The Oilers signed 2016 fourth-overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi to a three-year entry level contract on Wednesday. Here are five things to know about the Oilers new young winger.
1. A COMPLETE PLAYER
Something that keeps coming up in Puljujarvi's scouting reports is how he is the full package.
"Obviously, we've done our homework video-wise and through the scouting staff and the words that I keep hearing are he's a complete player," said Oilers Head Coach Todd 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."
Puljujarvi spent the 2015-16 season with Karat of the Finnish Elite League. The winger had 13 goals and 15 assists in 50 regular season games, and nine points (4-5-9) in 10 playoff games.
Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr called Puljujarvi "the ultimate power forward package."
"He is a big, mobile, highly skilled, well-rounded winger who is both a scorer and a playmaker," said Marr. "He is a powerful skater with excellent offensive instincts, puck skills and determination."
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2. EARLY RETURN
While the Oilers are quick to not put pressure on Puljujarvi to contribute immediately, it is very likely he will begin the year in Edmonton.
"That's what I've been told by our staff, and throughout the season - even before we picked him - that these three players (Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Puljujarvi) we thought had the best opportunity of playing in the National Hockey League next year," said McLellan, at the Draft in Buffalo.
McLellan did say, however, that a lot happens between the Draft and training camp. The young Finn needs to adjust to the language and the environment in Edmonton. The Oilers will get an opportunity to see how he fits in with the roster when camp opens.
"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," said McLellan.
3. ON THE MEND
While Puljujarvi was in Jasper for the Oilers Rookie Orientation Camp, he did not participate in any of the on-ice drills or skating. That was due to a minor knee injury. However, there are no worries on that front as he expects to return to the ice within the month.
"My knee feels good," said Puljujarvi. "Better and better."
Although he didn't skate at camp, Puljujarvi was in the video meetings, watched the practices and attended coaching meetings. He's on track to compete for a spot in the Oilers lineup when camp opens.
4. WJC MVP
Not only did Puljujarvi represent his country at the 2016 World Junior Championship, he dominated. The winger led the tournament in scoring with 17 points (5-12-17) in just seven games. His point production places him second all time in points for a player under the age of 18, behind Jaromir Jagr. His companions in second? Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros. He was named the tournament's best forward, and was the youngest player in the tournament's history to win MVP honours.
Puljujarvi skated with superb talent on the Finnish roster, leading his home country to gold on home soil. Puljujarvi also won gold at the 2016 U-18 World Championship. He had five goals and two assists in four games. He had a hat trick in the gold medal game against Sweden. The Oilers scouting staff dubbed him the best player on the ice during that tournament, and Director of Player Personnel Bob Green said he was "a man amongst boys."
5. ONE SPOT DROP
By now, you probably know there was an audible gasp in the First Niagara Center in Buffalo when the Columbus Blue Jackets took Pierre-Luc Dubois third overall and not Puljujarvi like draft prognosticators predicted.
If you want to read a full breakdown on how Puljujarvi came to be available to Edmonton at four, read our feature from the draft HERE. But here is the short version.
Peter Chiarelli was in talks with Calgary GM Brad Treliving and Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, as the three teams worked at shuffling their picks at the top of the draft. Kekalainen was trying to move back. Chiarelli began to realize the player Columbus would take at three was not the one the Oilers had ranked third.
Chiarelli chose to walk away from trade talks and sat while he watched Puljujarvi fall to him. At that point, any talks at moving back for a defenceman also went away as Edmonton took to the podium to select the Finnish winger.