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Canes Acquire Puljujarvi For Puistola

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Which team will try to unlock Jesse Puljujarvi’s potential at the Trade Deadline?


Archetype and Ideal Role
Forechecker. Third line.

When his confidence is intact, Puljujarvi can provide secondary scoring, be an effective forechecker and add to a team’s overall speed. But the 2016 No. 4 overall pick is a reclamation project, his confidence appears shattered, and it will require time, teaching and patience to rehabilitate him into a useful player again.

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Scouting Report
Something clicked at the beginning of last season. Puljujarvi built on a productive pandemic-shortened season in 2020-21 and was shot out of a cannon in 2021-22. He notched 23 points in 28 games, including 10 goals, and was a positive contributor to an Edmonton team that could desperately use a secondary scoring punch. He was playing 17 minutes a night, sometimes with the best players in the world, and Ken Holland’s work to convince him to return to Edmonton after a full season back in Finland seemed to be paying off.

Then the wheels fell off.

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Buyer Beware
Puljujarvi’s fatal flaw is his absence of hockey intelligence. He lacks awareness. He has always relied on his natural ability to be successful and has had a tough time figuring out how to fit into an NHL lineup and be productive. Even this season, he has played significant minutes with either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl and has just 10 points to show for it. Puljujarvi works. He tracks back hard. But when you have a chance to play with two of the best players in the world, you have to learn how to take advantage of the space and time they create, and he hasn’t be able to do that with any consistency.



Another potential factor weighing Puljujarvi down is the fact he was drafted No. 4 overall. There are expectations that go along with that, and those expectations should have been wiped away once he returned to Finland. But perhaps it’s just time for a change of scenery. Pavel Zacha was the No. 6 pick one year prior to Puljujarvi and the weight of those expectations in New Jersey was too heavy to carry; he has been excellent in Boston playing the best hockey of his career.

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