It’s hard to imagine a more disappointing 2018-2019 than that of Jesse Puljujarvi’s.
The Edmonton Oilers winger is now set to have season-ending hip surgery, putting a final marker on a year he would rather forget. The official announcement came Thursday afternoon, confirming a report from Oilers Nation.
Puljujarvi hasn’t played since February 15 and sought a second opinion on Tuesday after he was placed on injured reserve last week.
“This injury has been bothering Jesse for some time now and after careful consideration…the best decision was to have the surgery and miss the remainder of the season,” Oilers assistant general manager Keith Gretzky said. “We expect Jesse to rehabilitate and train throughout the summer and be 100 percent ready to go for training camp in September.”
In 46 games with Edmonton, Puljujarvi registered four goals and five assists.
Beyond a sub-standard stint on the stats board, Puljujarvi has illustrated a lot of what’s gone wrong for the Oilers. His development in the pro league has served as a cautionary tale of sorts, typifying just how poorly the Edmonton front office has done with respect to a lot of its prospect pool.
Sure, the Oilers can handle superstars with no choice but to spring into the NHL immediately.
But those without, as Oilers radio analyst Bob Stauffer might say, a “continuous upward trajectory?” That’s another matter.
Puljujarvi has been a victim of Edmonton’s unpredictable, indeterminate development structure. Force-fed into the NHL without a dependable plan and bounced back into the AHL, it’s no wonder the 20-year-old’s agent started to fish around for a different solution in mid-February.
And honestly, the Oilers seem fine with obliging him. Were it not for the injury, Puljujarvi might’ve been a deadline deal for Gretzky and Co. Now, according to more than a few sources, it looks like the plan may be to trade him this summer.
If that happens, it’s probably for the best. Puljujarvi’s been bounced around inside the Oilers organization since the outset and a fresh start could do him enormous favours. And it would get Edmonton out from under the development shadow, giving them a chance to reset on yet another missed opportunity.
(Photo credit: NHL)