Is there a better example of a player on the brink of returning to Europe than former Carolina Hurricane and Edmonton Oiler forward Jesse Puljujarvi? As a player that has struggled to find his way in the NHL to this point, Puljujarvi is the definition of a player that should be looking for a professional tryout to try and keep himself in North America.
After an up-and-down time in Edmonton, Puljujarvi has already had a season back in his native league as the Finnish forward has had troubles during his time in Alberta. With the Oilers and Puljujarvi disagreeing over contract terms, there was a year when the forward returned to Oulu Karpat in the Finnish Liiga. With his NHL future uncertain for a long time, a tryout to see if anything is left with this player is not a bad idea.
Puljujarvi was drafted 4th overall in 2016 despite being the clear-cut favorite to go third overall. Columbus’ pick of Pierre-Luc Dubois seems to have worked out, but Puljujarvi found himself going to play on the wing of Connor McDavid. At the world juniors, Puljujarvi had flourished with Sebastian Aho (the Hurricanes one) and Patrik Laine, so surely the best player in the world could help him out?
In 317 games as an Oiler, Puljujarvi recorded 51 goals and 61 assists for 112 points. It’s not a bad total, but it was not what the Oilers expected for a player picked so high. He was flipped to the Carolina Hurricanes at the trade deadline, where he recorded just two more assists in his 17 games for that organization. He’s had double hip surgery after leaving the Hurricanes and has yet to find a new home.
As a defensive specialist, Puljujarvi has something to offer to the bottom six if he can play the way he was before his surgeries. Bringing him in on a professional tryout to see what is left before offering him a league minimum contract could have its benefits. This player could offer a lot to the bottom six and might be someone the Rangers could use on the penalty kill if the current bottom six cannot.