Nation Network Prospect Profile #3: Jesse Puljujarvi

The number three ranked prospect of the Nation Network rankings is Finnish forward Jesse Puljujarvi.

Puljujarvi stormed onto the international scene at the World Juniors, where he scored 23 points in 15 games, including a hat trick in the gold medal game. He also put up one of the best 17-year-old seasons ever in the top Finnish league, scoring 28 points in 50 games and leading Karpat in possession, controlling 57.5% of shot attempts.

Puljujarvi is a great skater, with a quick, accurate shot and great playmaking vision. His defensive game is developed well beyond his years, and he uses his 6’4 frame to good effect in positioning and battling for pucks. He will likely step straight onto an NHL roster next season, and could be a difference-maker even as a rookie.

BIO

Age: 18

Birthplace: Alvkarleby, Sweden

Frame: 6’4, 203 lbs

Position: RW

Handedness: R

Draft Year Team: Karpat (Liiga)

STATS


pGPS n pGPS s pGPS % pGPS Pts/GP pGPS R
3 1 33.3% 0.61 0.20

read more about pGPS here

SCOUTS

CSS ISS F. Considerations Hockey Prospect Pronman McKeen’s Hockey News Button
3 (Europe) 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

From Corey Pronman:

Puljujarvi is one of the most exciting prospects Finland has produced. He’s a big, explosive winger, who was the second-highest scoring 17-year-old ever at the WJC, tied with Eric Lindros and a point behind Jaromir Jagr. He’s an unbelievable skater for a 6-foot-4 player, having a great top gear and a really fluid stride. He’s not that physically aggressive, but he closes on guys so well that he pressures and wins battles effectively. Puljujarvi shows a high-skill level, a plus shot and high-end hockey IQ. He is constantly around the puck and setting up his teammates. 

From Elite Prospects:

Puljujarvi is a big winger who combines size, skating and skill. A strong skater who can blast past the opposition in full speed. Able to use his size, reach and stickhandling skills to retain the puck in speed. A smart player at both ends of the ice, both on and off the puck. Great work ethic and positive attitude. More of a playmaker than a scorer and could improve his shooting skills, although already equipped with an accurate release. Doesn’t shy away from physical play, but could use his size more to his benefit.

OUR TAKE

Jesse Puljujarvi is almost undeniably deserving of the third overall ranking for this year’s draft. He’s an incredibly dynamic prospect: big and fast, with great hockey sense and a knack for big-moment performances. He put on a show at the World Juniors this winter, and was terrific in the playoffs for Karpat, putting up 4 goals and 5 assists in ten games.

In another year there might be more hype for Puljujarvi, but his countrymate Patrik Laine’s unreal conclusion to the season has relegated him (relatively) to the background.

There is no question that Laine has had a terrific year. His performance in the Liiga through the regular season already established a slight edge over Puljujarvi — nicely broken down by Jeremy Davis in April — but his in-fucking-credible performance in the playoffs and at the World Championships has made the first overall selection a more difficult decision than the second.

But Laine’s scorching finish to the season doesn’t make Puljujarvi any less an A+ prospect. His game really doesn’t have any obvious holes: he has high-end skill, a big frame, and above-average defensive awareness. His underwhelming 33% pGPS percentage is largely thanks to a lack of comparables. Two of his three comparables were in their draft+1 season when they scored at a similar rate, and his one true close comparable, Olli Jokinen, went on to a long and productive NHL career — if not an overly successful stop as a Jet.

The Finnish Liiga is one of the few European leagues that tracks time on ice and shot attempts. For what it’s worth, Puljujarvi was a dominant possession player in Finland’s top pro league, leading Karpat with a 57.5% shot attempts (corsi) percentage.

That Puljujarvi was driving play so effectively at just 17 years old speaks to the completeness of his game. He has size, offensive upside, and two-way acumen. He has the ability to be a big-bodied, two-way, offense-generating first-line winger at the NHL level: a Blake Wheeler-type player (lofty comparisons to be taken with a generous pinch of salt).

Jesse Puljujarvi has established himself as the clearcut number three prospect in this draft, and, barring a trade, should be a lock to be drafted by the Blue Jackets. The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy asked Puljujarvi if he was ready for the NHL in early June:

“Yeah, of course,” Puljujarvi said. “I’m ready. I’m a good skater and I’m ready.”

PREVIOUS PROSPECT PROFILES

Prospect Profile #4: Pierre-Luc Dubois Prospect Profile #5: Matthew Tkachuk
Prospect Profile #6: Clayton Keller Prospect Profile #7: Mikhail Sergachev
Prospect Profile #8: Jacob Chychrun Prospect Profile #9: Olli Juolevi

      • detox

        I really doubt he would ever fall that far.

        but for the sake of discussion, the media has come up with the consensus drafting order from everything that is out there, but I am guessing the 30 teams did not contribute their projected drafting orders to the media.

        sh!t happens all the time.

        looking forward to draft day. 😉

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    I can’t help but wonder if there’s a way for the Canucks to move up to 3rd overall in this draft. If the 3rd and Hartnell came to Van, what would the Canucks have to send back with the 5th? Sbisa? Am I dreaming to think that might work?

  • #12MorrisLukowich

    Well… if JetsNation approved it :

    Laine will be an in-f*(#ing-credible talent

    forming another in-f*(#ing-credible scoring line

    Undoubtably turning this team in-f*(#ing-credible

    Giving us in-f*(#ing-credible odds at making the playoffs

    Thanks Mack

  • Peachy

    If this kid falls to #5, we need to stage an intervention for Columbus & Edmonton. Preferably on the 25th.

    I’d love to trade up for him, though. But I’m not sure what assets we could send to Columbus along with #5 to grab the kid, unless we were willing to give up either Boeser or Jake. Even then, the reason that Columbus is open to trading down a couple steps, allegedly, is because they are deep enough at wing & need a C, so is one more RW really a trade chit they would be interested in? Cassels hasn’t done enough yet to be a tradable asset, and Bo is currently our best young C. Vey & Sutter are just more of the middle-6 C glut that Columbus already has. I guess we technically have a 2nd that could be theirs, but that could be in any of the next 3 drafts.

    The big problem with us trading with Columbus to land this pick is that our strengths, and weaknesses, are too closely aligned to have a balanced trade.

  • Dirty30

    Article in the G&M intimates that Columbus has a couple bad contracts they’d like to dump — and currently no takers.

    Is the jump from #5 to #3 worth taking a bad contract for? Maybe ship out Hansen and keep Burrows and bite the bullet on the cap for a couple seasons while some of the guys like Boeser and Demko get ready for the big time?

    If the Canucks got #3 and chose Pulijavari he would be cap friendly (as would Demko and Boeser) for a while — that off-sets picking up a crap contract to make the move up.

    I don’t know of any other teams that have cap space and a good pick that could make that trade with Columbus … and there seems to be a number of teams that have their own cap issues that may need to dump players.

    I’d rather take a bad contract to make a great pick than pick up an aging UFA and drag that contract along for 5 years.

    • detox

      I’m highly in favour of this idea. I wouldn’t trade 5th plus Boeser or any other such nonsense but definitely with the addition of a bad contract (even two) and a swap of 3rd for 5th then it could definitely be worth it.

      Bad contracts are a plague but it’s not like Hartnell (4.75m for 3 years) is entirely without value on your bottom 6 and in your dressing room. Adding Tyutin (4.5m for 2 years) is just a buyout and Clarkson (5.25m for 4 years) would need a hell of a lot more than just a change of pics for us to take that. But I’m hoping it’s being seriously considered, we won’t be a cap team until our young core is off their ELCs so I would ask Aquilini to open the chequebook and add value to the team by exploiting our cap space.

      Way, way more value than adding Lucic for 6m+…

      • Mattchu

        What beauty comments from both of you guys.

        I would love to see something like this as well, I just wonder… how out of the Canucks typical comfort zone are the higher ups willing to go? When was the last time the Canucks were able to take on a garbage contract and how willing are they to do it? If they are still thinking about competing this year or at least next year I think that option is out the door, as they will want to be a cap team with capable players.

        What if they decide to buy out Burrows/Higgins and that is also towards the cap?

        IF the Canucks were to get Hartnell I would not complain, even with his slightly bloated contract.

        • Neil B

          Last time Canucks were to take on cap space was in aug 2009 – saving SJ the cap space of $5M in order to fit Heatley into their cap situation.

          However, its not quite apples to apples as Erhoff was who the Canucks were really after (whom I’m sure at $3M was good value) and 1 “bad’ contract in Lukowich – who was just $1.8M, in exchange for 2 busts (Rahimi and White). Aqulini did sign off on it.

          I agree in this situation of taking a Clarkson contract, Aqulini probably won’t sign off on it – but more likely will be willing to work Hartnell in since he still seems to have 20 goals in him (of course, until the canucks get him…)

          That said, I don’t see Columbus doing the Canucks any favours and allowing Puljujarvi to slip away given that they have said the top 3 are in a tier of their own from the rest of the pack, and PR wise, it will not look good for the CBJ GM to not pick his own countryman in the “year of the finn” and all… unless they were getting something significant back.

      • Dirty30

        I agree that this is an interesting path to pursue. It’s one I personally prefer.

        I think the team is focused on trying to make the playoffs next year.

        Also if Hartnell needs to be protected in the expansion draft because of his NTC, there is a risk you could lose another player.

  • Mattchu

    columbus created any cap issue they have by trading for clarkson last year to save horton’s salary that they failed to insure.

    if columbus now trades down from #3 in return for unloading a bad contract, that means they basically traded down for cash.

    in which case the owner should be forced to sell the team.

  • #12MorrisLukowich

    Krutov14

    Neil B

    Dirty30

    …et..al..

    You need to get your heads examined…

    Columbus GM:

    Jarmo Kekalainen

    If he turns down a generational player who just happens to be a Finn… then Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardachian and Beyonce would all have to be intimately involved for at least 10 years…OR…find suitable replacements every 3 years…

    NGH

    • Neil B

      Well, firstly, I did say we couldn’t make a balanced trade offer on him. So, on a basic level, I do agree with you.

      That said, Jarmo 1. reportedly isn’t 100% sold on Pulijavari, and 2. is in Cap Hell, which is doubly bad for a team with Seth Jones needing a new bridge contract, and Boone Jenner not far behind. As Dirty 30 points out, he does need to dump a contract.

      Hartnell has a NMC, so we would have to protect him (or convince him to waive) in expansion; if he did waive, he’d probably be taken, as his cap hit in 2017-18 is higher than his actual salary, so he could be (slight) cap ballast to an expansion team. Clarkson has a modified NTC/NMC according to General Fanager; I’m not sure what the NHL’s ruling would be on exposing him. His 2016-17 and 2017-18 is a grotesque $7 mill; but after that it drops precipitously, and he could be valuable as cap ballast for an internal-cap team that is rebuilding.

      I love Hartnell; I think he would be a fantastic add. But he has actual value, so if we went after him, I think we’d have to add something else besides #5 overall & Torts. And again, unless Columbus is high on Cassels, I’m not sure we have the pieces to make it work. I’m pretty sure that #3+Clarkson for #5+Torts does work; I’m not sure that Big Frank signs off on it, though.