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Jesse Puljujärvi: still looking for a new club
Unfortunately, not all players drafted in the first round of the National Hockey League get the chance to develop and reach their full potential.

Being drafted very high up is just a number, while the work still to be done to establish oneself in the NHL as a good player is still very great.

This explains why, every year, former top draft picks find themselves on life support.

The team that drafted them has lost hope in them, and other NHL teams have little interest in giving these players another chance.

This is currently the case for Finnish forward Jesse Puljujärvi, a former first-round pick (4th overall) of the Edmonton Oilers in 2016 who is still looking for a new contract.

At the time, Puljujärvi was a highly coveted prospect who, according to some experts, was the second-best player in the 2016 draft after Auston Matthews.

His big frame (6 feet 4 inches/201 pounds) and offensive talent looked set for a very successful NHL career, especially with the Oilers potentially alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Unfortunately for the Finn, things never quite went according to plan.

He was never able to blossom and develop further to reach his potential, being limited to just 14 goals and 36 points in his best NHL season in 2021-2022.

After six seasons, the Oilers gave up on Puljujärvi and decided to trade him to the Carolina Hurricanes, where the Finn also broke nothing, in addition to injuring his hips.

In short, Puljujärvi, 25, is now a free agent, and therefore free to any team that wants to take a chance on him.

However, his recent poor season (16 points in 75 games), as well as his double hip operation this summer, are taking their toll on the Finn.

He’s never been able to blossom alongside the two best players in the world in McDavid and Draisaitl, so what could really make him blossom?

So far, no team has seemed interested in offering Puljujärvi another chance, which could very well push the Finn to sign a professional trial rather than a contract around the start of training camp.

Worse still, the former Oilers star could even turn to Europe if he doesn’t receive any NHL offers.

In short, it’s a real shame to see such a promising career on the brink of collapse at just 25 years of age.

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