Skip to content

Oilers' Holland noncommittal on Puljujarvi: 'I've gotta sort out Jesse'

Derek Leung / Getty Images Sport / Getty

With the Oilers still licking their wounds two days after being swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Final, general manager Ken Holland was noncommittal on Jesse Puljujarvi's future in Edmonton.

"That's what I've gotta sort out," Holland told reporters Wednesday when asked if he thinks Puljujarvi is part of the team's solution moving forward.

"The second half of the year, it was a real struggle. ... I think he lost his confidence. Then when he lost his confidence, he obviously was in the top six, and then he worked his way down to the bottom six. ... I've gotta sort out Jesse."

Puljujarvi, 24, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He put up 14 goals and 22 assists in 65 regular-season games in 2021-22. His production wilted in the playoffs, registering just two goals and one helper in 16 contests.

Interim head coach Jay Woodcroft said injuries and illnesses disrupted Puljujarvi's momentum this past season while pointing out that he posted a career-high 36 points.

"He never lost the belief of his teammates or his coaching staff," Woodcroft said, per TSN. "I thought he had some good moments, scored a couple big goals for us - one in the L.A. series, one in the Calgary series. ... He's a good, young hockey player."

He added: "He is not dissimilar (to) Ryan McLeod, Evan Bouchard, Stuart Skinner, Dylan Holloway. Some of our young players, that's where the growth on this team is going to come from, and they got some really good experience during our playoff run to aid that growth.

"We have a strong belief in the next wave of young players coming through our organization, and Jesse's one of them."

Holland said he spoke to Puljujarvi on Tuesday and will contact his agent within the next 10 days.

Edmonton drafted Puljujarvi fourth overall in 2016. He has 46 goals and 52 assists in 259 career NHL games.

Puljujarvi's underlying numbers remained solid this campaign. The Oilers controlled 58.6% of the shot attempts and 59.8% of the expected goals with Puljujarvi on the ice at five-on-five in the regular season, according to Natural Stat Trick.

He just wrapped up a two-year deal with a $1.175-million cap hit. Edmonton will have to qualify him at $1.4 million to maintain his rights, per CapFriendly.

Holland also said Puljujarvi sustained a shoulder injury in Game 4 against the Avalanche and needs four-to-six weeks to recover, according to The Athletic's Daniel Nugent-Bowman.

Oilers' Holland noncommittal on Puljujarvi: 'I've gotta sort out Jesse'
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox