Oilers RFA Jesse Puljujarvi signs one-year deal in Finland

Jesse Puljujarvi had grown unhappy in Edmonton. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Jesse Puljujarvi had grown unhappy in Edmonton. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Jesse Puljujarvi may have found the top-six role he was looking for, but it won’t be in the NHL. At least not yet.

The disgruntled Edmonton Oilers RFA inked a one-year deal with Finnish club Oulun Karpat Tuesday. The contract holds an NHL opt-out clause until Dec. 1 should Puljujarvi find a landing spot to his liking in North America this fall.

The fourth-overall pick of the 2016 draft has struggled at the NHL level, recording just 37 points in 139 games. His disappointing 2018-19 season was cut short after undergoing surgery on both hips in March.

The 21-year-old has expressed frustration about his role with the Oilers, and was reported to have requested a trade back in June.

Edmonton still retains Puljujarvi’s NHL rights, and could even stand to benefit from his decision to play overseas. Should he turn in a strong performance with Karpat, he would only figure to boost his trade value, which is at its lowest point right now. If the Oilers fail to work things out with the forward, they could recoup some assets by trading him once he proves he can contribute at a high level.

Oilers GM Ken Holland said as much in a statement to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector.

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Puljujarvi has prior experience with Karpat, having played for them for two seasons prior to being drafted by the Oilers. The club hopes to help Puljujarvi regain his form as he eyes a return to the NHL.

“The great thing is, Jesse has decided to make a season-long deal with us,” said Karpat’s sports director Harri Aho in a translated release, via The Edmonton Journal. “Jesse is a homegrown prospect whose size, skills and talent will surely be enough for the NHL. We want to be there to help and support Jesse towards that goal.”

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