Growing up as a Washington Capitals fan living in Edmonton all my life, I have to be honest that I have a soft spot for the hometown Edmonton Oilers. I haven’t paid too much attention to them daily the last 10 years because it really hasn’t been worth a casual fans time. However, there have been a ton of rumours around a Jesse Puljujärvi for Andre Burakovsky trade. In this arti,cle I’m going to evaluate the players individually and who in my opinion wins the trade.
Jesse Puljujärvi is a Finnish hockey player born in Alvkarleby, Sweden who played most of his hockey in Finland with the Kärpät organization. He made his Liiga debut with Kärpät in 2014/2015, but his first full season with the club wasn’t until 2015/2016 where he played in 50 Liiga games. That year, he totalled 28 points (13 goals and 15 assists). Puljujärvi also had an amazing playoff run; in 10 games, the Finn scored 4 goals to go along with 5 assists. Puljujärvi would then leave the team and declare for the NHL Draft where he was a consensus third overall pick. However, Columbus surprised everybody by taking centre Pierre-Luc Dubois at #3 leaving Edmonton wide open to take Puljujarvi at #4.
NHL career thus far
Puljujarvi signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers on the 13th of July 2016. He opted to wear the number #98, making him the first NHL player to do since 1985. Jesse made the Oilers opening night roster for the 2016/2017 season, scoring his first career NHL goal in his NHL debut on October 12th, 2016. However, Puljujärvi would get sent to the AHL later in that season and end up playing 39 games for the AHL affiliate Condors.
Puljujärvi is still trying to find his way in the NHL with 28 points in 93 career games. Many have labelled him a bust, but I personally think it’s too soon for that. He’s a late birthday so despite it being his third NHL season, he’s still only 20 years old. I think the Oilers would be foolish to trade this man, he’s shown he can play at an elite level. In the 2016 World Junior Championships, he scored 17 points in seven games, tying him for second all-time in points for an under-18 player behind only Jaromir Jagr, he’s tied with Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros, pretty good company.
The skill is there for Jesse, but just like Nail Yakupov’s development, the Oilers are messing it up for the young guy. He’s either got to play top 6 minutes in the NHL to build some confidence or get sent down to the AHL and dominate down there. Playing 9-12 minutes a night in the NHL isn’t doing him anything for development. Please, Edmonton - don’t ruin another young stud.
Andre Burakvosky was born in Kargenfurt, in southern Austria, but grew up in Malmo, Sweden. He was drafted in the third round (102nd overall) by SKA Saint Petersburg in the 2012 KHL Junior Draft and was selected by the Washington Capitals in the first round at 23rd overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Andre made his professional debut during the 2011/2012 season with the Malmo Redhawks at just 16 years old. He also won a silver medal with Team Sweden at the 2012 IIHF World U18 Championships. On the 4th of September 2013, Burakovsky signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals, which saw him join the Erie Otters of the OHL for the 2013/2014 season. That season, he would play alongside Connor McDavid and score 41 goals and 46 assists for 87 points in 57 games.
NHL Career thus far
Burakovsky scored his first career NHL goal in his NHL debut on the 9th of October 2014 against the Montreal Canadiens. He became the second fastest Capitals player to score his first career NHL goal and the 13th Capitals player to score in his NHL debut. He finished his rookie season playing 79 games, scoring 17 goals and polishing it off with 21 assists.
In a game against the Dallas Stars on the 22nd of January 2017, Burakovsky scored the game’s first goal for the fourth straight game, tying the NHL record for the most consecutive team games scoring the first goal. Currently, he’s under a 2-year, $6-million contract with the Capitals. He was sidelined with a thumb injury for most of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs but was a huge impact in Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning where he scored two goals, helping the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final where they would eventually win.
Burakosvky has had an average start to his NHL career with 120 points in 252 NHL games. He’s gone through confidence issues in his play, even mentioning that he’s gone through a sports psychiatrist to attempt to solve those confidence issues. I truly believe he can be a 60+ point per season guy in the NHL, he’s got the talent for it, he just needs to be put into the right situation. With the way the Capitals are built, he’ll never get that opportunity in their top 6.
So, who wins?
In some respects, both teams win this trade. Edmonton gets an amazing player in Burakovsky who will probably play beside McDavid just like he did in junior. Hopefully, he can catch that magic he previously had with him. Playing with somebody he’s familiar with and pretty much guaranteed that first line winger position in the lineup should solve any confidence issues he has. In return, Washington gets a big body that can play on their third line. However, the difference between Edmonton’s third line and Washington’s third line is that he’ll still be playing with offensive-style players, giving Puljujarvi chances to elevate in the lineup based on his play. I think both players are good and both will have long careers in the NHL, I just think a change of scenery is needed as both players aren’t mentally “in it” with their current teams.
Edmonton sacrifices age for experience and Washington gets somebody that can maybe fill the hole when Ovechkin inevitably retires.
Both teams win - isn’t that what we want?
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