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BLOG: Oilers think Puljujarvi can step in this year

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

When the Oilers dropped to the fourth-overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery, their GM Peter Chiarelli said he felt that meant not getting an NHL-ready prospect. But, as it would turn out, Columbus chose Pierre-Luc Dubois third, allowing Edmonton to take Jesse Puljujarvi a pick later.

Puljujarvi was one of the prospects, along with Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, some predict will make the jump to the NHL this season.

The Oilers own staff believes that too. He's a big-bodied player who played well in Finland's top league, playing against men. Although there's still work to be done by Puljujarvi to get there, the Oilers feel he could contribute right away

“That’s what I’ve been told by our staff, and throughout the season — even before we picked him — that these three players we thought had the best opportunity of playing in the National Hockey League next year. A lot of things have to happen before that occurs. He’s got to adjust to his environment in Edmonton, the language barrier is a bit of a thing, he’s going to have to learn some things there and he’s going to have to come to camp and we’re going to have to determine the type of camp he has, how he fits our team and what the best development path is for him. If he’s ready to play, we think he can contribute and we’re doing the right thing organizationally for him and us then he’ll play. But I think we’re talking about something we can’t pin down at this moment. We’ve got to wait and see what happens and we’ve got to take a look at what our team looks like at that point as well.”

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