The Edmonton Oilers finally got Evander Kane back after missing 31 games with a wrist injury, and they were lucky enough to hold off on a very tough decision about Kailer Yamamoto, who landed on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Before Kane was injured, there were few available roster spots, forcing Klim Kostin and Mattias Janmark to start the season in the American Hockey League (AHL). That’s no longer an option due to their solid production. General manager Ken Holland now has to decide whether he should trade one of three other forwards – Jesse Puljujarvi, Warren Foegele, and Derek Ryan.
All three have been made a healthy scratch in the last two weeks as the Oilers have run with 11 forwards and seven defencemen (from ‘The Oilers scratching Jesse Puljujarvi shows it’s time for them to part ways,’ The Athletic, Jan. 18, 2023). Now the team has a couple of extra weeks to gather up information, see who can get the best return, and also judge which move(s) will help them in the short and long run. Management not only has to think about their cap situation but also create room before the trade deadline if they want to add pieces.
Puljujarvi Most Likely Trade Candidate
Edmonton has a good reason to trade each of the three forwards, but also reasons not to. Frank Seravalli spoke on the latest surrounding the Oilers saying, “The Oilers were out there last week gauging. Specifically, their options to waive were Derek Ryan, Foegele, or Jesse Puljujarvi. None of those three names are really going to shock you. They were gauging the trade market on Foegele and Puljujarvi specifically.” If the Oilers can’t make a trade, they will have to waive at least one of the three to allow Yamamoto to return after the All-Star break.
Earlier in the season, the market dried up for Puljujarvi, and it seemed that the Oilers would have to attach an asset to be able to move him and his $3 million salary. But as a former fourth-overall pick, who has regularly shown the ability to get chances, a new opportunity and maybe a different system might suit him well, as it did for Kostin this season. Kostin wasn’t going anywhere with the St. Louis Blues but is now tied for the team lead in goals over the past nine games with seven.
The good news for the organization is that Seravalli also mentioned that “a handful of teams have reached out to the Oilers to engage them in discussion on Puljujarvi.