The Vancouver Canucks should pursue Jesse Puljujarvi

Jesse Puljujarvi has had a tumultuous NHL career so far. Now it looks like he won’t be returning to the Edmonton Oilers. This could be the perfect time for the Vancouver Canucks to inquire about his availability.

It is no secret that the Vancouver Canucks need to score more in order to have a chance at the playoffs in 2019-20. Ideally, they would have three scoring lines and a strong energy line. In order to do this, the Canucks still need another scoring winger. Enter Jesse Puljujarvi.

Recent reports indicate that he will not be returning to the Edmonton Oilers this coming season. Instead, he has said that he will be staying in Finland or signing with a KHL team unless he is moved. This opens the door to a potential deal that could be struck. It also puts Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning in a position of strength.

The Canuck Way’s own Owen Gibbs recently wrote an article about the Canucks potentially unloading Loui Eriksson for Milan Lucic. Puljujarvi was identified as the sweetener in the deal. Since then, Lucic has been traded away to the Calgary Flames for another struggling forward in James Neal. So that deal is definitely off the table.

However, that should not deter the Canucks from continuing their pursuit for the Finnish winger. I recently sent out a tweet about this very subject, and 63 percent of Canucks fans were on board with the potential acquisition.

What will it take?

Now that Lucic’s big contract is replaced with Neal’s, I do not think the Oilers will be keen on taking on Eriksson’s equally troublesome contract. That means the Canucks will have to get creative with their proposal. In that same Tweet, I also asked what it would take for the deal to get done. Nikolay Goldobin’s name came up quite frequently, which is not a surprise in my opinion.

Goldobin’s struggles with the Canucks have been chronicled at length over the past two seasons. He has dazzled and frustrated us, sometimes in the same shift. The potential is still there for the 23-year-old forward, unfortunately for him to be effective, he has to be in the top-six. He does not have the defensive ability or size to be a checking line winger. With all the additions, Goldobin may not have a place on this team anymore.

The question is, will Goldobin be enough to entice the Oilers to answer in the affirmative to a trade? Personally, I think the Canucks will have to add more for that to happen. Unfortunately, a second-round draft pick may be needed. Puljujarvi is two years younger than Goldobin and he has more potential as well, despite the struggles.

Will Puljujarvi be a fit?

With the way the lineup is constructed, Puljujarvi could be a fit with Bo Horvat. At 6-foot-4, 200 lbs, he would help form a heavy line with JT Miller (6-foot-1, 218 lbs). He would also add to a second power play unit that has struggled with being a consistent threat. The size and skill he has would be a great compliment to the top-six. This would then bump Tanner Pearson down to the third line, thus creating a formidable top-nine.

It’s always exciting to acquire a young forward with a lot of potential. However, it still comes down to fit. He was not happy on a team with one of the best players in the NHL in Connor McDavid, so it may be difficult to make him happy here. Despite all that, I still believe it would be a good idea for the Canucks to inquire about him. It can only make them better, and more of a threat to make the playoffs, and isn’t that what we all want?