After some debate about where his next goals on the ice would come and for which team, Jesse Puljujarvi has signed a one-year extension with Karpat Oulu of the Finnish Liiga.
He said of the extension, “It’s a good place to take the next steps in my career”.
What’s interesting about his new deal is that it has an out clause to return to NHL. Ken Holland said last week that he and Puljujarvi had positive talks a few weeks back and many got the sense that both sides are open to him returning.
Puljujarvi last played hockey on March 12. By signing in Finland, he’ll enter NHL training camp in midseason form as opposed to rusty from ~10 months with no game action, so the deal does make sense, especially considering the 2020-21 NHL season will be starting late.
Puljujarvi had ruled out the KHL and the AHL wouldn’t be an option so if Puljujarvi wants to play hockey any time soon this was the only reasonable path.
Puljujarvi said when being asked about the Edmonton Oilers: “I have grown and I see things a little differently”. The sense today after he signed in Finland is that he’ll be back with Edmonton at some point before their training camp.
Puljujarvi Could Return a Much Better Player
When the winger became a restricted free agent in 2019, Puljujarvi returned to Finland and a full season for Karpat, scoring 53 points in 54 games. While not the NHL, it was a drastic improvement over the little production he had in 139 NHL games with the Oilers.
He was a difference-maker for the Finnish squad and needs to become more than an extra in Edmonton. Playing in big situations until his opportunity to prove he’s become a different player is the right call.
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