One of the biggest issues new Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has to solve is what to do with Jesse Puljujarvi.
The talented right-winger is currently unsigned and was rumoured to have inked a deal in the KHL this past week before his agent refuted the report, staying that Puljujarvi's priority is to play in the NHL.
Whether that's with the Oilers or somewhere else remains to be seen.
Coming off an injury-plagued campaign where he only recorded 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 46 games, the 21-year-old Finn is currently rehabbing a hip injury back in Edmonton that should have him healthy to compete for training camp.
Since he was drafted 4th overall in 2016, questions have arisen about if the Oilers made the right decision by rushing him into their lineup instead of letting him spend a season in Europe and then the AHL.
When he has played, it's been largely in a bottom-six role with limited minutes, making it tough for his offensive skills to flourish.
Often the subject of demotions and recalls between Bakersfield and Edmonton, the organization will no longer be able to send him to the farm without him passing through waivers.
After skating for the first time since surgery, Puljujarvi spoke with Finnish publication, Iltalehti, to discuss his future with the Oilers, where he sees himself fitting into the NHL and how his recovery is going.
Asked specifically about his future in Edmonton, Puljujarvi thinks a change of scenery might be beneficial.
**The following quotes have been translated by Google Translate***
"Probably I will have a jersey change . The following address is not yet available. There may be some time for these transfers."
"Everything has gone really well, I'm well on track in terms of rehabilitation and training There is still plenty of time to start the season . By the beginning of training camp I am in full condition yes."
"So far, I kuntouttanut myself and practiced programs provided by Oilers. I have received them properly for a good rehabilitation programs. At the end of the summer I practice in the Samppa Jaakola group in Oulu with other boys . I enjoy Oulu very well. Family and friends are there. It's nice to be in Oulu."
Is the writing on the wall for Puljujarvi in Edmonton? Based on that first quote, it sounds like he's well aware that his name has been thrown around in trade rumours.
The Oilers need help on the wings, and based on Puljujarvi's age, trading him while his value is low might not be the best look for Holland, so don't be surprised if he stays in Edmonton in hopes of finding his game, unless the Oilers receive an offer they can't refuse.