Kukla's Korner

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Jesse Puljujarvi Is Growing His Game

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

As a six-foot-four, 205-pound Finnish right winger, the comparisons to Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen were inevitable on 2016 draft day, when Columbus selected Pierre-Luc Dubois third, gifting Puljujarvi to then-GM Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers. But any similarities between the two have evaporated like steam off the sauna rocks, as Rantanen became a 30-goal, 80-point player, while Puljujarvi walked away from the NHL to reset with his hometown team, Karpat.

Had any of the 31 other GMs offered Ken Holland a first-round draft pick in return, perhaps the Oilers GM would have traded Puljujarvi during his Finnish flight. But the rest of the NHL was just as skeptical, much to Holland’s good fortune.

Now? You wouldn’t trade Puljujarvi for a pair of firsts.

“His attitude has allowed him to make it work. He stayed positive,” said Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “As tough as it is on a young player coming in -- maybe even more so on a European player -- it’s not easy to crack the NHL right away. There were frustrations -- we weren’t a great team when he came in; he had to learn to take strides.”

Today, Puljujarvi has learned how to use his big frame to create space and win battles. He has confidence to use a superior shot, and affixed with the best player in the game, scoring opportunities will be endless.

He could score 25 or 30 goals this season, and perhaps 50 down the road.

“Fifty?” you ask.

“Why not?” we’d counter.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Edmonton Oilers, | KK Hockey | Permalink


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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com