I don’t know about you but I am still grinning like a butcher’s dog from Jesse Puljujarvi’s game against the Jets. When he scored that second goal I tossed my son into the air (gently of course) and yelled, “JEEEESSSSEEEEE!!!!!” and as I looked up at my boy, he had a huge smile on his face too! He knew
Now, that game was exactly what that doctor ordered after all of the hoopla from the game previous to where Kailer Yamamoto took care of the Vancouver Canucks’ ECHL team on his own.
I’ll be honest, I felt a bit vindicated in my support for Pulju after that game not because I don’t like Yamamoto but because I think Puljujarvi is getting a raw deal from some fans and Edmonton media. I don’t believe that group of fans/media know what the team really has in Jesse. He’s a special player in my opinion and if that’s how it’s going to be when he plays alongside Connor McDavid, I’ll have more of that.
Normally, I don’t advocate putting kids up in the top 6 because I think it’s throwing them to the lions and Lord knows we’ve seen enough of that in the last 20 years. I’d prefer we not go through that again.
But I want to pump the brakes a bit here. The Jets team wasn’t that much better than the roster Vancouver sent to play the Oilers the night before. I think it’s important that we establish that point but the reason I put more weight into that for Pulju is because he was the one getting shit on this pre-season (After one game… How’s that for small sample sizes?) and Yamamoto, who’d scored in every game to date, was getting all of the praise but it almost sounded like encouragement at the expense of Puljujarvi.
As I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of times if you read Oilers blogs or listen to Oilers radio, these young players DO NOT develop in a straight line and each player develops at his own pace. The WORST thing the Oilers can do is make a definitive decision on a player(s) based on a handful of exhibition games lest we end up spoiling them because they weren’t ready after all.
There’s a helluva race going on for one of the RW spots.
Strome – 2pts/2gp
Puljujarvi – 3pts/2gp
Caggiula – 4pts/2gp
Yamamoto – 5pts/3gp
Kassian – 1pt/3gp
Pakarinen – 3pts/3gp
*Slepyshev – 0pts/0gp (Injured but skating)
If the season is starting today and I have to pick the roster, I reckon it looks something like this:
Yamamoto goes back to Spokane, Puljujarvi goes to Bakersfield, and Pakarinen is the 13th fwd. It’s amazing how fluent that RW is. That’ll come in handy this season for sure.
The Frenchman (Auvitu) is on a one-way deal, so I’m not risking him on waivers plus I reckon he’ll draw in vs. teams who might give Eric Gryba a bit of hassle.
Tonight, the Oilers are going to play the Hurricanes and both teams should be icing solid line-ups. I’d love to see both Yammo and Pulju go tonight but I doubt that’ll be the case. I imagine Draisaitl’s group draws in as well as Klefbom and Larsson. I would like to get a good look at Nick Ellis as well. I’m seeing him better than Brossoit this year so far. Keep your eye on the ‘Canes defense. Some smooth operators on that blueline they’ve got.
As for Carolina, they’ve got some smooth operators on that blueline in Noah Hanifin and Justin Faulk but also wicked skill if Jeff Skinner, Martin Necas (if he hasn’t been cut yet), Teuvo Teravainen, and Elias Lindholm are playing.
Should be a solid test for the players on the bubble tonight!