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Puljujarvi's development

by Meg Tilley @MegsTilley /

It's been a camp of overcoming challenges for Oilers forward prospect Jesse Puljujarvi.

After he was selected by the Oilers at number four overall at this year's NHL Draft, the Finnish forward made his way to Main Camp after Rookie Camp, where he continues to adjust to the North American style of hockey.  

"It's [a] very strong speed," he said. "It's different. [It's a] smaller rink, that's the biggest difference."   

As the 18-year-old continues to fine-tune his craft, Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan has been pleased with Puljujarvi's progress.

"I think he's become more aggressive every day," he said. "It seems like he's fitting in better in game situations and in practice situations. He's been around the puck a lot more, he had some turnovers in the third period the other day, which he and we weren't very happy with, but that's part of the learning process. But for me, he's looked more and more confident every time."

Puljujarvi spent last season with the Finish Elite League's Oulu Karpat, recording 28 points (13G, 15A), 22 penalty minutes and a plus five plus/minus rating in 50 games. He also posted nine points (4G, 5A) in 10 playoff games. 

McLellan said he understands the challenges the Torino, Finland native has to face on the ice and that he isn't alone in feeling an overwhelming change moving into the National Hockey League system.   

"Connor felt that last year coming to the national league," said the bench boss. "Things happen a little bit quicker, they close quicker, guys are craftier and smarter. They bait you sometimes with passing lanes and then take them away. That's all part of the learning process for a young player."

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