EDMONTON, AB - On Sunday, the Oilers assigned winger Jesse Puljujarvi to the Bakersfield Condors in the American Hockey League. The 2016 fourth-overall pick is still developing into a full-time NHL player, having split his rookie season between the two leagues last year.
This year, Puljujarvi lost out on the battle at right wing and rookie first-round pick Kailer Yamamoto will begin the season in Edmonton instead. It's more beneficial to Puljujarvi and the team for him to go down and play big minutes in the AHL, having not locked down a top-nine role with the big club.
"Jesse needs more time," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "We expect Jesse, when he arrives and he's ready to play - and the same can be said of Yamamoto - to play in our top nine, minimum. Not on the fourth line. We didn't feel like he won that position and therefore we wanted to get him to Bakersfield and have him start the season there and get him working on his game."