The Edmonton Oilers are receiving praise from some fans, after they finally sent down winger Jesse Puljujarvi and placed goaltender Jonas Gustavsson on waivers. Both players have been struggling in the first half of the season, and would profit more in the AHL.
Edmonton Oilers Send down Jesse Puljujarvi
Puljujarvi is the biggest part of this news. The 18-year old was drafted fourth overall in the latest NHL Entry Draft, and placed straight into the NHL. Since then, he’s played 28 games; usually on the wing with Patrick Maroon and Leon Draisaitl. He’s also had his fair share of ice time alongside the impressive Connor McDavid – Milan Lucic duo. But even playing with leading point scorer, McDavid; Puljujarvi has only been able to amount eight points in his rookie season. Even worse, only one of those was a goal. Because of the heavy lack of production, he’s been sent to try and help the Bakersfield Condors, Edmonton’s AHL affiliate.
In Puljujarvi’s spot will be Anton Slepyshev, who was recalled again on Monday. He has averaged a point per game in the AHL, and has had four NHL points in 15 games so far this season. Slepyshev has a hard shot, that should pair perfectly with Draisaitl and Maroon. At the very least, he’s expected to produce more than Puljujarvi; and he will.
Gustavsson on Waivers
Gustavsson will be joining Puljujarvi in the AHL, assuming he clears waivers. Gustavsson has only made seven appearances so far this season, and has only come out of one of them with a win. He has a very high goals against average of 3.10, and a very low save percentage of .878. Unless he picks his game up, its unlikely he gets the AHL starting role either. This is yet another season of struggles for Gustavsson, who has only had 15 wins in 38 appearances over the last three seasons.
Taking his spot at backup will be Laurent Nrossoit, who has yet to record his first NHL win in six career appearances. In the AHL, so far this season, he is 8-8-0 in 20 starts. Still, it’s come to a point where he is more trusted than Gustavsson and will be given an opportunity to run with the backup job. He’s given up 20 goals in six career NHL starts.
Due to the Oilers keeping Puljujarvi on the roster for 42 games this season they have given him a year of service. This will make Puljujarvi eligible for arbitration and unrestricted free agency one year sooner than if they sent him down after only 40 games.