December 1st marks the final day for restricted free agents Jesse Puljujarvi and Julius Honka to sign contracts and return to the NHL this season. If they do not have new deals by that point, then they will be forced to sit out the remainder of the season.

Puljujarvi has already come out and said that he’s likely going to stay in Finland for the remainder of the season, regardless of if he’s traded or not.

The Stars are holding firm on Honka and have been clear that they will not deal him unless they get what they believe is fair value.

So while December 1st is looming, I would say that it is unlikely a deal gets done for either player before that point. While that does mean that neither will play in the NHL this season, I still think there is a chance that Puljujarvi is traded at some point before the trade deadline on February 24th.

The team that does decide to acquire Jesse Puljujarvi will likely view him as a long-term piece and it will likely be a team that is in a rebuild. I could still see a scenario where the Oilers use Puljujarvi as an asset to potentially acquire a third-line centre that could help their playoff push. The other team likely won’t care about not getting Puljujarvi in their lineup for the rest of the season, since they’re sellers and would be out of the playoff picture, and might value him more than a draft pick.

So that’s where we stand with Puljujarvi. While December 1st is the final day for him to sign and join an NHL team for the 2019/20 season, it hardly feels like a deadline from an Oilers perspective. If they don’t get fair value, they won’t move him. If a team steps up at the last second with a great offer and Ken Holland thinks he can improve the Oilers lineup this season with the move, then we will hear about it within the next 48 hours.

Here are some other stories from around the league that I’m keeping an eye one:

  • I still think the Winnipeg Jets would be a logical fit for Julius Honka but they also might be looking for a more experienced option. The rumoured ask for Honka was a 2nd or 3rd round pick and a young player. That’s pretty steep for a player who hasn’t had very much NHL success.
  • Washington Capitals GM Brian McLellan came out and said that the team’s defence has been inconsistent this season. That sparked rumours that he might be looking to make an addition. He has virtually no cap space to work with, which is definitely handcuffing him.
  • As the Leafs continue on in the post-Babcock era, I think it’s still worth keeping an eye on their goaltending situation. One of Casey DeSmith or Tristan Jarry in Pittsburgh would make a lot of sense.
  • Kevin Kurz of The Athletic mentioned that the Sharks are looking at adding a scoring winger and possibly a goalie. They don’t have their first-round pick for this season (traded to OTT) so I’m not sure what kind of assets they would be comfortable giving up for another forward. Also, they have two goaltenders under contract right now and they have under $1 million in cap space. I don’t see how Doug Wilson can make a move right now unless another team does him a favour and takes a bad contract from him.
  • Elliotte Friedman said in a recent radio hit that both the Kings and Wild have lots of players available. I don’t think the LA Kings are a logical trade partner for the Oilers because they play in the same division, although the Todd McLellan connection could change that. I’m intrigued by the Wild though. I think the Guerin could be willing to make a move and there are some players in that organization that could fill a need for the Oilers.
  • Eric Staal (provided they could make the money work) and Joel Eriksson-Ek could be possible 3C solutions for the Oilers. If Edmonton wants a scoring winger, Jason Zucker and Kevin Fiala should interest them. Again, it would be hard to make the money work. The Oilers would have to dump Sam Gagner on top of giving up assets. Ken Holland is still in a tough spot when it comes to cap management.


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