As Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan continues to watch the 36 prospects perform on ice and participate in a week-long session of team bonding, one question hangs in the balance, will the Oilers 2016 NHL draft fourth-overall pick, Jesse Puljujarvi, crack the lineup for the start of this season?
“That’s a difficult question for me to answer at this point because he hasn’t been on the ice,” said McLellan.
Puljujarvi went under the knife following the U18 World Championship for a minor knee surgery and has been working on regaining his strength.
Though he may not be participating in the on-ice drills, he has been soaking in the week-long experience, bonding with a number of the prospects.
“Obviously, we’ve done our homework video-wise and through the scouting staff and the words that I keep hearing are [that he’s a] complete player,” said McLellan.
“He plays a full 200-foot game and has an energy and a passion level that is real strong and high and a skill-set to go with it. We feel that he has the opportunity to compete for a spot this season. We need to get him healthy here and get him up and running. But once that happens the rest will be up to him and his teammates to make sure that he feels comfortable and I hope that he can challenge for a spot and make our team out of camp, but that’s yet to be seen.”