Yes, *that* Jesse Puljujärvi.
Prior to the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Puljujärvi was ranked as the third-best European skater behind two familiar names: Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine. The Swede was the consensus third pick behind the two, and Pierre-Luc Dubois, the number-one rated North American skater, was projected to go fourth or fifth.
The Blue Jackets had a different set of rankings that they went by. They selected Dubois with the third overall pick, leaving Puljujärvi to fall to the Edmonton Oilers at number four. Since then, Dubois has blossomed, while Puljujärvi has struggled mightily.
Now, it seems the Blue Jackets may have changed their tune:
Elliotte Friedman on Oilers NOW: I had someone text me this morning and say, theres some names out there that you guys havent even considered.— NHL News (@PuckReportNHL) September 18, 2020
Columbus Blue Jackets were one team that had interest in Jesse Puljujarvi. Theyre looking to add some skill. #CBJ #LetsGoOilers
In 139 NHL games, Puljujärvi has 17 goals and 37 points, but there's no question that the Oilers mismanaged his career from the start. He was put on the fourth line and not given many opportunities to succeed.
During the 2019-20 campaign, Puljujärvi headed overseas to play in Liiga (Finland) with Karpat, but he's expected to rejoin the Oilers for the 2020-21 season.
There's no question that Puljujärvi has the tools to succeed. At six-foot-four and 201 pounds, he's a formidable opponent. When you combine that with his speed and hands, you're looking at an NHL-caliber player. Perhaps a change of scenery is all he needs, but you have to wonder how much GM Jarmo Kekalainen would be willing to wager on that possibility.
The Oilers could use some defensive depth, and the Blue Jackets are in a position where they can afford to part with a defenseman. In theory, it seems like a good pairing. If Kekalainen and Oilers GM Ken Holland can reach a deal, Puljujärvi would add skill to a Blue Jackets lineup desperately needing more of it.