few games if the season starts early January given the World Juniors games in Edmonton?

OriginalPouzar

I have been posting about this for a while.

Its not as easy as just finding a couple sheets of ice – they need to have appropriate fitness facilities, training/rehab facilities, etc. available.

I believe there are a couple of viable options mind you. It shouldn’t be an issue but it will be less than ideal.

It looks like the start of the season will likely be the “base-ball style” scheduling so it would be pretty easy for the Oilers to start in Calgary or Vancouver or Toronto, etc.

Brantford Boy

Although I generally agree that JP isn’t a mean player from a Kassian or Torres mold, everyone can be pushed to their limits, like Crosby:
https://www.hockeyfights.com/players/5905
Perhaps all it takes is a dirty stick, cheap shot, or a couple lost teeth for him to turn Finnish Tikkanen:
http://www.hockeyfights.com/players/4491
Although if he does lose a couple chicklets, think we’ll be seeing that tongue wipe sweat from his brow and not just his nose.

Durag

JP needs to spend time watching tape of Yamamoto. If you could put that kind of relentless willingness to forecheck and battle into that giant frame, you’d have a hell of a player.

theDjdj

From memory one of JP’s positives is that he was quite keen to enter battles and forecheck doggedly. His issues stemmed from elsewhere

kgo

Funniest comment I’ve read on LT in 2020.

jonrmcleod

I was a bit surprised when I read Pronman’s scouting report: “high-end hockey IQ.” He’s no Yak, but I thought he had problems thinking the game in Edmonton. He always seemed to react a bit too slowly.

frjohnk

I believe JP 2.0 will show higher end hockey IQ than the 1st version.
He clearly was not ready in his first year. Physically, he was constantly outmatched. And the 2nd and 3rd years of mishandling him ( and injury plagued 3rd year) eroded his confidence to the point he was, in my opinion, just trying to make the safe play at all times. He had a nice bounce back year this past year in “glorified beer league” I think thats where he played 🙂 Whenever the NHL season resumes, I expect him to be a solid contributer

jp

Whenever the NHL season resumes, I expect him to be a solid contributor

Agreed. We still may not see ‘high-end hockey IQ’ but I definitely expect we’ll see more a more comfortable and confident player.

pts2pndr

Just a quick thought. His English was almost non existent. Maybe just maybe communication was the problem. This would be with coaching and also with line mates. Try doing something you know how to do with a group of people that you can’t communicate with that are able to communicate with one another and see how incredibly stupid you appear to to be to them.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

That old yarn is a bit overstated. When asked about his English by a CoH reporter, the reply was he can order pizza well enough.

Maybe that actually was an issue, or it’s a bit of a crutch.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

*when a teammate was asked

pts2pndr

The first things a young male learns going to a foreign country with a different language are how to get something to eat, how to ask where the bathroom is, shelter, and certain phrases important to mating. It is far more complicated particularly in a group setting to know how to ask questions pertaining to knowledge being passed on say forechecking and then being able to comprehend what you get as an answer. We all believe we are good communicators when the reality is few of us are.

yamfry

29 points is splendid NHL production? Dang it LT, already tempering my wild expectations!!

jfry

I’m really curious how both scouting services deemed PoolParty as having a plus shot. At no point have I ever seen that, going back to his 17yo year. Seemed like a real miss in the scouting reports. And while he’s a decent skater, he tracks wide turns and fails to start and stop aggressively and accelerate — his skating takes him out of the play as a result.

I never understood how he was rated above Matty, given that Matty had shown the ability to score at all levels (i never bought into the narrative that it was always because of who he was playing with — at every level he accomplished the most difficult task in hockey).

Now we’re cheering for 29 points, while Matty is captain material and a dominant player at 22yo. I just never understood why that draft year was “the big three” because i never felt like JP belonged in that conversation other than in a really small sample size. Oilers absolute failure to develop teenagers effectively never helps.

jfry

we’re going to disagree on this. in the WJC, all of his goals were from right in the slot or fluttering wrist shots. most of his shots are from length and into the goalies pads (which is good assist generation). his two attempts at one timers in this package are both whiffs. if a shot is unusable in the pros, is it a strength?

https://youtu.be/t0vBmvS3o34

Sierra

How can he have a terrific shot if he can’t get it off?

yamfry

Referring to Matt Tkachuk as ‘Matty’ seems way too endearing! *spits*

fishman

Much prefer “Turtle”

BONE207

You “fry” guys sort it out. Turtle will always be a jerk & nowhere near my heart…🤣

pts2pndr

Turtle hulk seems more appropriate 😉

OriginalPouzar

My thought reading this was that the poster hails from London….

OriginalPouzar
flyfish1168

That was one of my favorite JP goals.

OriginalPouzar

As I mentioned yesterday, hopefully this doesn’t just mean that his Liiga season is over but that his Liiga and European career is over……

Its interesting to note Pronman’s report of high-end hockey IQ as, after three years of North American hockey, some/many Oiler fans cite hockey IQ as a primary issue of his.

defmn

As I mentioned when this first came up whether it is “good for his development” or not is really irrelevant. You can’t rob kids of their dreams based upon calculation of short term benefit.

You just can’t.

“I have a lot of respect for Tony. He’s super passionate. I saw what he said. I think he’s upset at the situation but I don’t think he’s upset at anyone in particular,” he said. “COVID has taken a toll on everyone. But for me, playing in the world junior wasn’t an opportunity I was going to pass up. I’ve been looking forward to this since I was a little kid. It wasn’t an opportunity I could take a pass on. I’m really happy to be here.

Harpers Hair

Agree completely.
Far more important than10 NCAA games.
And, given his age, another season in the NCAA likely wouldn’t hurt.

OriginalPouzar

I’ve never questioned his decision to go.

I’ve simply questioned, as a fan discussing the team and its player and its future, if it will ultimately be the best course for his development.

Its simply the circumstances. 5 or 7 weeks away with the first few weeks being, essentially a break and then some intense practices/scrimmages and exhibition games against U-Sport. Potentially sent back at that point where there will be a Christmas break, more time off (here is hoping that doesn’t happen).

Yup, its only 10 games he’s missing but that’s 25% of the season and that is a big deal in a player’s draft plus 1 year – in particular in the year where he’s looking to take a big step up the team to be solidify himself as a top 6 center, a primary offensive player and a leader – he showed that progression for a weekend and now the brakes are on.

Anyways, don’t blame the kid at all – not for a second – go for it. Just wish circumstances didn’t require this 5 week camp right as his club season was starting.

Selection camp is usually in the summer and then, given the start he was having with Wisconsin – a continuation of that play gets him on the team.

defmn

I wasn’t even thinking of you.

There were a few who seemed to think that he should stay in Wisconsin and that would have been a practical decision to make but I wouldn’t tell a 19 year old that his childhood dream was cancelled because it wasn’t the practical thing to do.

Those dreams are important.

OriginalPouzar

For sure – pretty much agree – selfishly wish he wasn’t going (or didn’t need to attend the entire camp to even give himself a chance – Lafreniere style).

OriginalPouzar

CityNews Toronto

@CityNews

#BREAKING: Ontario Health Minister Elliot says Canada will be receiving four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine between January and March, and four million doses of Moderna’s vaccine. Of this, Ontario will get 1.6 million of the Pfizer vaccine and 800,000 of the Moderna vaccine.

———————

Fans in the stands for the 2nd half of the season.

Potential to move away from the “Canadian Division” for the 2nd half of the season.

Maybe full-ass Rogers Place for the playoffs, or close thereto?

Material Elvis

In theory, we could be back to normal early in 2021. In reality, I’m extremely skeptical that we will be. Unfortunately there is a large anti-science, anti-vaccine movement in our country that has been propagated by internet misinformation. I just don’t see an end to the pandemic if less than half of the population gets the vaccine.

jp

You need to show proof of vaccination to get into games or other events? Might not get arenas full, but moving in the right direction, leadfarmers thoughts notwithstanding.

Maybe a little bit of carrot to promote getting vaccinated too? (It allowing you to participate in such events)

Material Elvis

Good question. There has been chatter/speculation regarding proof of vaccination in order to attend concerts and sporting events but I’m not sure that is legally possible.

jp

Yeah I don’t know for sure either. But these are private venues for the most part, is it illegal to define the rules and deny entry for not conforming to them? (No shirt, no shoes, no service).

But maybe there is some issue with that.

JimmyV1965

From what I understand the Phizer vaccine needs to be stored at -94C.  Once the temp increases, they have something like five days to use it. Distribution will be slow and cumbersome.  I’m not at all buying the narrative that large segments of people will refuse to take it. 

leadfarmer

I’d be surprised If more than 60% of the population took the vaccine and wouldn’t be surprised if immunity didn’t last longer than a year
Meaning the availability of the vaccine doesn’t solve the issue of large sport events.

leadfarmer

https://www.google.com/amp/s/nypost.com/2020/11/15/social-distancing-masks-necessary-after-getting-vaccine-fauci/amp/

so we will not abandon social distancing measures with vaccine at least not right away

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/3764262001

avg person is looking at April at the earliest for vaccine, need to do the nursing homes, frontline workers, military first

season needs to end early in May to do playoffs by olympics

godot10

There is not enough vaccine for herd immunity for the NHL next season. The season starting in the fall 2021 probably. I doubt there will be fans in the stands before October.

Hockey fans don’t meet the requirements fo likely early vaccine recipients (though we know the Calgary Flames will find a way to be first in line).

OriginalPouzar

I’m not of the opinion that “herd immunity” will be required for attendance at sporting events.

Show proof of vaccination, take a temp test, enter, no?

I admit that I’m far from fully educated in Covid matters so am open to being proven wrong.

Scungilli Slushy

No bcs people not in the front of the vaccine line will not make up a significant enough amount of fans.

People at highest risk, health care, first responders, etc.

The general population will be last and it will take months.

OriginalPouzar

Fair enough – I can, and will, remain hopeful that the timeline can, and will, be expedited even further. I think there will be additional similar type vaccines approves in a similar time frame as well – seems like MUCH progress is being made and the entire world is working on this.

Genjutsu

Be careful with prediction of outcomes you wish to be true.

As an oilers fan good Lord willing and the creak don’t rise is kinda in our dna

jp

Hasn’t Canada arranged for vaccines from other countries too? I heard Germany but don’t know for sure, or what the timeline would be.

8 million doses from Pfizer/Moderna will cover nearly 25% of Canada’s population. By March (with lots of season still to go).

Just my opinion, but I highly doubt there will be NO fans in stands until October.

jp

Many don’t think “McDavid winger” has been addressed adequately. That’s fine and may well be fair.

Me? I’m pretty damn excited about this Oilers forward group.

Adding Puljujarvi, with his size and speed and NHLE of 30-35 (it was about 35 based on his 19-20 IIRC)… he should be a real contributor (fingers crossed!).

But Puljujarvi aside, you’d almost think Holland set out to collect scoring forwards (forwards who can score?) in the past year.

I’ve posted similar before but wanted to update with the final(?) roster. And I know points scored is far from the only measure of a forward, but it’s a pretty good one.

Oilers forwards by points/82 game, in the NHL, 2019-20 season.
Leon Draisaitl ——— 82        50        77        127
Connor McDavid —– 82        43        81        124
Kailer Yamamoto ——82        33        46        79
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 82        28        49        77
Zack Kassian ———- 82        21        26        47
James Neal ———— 82        28        18        46
Dominik Kahun ——– 82        17        28        45
Tyler Ennis  ———— 82        19        24        43
Kyle Turris ————- 82        12        29        41
Alex Chiasson ——— 82        14        16        30
Josh Archibald ——– 82        16        12        28
Jesse Puljujarvi – I guess no one will argue he’s been placed too high here
Joakim Nygard ——– 82        7          15        22
Gaetan Haas ———- 82        7          7          14
Jujhar Khaira ———- 82        8          5          13
Patrick Russell ——– 82        0          9          9

For those keeping count, that’s 9 forwards who scored 0.5 points per game in the NHL last season. There were 172 such forwards in the league, an average of 5.5 per team. Holland adding 3 new ones (counting Ennis as new) to the 6 the Oilers already had is a good thing, pretty sure.

Last edited 9 days ago by jp
defmn

Nice post as always.

My hope for Jesse is that Tippett has been talking to his HC in Karpat.

Not because I believe in coddling players in the most competitive league in the world – if you are there you shouldn’t be that delicate or sensitive.

But this player obviously has some issues from before that caused a problem with the previous regime and information is always good to have.

It is now Tippett’s job to try and rescue the situation and the payoff if it is works looks to me like it is worth the effort.

Ryan

Nice summary.

Hard to say how Yamamoto will produce next season. I certainly wouldn’t expect a 79 point campaign from him, but if he did achieve that, I’d be thrilled.

Neal’s production was at a tepid pace near the tail end of the season, but he was battling some injuries. He’s 33 now, but his game doesn’t rely on a lot of speed.

Kassian had cooled off too after he signed his contract.

I won’t miss having two forth lines again or Sheahan as a 3rd line centre either.

One thing I remember JP being good at was cleaning up garbage around the net. He has incredible reach with that big frame.

jp

Yeah no question some air needs to come out of some of those numbers. (Maybe added to others though?)

But I don’t expect the Oilers will have 9 forwards score 0.5PPG this coming season, considering some will be further down the lineup and without PP time.

Agree also on Yamamoto, 50-something points is more realistic than 79.

Neal did have a tough 2020, 13-0-4-4, but if you add the last game of 2019 he was 14-3-5-8 in the McDavid/Draisaitl apart era. And 4-2-1-3 on the play-in. I don’t think 18-5-6-11 is fair either, but he’s not far removed from being useful (14-8 in 5v5 goals those 18 games as well!).

Two 4th line’s shouldn’t be a thing. Puljujarvi should help too. They should be better at the hockey, and more fun to watch to boot.

Yegfoundation

I miss the experience on the old site. But I’m happy if the gent who enables this fine place is happy.

jp

I preferred being able to quote comments and have new ones show up at the bottom as well.

But to save Ryan from always having to reply to this stuff, it simply wasn’t possible to have that setup continue. The site need upgrading for security reasons, the new format does not allow for both the quote function and the posts showing up at the bottom. Can’t have both, it was either or. (that’s my rudimentary understanding anyway!)

So it is what it is. Both options have been tried in recent weeks and things are working pretty smoothly now I think!

OriginalPouzar

Personally, I don’t see how the players believe its reasonable for them to get paid full comp (negotiated based on an 82 game regular season) for a season that likely isn’t more than 60 games by owners who are operating at a loss without any fan-related revenue (gate plus), or very limited fan related revenue.

——-

Pierre LeBrun

@PierreVLeBrun
·
2m

NHLPA Board call wrapped up around 6:30 pm ET, went about 2 1/2 hours. No votes taken. Just a discussion. But sources say feeling on the call was that players aren’t keen on changing salary deferral/escrow rates from what was already agreed to in June CBA. More discussion needed

defmn

Money issues are rarely resolved on the grounds of what is reasonable.

leadfarmer

I’ll be curious to see how many teams vote against having a season if this is the case

OriginalPouzar

This is where Gary B. earns a large portion of his money.

The hammer is: no season means the NBC contract doesn’t vest its last year and the new US TV deal, or deals, and the influx of capital is delayed by a year.

defmn

As does Fehr. Both are professional negotiators – something that has not always been the case between the league & the PA.

OriginalPouzar

Fair enough.

Harpers Hair

Just listened to a radio hit with John Shannon.

He says he is hearing 8-10 teams are balking at playing at all unless the players agree to new salary deferrals.

Also says in some cases ticket and concession money is as much of 75% of overall revenues and those owners are balking since more than a few of them (those that don’t own their arenas) would have to stroke a very large cheque to open up.

defmn

The league is going to have to guarantee loans & the players are going to have to bend.

Harpers Hair

I would imagine Gary can use the Seattle expansion as both a carrot and a stick.

defmn

Agreed. He has ‘futures’ to sell. He just has to make the players reps see it.

OriginalPouzar

I don’t see that.

Expansion is happening for 2021/22 and the owners will get their share no matter what.

The US TV deal is the bigger carrot – that’s the influx of capital that will be delayed a year.

OriginalPouzar

He was on Oilers Now today and I’ll listen at the gym tomorrow morning – he’s good listen on this type of stuff.

I don’t doubt those number but I also don’t doubt Bettman along with his group of 10 “executive committee” to be able to get everyone needed on board. The owners are going to operate at a loss this season – the size of that loss is the question.

Not playing is likely a much poorer option – delaying that influx of capital from the new US TV deal.

The players are going to have to bend a bit here and I think they will – they want to get paid something (in addition to any previously paid signing bonuses and the one cheque cut in October.

OriginalPouzar

Ugh oh – Greg Wyshynski hearing that Utica moving the Canada for the season is dead as the Canucks organization found it would be too expensive.

We need Utica, Stockton and Bakersfield playing and we need the ability to access those player in Canada in short order.

Yes, expanded rosters/taxi squads is an option but its such an inferior option to having these teams playing. Here is hoping there is some movement on this front.

jp

It’d seem almost a no brainer to have a Canadian AHL division in parallel with the likely Canadian NHL division.

Jets, Leafs, Senators and Canadiens teams are all based in Canada (Kings too, but that may not work for them).

Hopefully Katz is willing to foot the bill, as well as the Flames ownership.

OriginalPouzar

I was anticipating that all three organizations would work in lockstep on this and foot the bill until the new re: the Comets yesterday.

jp

Yeah that makes sense. Though having some or all of them join the other Canadian-based teams in an AHL division would make sense too, since there are (were) only 3 of them out West.

OriginalPouzar

Cam Hebig signed with the Florida Everglades (ECHL).

OriginalPouzar

Friedman reporting that, in their meetings today, the players were advised of a 2nd ask from the league/owners – in addition to the extra 13% deferral which we knew about, they are being asked to to raise the negotiated escrow caps that are in place in the final 3 seasons of the extended CBA – escrow is capped at 6% in the last 3 years (the ask is to consider around 8-9% he thinks).

This negotiation is not going to be easy.

leadfarmer

Bettman really screwed the pooch by promising locked in low escrow and full salaries to get the players to finish last season
If I’m the owner of the blue Jackets panthers Coyotes sens and multiple other teams I don’t return under these conditions

godot10

Not really. Bettman was/is actually quite shrewd. Bettman desparately needed the players to finish the season, so he didn’t insist on players accepting the full economic reality up front.

Now he forcing the current players to confront the full economic reality, and letting the players decide whether they want to play or not. The owners would prefer to play the upcoming season, but only if their cash flows are not excessively negative. So that is the only constraint on the players decision. The current players cannot ask for too much of their share of the pot over the next 10 years in the first year, or the owners will just decide not to play.

It is game theory at its finest by Bettman.

jp

That’s quite cool.

OriginalPouzar

Sounds like all on Karpat have tested negative and they will be out of quarantine and playing on Saturday.

OriginalPouzar

Of note, Berezkin is killing it back in the MHL – another goal and an assist, both on the PP yesterday in a 3-1 win (last goal was empty net so he was in on both goalie goals).

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