Cap-strapped Oilers could put Jesse Puljujarvi through waivers: report

Feb 10 2023, 3:55 pm

The Edmonton Oilers could look to create some cap flexibility at the expense of Jesse Puljujarvi.

The Oilers, who are expected to activate forward Kailer Yamamoto off of long-term injury reserve, could waive Puljujarvi, according to TSN’s Chris Johnston.

“With Kailer Yamamoto pretty ready pretty soon here to come off LTIR and what that means for the Oilers is there’s going to have to be a corresponding move,” Johnston said on Insider Trading on Thursday. “And one thing I like to keep an eye on is what happens here with Jesse Puljujarvi. He was scratched coming out of the All-Star break.

“Of course, there has been sort of on-again-off-again trade discussions around this player going back a couple of years now. And despite some of the struggles he’s had this year, I still think there is some interest in Puljujarvi.

“It’s even possible maybe we see him put through waivers. Because if that happens, I think he’s a more tradable chip because you’ll be able to go up and down between the AHL in the NHL. So, whether it’s Puljujarvi or someone else, the Oilers have to make some moves.”

The Oilers have $1.125 million in cap space available, according to CapFriendly.

Puljujarvi, the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, would be free for the 31 other clubs to scoop up. The 24-year-old is on a one-year contract worth $3 million. He is a pending restricted free agent at season’s end.

Yamamoto, who has been injured since January 11, has a $3.1 million hit. He has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 31 games. He, like Puljujarvi, is a pending restricted free agent.

“Whether it’s forwards or defence, it’s my job to be aware of who is available and eventually what the price might be,” Oilers general manager Ken Holland said on the Got Yer Back podcast on Wednesday.

“Regardless of names, we’re dollar in, dollar out, so we start bringing in people with big cap numbers, we’re going to have to do some real gymnastics here to move people out. When you’re in a LTI situation like we are, it’s much more difficult at the trade deadline.

“Would I like to do something? Yes, I would like to do something. Am I convinced I’m going to do something? I don’t know. I’ve got to work the phone lines and see. Eventually, you’ve got to find a fit.”

Puljujarvi could be the casualty on the Oilers’ roster.

“Once Yamamoto comes off LTI and if nobody else goes on, I’ve got some real difficult decisions to make,” Holland admitted. “All of our bottom of the roster players are going to be involved in that decision to decide. They all can’t stay.”

Puljujarvi, who has been long rumoured as potential trade bait for the team, has just four goals and 10 points in 49 games with Edmonton this season.

He has 108 points (50 goals, 58 assists) in 308 games over parts of six seasons with the Oilers.

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