Do the Senators need Jesse Puljujarvi?

There have been many reports that the Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi is Doing business is close, or even waiver if there is no taker. The Ottawa Senators lack depth, and while the injury bug has played a factor in the weak bottom-six unit, adding Puljujarvi could have a big impact on how the lines roll out when the team is healthy.

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Puljujarvi, a former fourth-overall pick and turning 25 before the end of the season, needs a new home in the NHL. There’s no doubt he belongs in the NHL, but things just aren’t working out in Edmonton. With just 10 points in 45 games, the Oilers winger is struggling to keep up with the expectations the team has placed on him. Puljujarvi comes now A healthy scratch for two games in a rowAnd with Evander Kane healthy again, a move needs to be made (from ‘Oilers Puljujarvi a health scratch again’, Edmonton SunJanuary 19, 2023).

Jesse Puljujarvi Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/ICON Sportswear via Getty Images)

Puljujarvi signed a one-year contract worth $3 million in the offseason, and many people expected him to be traded before the deal was up, as he was not moved before it was signed. The Senators aren’t necessarily in the market for a recovery project, but could certainly use the addition of a forward group.

Where does Puljujarvi fit in?

Finally, the Senators’ third line consists of Parker Kelly, Dylan Gambrell and Jake Lucchini. Josh Norris and Matthew Joseph were both activated from injured reserve, and Lucchini was waived and sent to the Belleville Senators, so there are already some changes coming. With a healthy roster, the third line will be Shane Pinto, Matthew Joseph and Tyler Mott, with Kelly, Mark Castelik and Austin Watson on the fourth line, which we’ll see back together and healthy very soon. .

Acquiring Puljujarvi would give Senators head coach DJ Smith the ability to move Mott to the fourth line in place of Kelly or Watson and force him to play stronger defensive minutes. This would introduce the third line to a strong two-way group and prevent either of them from creating offense in high-pressure situations.

Tyler Motte is the Ottawa Senator
Tyler Mote, Ottawa Senator (Amy Irvine / hockey writer)

Puljujarvi recorded some great analytics, and has for several seasons, but it hasn’t translated to the scoresheet as much as he and the Oilers would like. Many people argue that he is unable to produce, because he always plays with Connor McDavid, but this is not entirely true. Puljujarvi has 575:29 of ice time through 45 games this season in all situations, and 192:37 of that has been played with McDavid. That equates to about 33.4 percent of his total ice time.

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Puljujarvi’s Corsi percentage is 54 percent, and his Fenwick percentage is just a touch higher at 55 percent, courtesy of both stats. Manipak. Those stats may not mean much, but when he’s on the ice, he creates more offense than lets up. These are notable because, as I mentioned, he didn’t spend as much time with McDavid as many think. He is usually found on a line with other players struggling to produce. Lined up with Pinto and Joseph, I think he could make a big leap in production.

Being an effective forward is about more than just production. Puljujarvi has some good defensive metrics and could be a valuable defensive winger, but there is more to his game that screams and shines at times. This inconsistency is what makes his game so frustrating. Evolved hockey models With Puljujarvi’s expected goal, as well as against Corsi, the Senators’ bottom-six is ​​more than anyone else.

The Senators don’t need him

Now, I’ve done my best to make an argument for trading for Puljujarvi, now it’s time to look at why it might not be the best idea.

The Senators don’t need a recovery project, and Puljujarvi, at this point, is just that. After mentioning the positive aspects of his season, you just can’t ignore the bright spots. One of the most notable things about him is his consistent inability to finish. He has the ability and has shown he has a good shot, but has a career shooting percentage of 8.7. He is on pace for fewer than eight goals this season, which would be his lowest total in the past three seasons. Although I noted that only 33 percent of his ice time came with McDavid, 192 minutes is still a significant amount of time alongside the best player in the NHL.

Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers Nathan McKinnon Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan McKinnon skates against Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (Photo by Dustin Bradford/ICON Sportswear via Getty Images)

Motte, Pinto, and Joseph were a good line when together, although they only played 18 games as a trio. I still wouldn’t mind seeing Motte move to the fourth line, but the Senators don’t necessarily need to bring in someone from outside the organization. They currently have Ridley Gregg and Egor Sokolov knocking on the door for opportunities in the NHL. The entire team needs a spark in the 5-on-5 offense, and the Senators could certainly benefit from seeing a young call-up.

Resources can be used elsewhere

I know it won’t cost Puljujarvi much to bring the Senators into the lineup, but trading any piece is a waste of resources. Not only worry about the cost of the trade, but also the salary that comes with it. The Senators don’t have a ton of money to play with right now. They could make some more room using long-term injury reserve, but as it sits now, the team has just over $3 million in cap space.

This is reported by Elliot Friedman 32 Thoughts Podcast That general manager Pierre Dorion is actively looking for a defenseman, and may even consider a rental option. As I mentioned in the last part Related to Matt Dumba That the Senators should not consider adding a defenseman as a hire. Since listening to Friedman, I think such a move has more value than I originally gave it credit for, because it will show the team that they are serious about building a winning culture.

Adding Puljujarvi to the Senators’ forward group is certainly an upgrade in some parts of the bottom-six, but adding a player like him isn’t one of the team’s biggest concerns at this point. Between the trade assets it would potentially take to add him, and the salary he brings, the move doesn’t make sense if the Senators are truly trying to make this team better moving forward.

It’s a toss up

There are obviously two very strong arguments for whether acquiring Puljujarvi would be a smart move, and any fan’s decision has plenty of arguments to support their position. If the price is right, and the Senators can avoid taking all $3 million of his salary, there’s nothing wrong with the move.

If acquiring Puljujarvi hinders the Senators’ ability to acquire a big impact player that could help the team going forward, there’s no question which direction they should go.

GM Pierre Dorion informed this information @TVASports The next six weeks will determine whether the club are deadline day buyers. “If we go on a streak and win a few games at the trade deadline, I don’t see us as sellers or as stability: we can be buyers,” he said. # senses

The trade deadline is fast approaching, and the Senators need to set their sights on what March 3 will look like for them. Will they be buyers or sellers? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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