Oilers Send Puljujarvi to AHL, Waive Gustavsson, Promote Slepyshev

USATSI_9719417_154158418_lowresThe Edmonton Oilers made several interesting moves on Monday. They sent forward Jesse Puljujarvi to the AHL, put goalie Jonas Gustavsson on waivers and recalled Anton Slepyshev.

18-year-old Puljujarvi’s trip to the American Hockey League has been expected for some time now. He’s had just one goal in 28 games, which includes a 27-game scoreless streak and minimal ice time. It’s hard to justify why Puljujarvi was kept in the big leagues for so long, especially given that he didn’t even see three and a half minutes against the Bruins last Thursday.

The Oilers do have a lot on faith in Puljujarvi, though, and that could explain the move. By keeping him in Edmonton, they burned a year of his entry-level eligibility and paved the way for unrestricted free agency by the time he reaches 25 rather than 26. That also makes him an eligible RFA after 2017-2018, which makes him available for a new deal sooner.

The Swedish-born Puljujarvi will see more ice time with the Bakersfield Condors, that much is for sure, and that’ll benefit him as a young player after his NHL stint. He’s big winger and the book on him is strong, as he has skill and size on his side. But apart from a few early flourishes, the Oilers haven’t seen much from the kid.

Placing Gustavsson on waivers is all about performance.

The Monster has always been a tough sell and hasn’t exactly ever put up big numbers in the NHL, but general manager Peter Chiarelli had hoped that he could at least give Cam Talbot some relief. That didn’t pan out, with Gustavsson playing some poor hockey with the Oilers.

He went 1-3-1 in five starts, posting a .878 save percentage and a 3.10 goals against average. Against the Senators on January 8, he posted a .765 save percentage, allowing four goals in just 17 shots. Against the Flyers a month prior, he allowed six goals.

As for Slepyshev, the 22-year-old Russian has seen 15 games of NHL action this season and picked up four points. His last game was on December 11 against the Jets, where he played just under six minutes and was a minus-one.

Slepyshev has great hands and can be a solid winger for the Oilers, so they’ll be taking a good look at him during this run.

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