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BLOG: Opportunity aplenty at wing for Rieder and Puljujarvi

Oilers President of Hockey Operations and GM Peter Chiarelli spoke to the opportunity available at wing and the potential for breakout years from Tobias Rieder and Jesse Puljujarvi

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - With solid depth down the middle at centre with the likes of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Kyle Brodziak, there's plenty to prove on their wings for the Edmonton Oilers.

An opportunity for free-agent signing and winger Tobias Rieder to slot in on the flank of his fellow German countryman Draisaitl this upcoming NHL season has Oilers President of Hockey Operations and GM Peter Chiarelli optimistic on the 25-year-old's potential for a breakout year offensively.

"I think his game has that platform," Chiarelli said to Bob Stauffer and Oilers Now on Tuesday afternoon. "He hasn't done it yet, but he has speed, he has something to prove, he's still young and can play both sides.

"The opportunity is there for him. He does have the offensive capacity although he hasn't done it yet. He's shown flashes. He's a terrific penalty-killer too, and that hasn't been said as much."

Right-wing Jesse Puljujarvi continues to adapt to life in North America and make progress moulding his game as an NHL professional with opportunity aplenty for the 20-year-old drafted fourth overall in 2016.

"Where he was picked [in the draft] people expect more immediate returns," Chairelli said of the Finnish forward. "He's shown a lot of progress, he's getting more mature. We tend to forget he's a northern Finn and he still has that maturation process going as far as living in North America and being a professional.

"This kid's a horse, he can score, he's still learning, and his learning curve maybe is a bit more shallow than some of the guys drafted around him, but he'll be there in the end and I think you're going to see big things from him this season."

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