Jesse Puljujarvi back, where he belongs in the second row of Edmonton Oilers



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Game Day 24, Oilers vs Stars

It's a bold statement to make Jesse Puljujarvi really belong to one of the two main Edmonton Oilers lines, but that's my opinion.

It is also the direction that Edmonton Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock accompanied today for the Edmonton game against Dallas Stars.

In his own daring statement on Saturday, after Puljujarvi was summoned to the Oilers after only four games in the American Hockey League, Hitchcock analyzed a group of media reporters who doubted much about Puljujarvi and told them: This is the kind of player who, if we hope to win in this conference, in this division, we need players like him. You can not play this championship, especially in this conference, by backing up. You have to stay on the hunt. And I want him to continue hunting in two ways, not just one way, I want him to go hunting in both ways, and if he does, his reach, his size, he has a great stick and we can really give a punch reward and create turnovers and hopefully offend but will not rely on goals and assists. I think he can actually play in a line that can turn into momentum and I want to be responsible for it. "

Hitchcock talked about playing Puljujarvi on his first or second line in about a month, but he has already pulled the trigger to move it, based on those lines of training today reported by TSN's Ryan Rishaug:

Draisaitl McDavid Chiasson

Caggiula RNH Puljujarvi

Lucic Brodziak Kassian

Khaira Spooner P Russell

Klefbom Larson

Nurse russell

Gravel Wideman

Koskinen

I like this line-up, although I'd rather see Ty Rattie play with Drake Caggiula or Patrick Rusell (although Russell can kill penalties, which is not a small thing on this team).

I know Caggiula is the team's fourth with seven goals, but he leaked goal chances against year-round and his effort was low against Los Angeles.

As for Puljujarvi, I will argue that on merit – on the path he has played in Edmonton this year – he deserves a place in the second row. Yes, the child can certainly work more defensively, but he is positionally responsible. He can also make plays on the attack. What he always lacked, it seems to me, is some confidence. He will get to the right point, but he is not fully committed to knocking down the guy or skating on the other guy, as it is his right to do so. He needs more self-confidence to make plays. Hitchcock also made reference to this issue, so I hope to see improvements now that a correct diagnosis has been made.

I'm also optimistic in The Identity Line. They are finally creating real chances of Grade A and are required to score if they continue this way. But for now, I'm happy to see these three players, Milan Lucic, Kyle Brodziak and Zack Kassian, not being regularly scoring and keeping the puck at the end of the opposition. I would prefer that they be deployed as a fourth line, but it is good to see them contributing.

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