NHL Rumors: Oilers Will Have To Dip Below Standards To Move Forward

The long and tedious road with the Edmonton Oilers and Jesse Puljujarvi may finally be coming to an end after recent comments made by the 24-year-old to a Finnish journalist. To sum up the interview, Puljujarvi stated that he doesn't feel like he has a place in Edmonton's lineup or even the league due to his lack of production.

Elliotte Freidman spoke on the problem the Oilers face on 32 Thoughts: The Podcast, mentioning that the Oilers have tried to move Puljujarvi, but haven't gotten an offer they felt was fair. Freidman also brings up the point that after Puljujarvi's recent comments, the Oilers may have to trade him for the best possible deal they can get right now.

Looking at it one way, the Oilers don't want to completely waste a fourth overall pick, but it's headed in that direction. Puljujarvi was re-signed this past offseason to a one-year deal after a very poor second half to last season. He remains a restricted free agent at the end of this season, but it isn't even worth it at this point to be paying him $3 million or more to hit and forecheck. He needs to have some sort of offensive production mixed in there because there are other players vying for spots on the Oilers who have been able to provide both.

The other way of looking at it is the team can clear $3 million in cap space so that they can hold more than 21 players on the roster when Evander Kane returns. There have been many Oilers who have stepped up and shown they should be in the NHL and it would give the team financial freedom to possibly make a trade before the deadline.

At this point, a third round pick may be the absolute best the Oilers are going to get for Puljuajrvi, but with one goal and six points while logging the third-most 5-on-5 ice time with Connor McDavid this season, even that is unlikely. It appears as though Puljujarvi is playing his final half-season with the Oilers.

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