With Evander Kane returning to action, it’s no surprise the Edmonton Oilers are making lineup changes.
But the choice of forward picked by Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft to sit in the lineup is causing some discussion, to say the least.
Ahead of tonight’s game against the Seattle Kraken, 25-year-old forward Jesse Puljujärvi is expected to be a healthy scratch, per a report from Daily Faceoff’s Tyler Yaremchuk.
Jesse Puljujarvi will be a healthy scratch for the #Oilers tonight
— Tyler Yaremchuk (@tyleryaremchuk) January 17, 2023
It’s the first game back for Kane since suffering a skate cut on November 8.
Since being taken fourth overall by the Oilers in 2016, Puljujärvi has had an up-and-down tenure in Edmonton. Puljujärvi, originally pegged to potentially challenge Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine for the top two draft spots, fell to fourth overall when Pierre-Luc Dubois was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He has 50 goals, 58 assists and a plus-minus of +5 in 304 games. Puljujärvi’s 108 career points rank 17th in his draft class.
This season, Puljujärvi has just four goals and six assists in 45 games, and has found himself in frequent trade rumours over the past few months.
After a slow start to the season — he didn’t score his second goal of the season until game 33 — Puljujärvi gave a revealing interview to Finnish journalist Tommi Seppälä about his struggles as an Oiler in early December.
“I’m trying to find out who I am as a player since it looks like I don’t fit anywhere here [in Edmonton],” Puljujärvi said in his native Finnish, as translated by Seppälä and published by Mark Spector at Sportsnet. “I’ve started checking a lot and lead the team in hits. At least that’s some positive.”
Puck drop for the Oilers and Kraken is set for 7 pm MT.
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