Does Jesse Puljujarvi Suck? He’s Starting To Think So
Jesse Puljujarvi has been a polarizing player in the NHL community for a few years now. There are two foods of thought here. The analytics people say Puljujarvi is a great player. My eyeballs and any reasonable person that watches him pass or shoot the puck think he’s terrible. Alas, the great Puljujarvi divide.
Puljujarvi, 24, has struggled with the Oilers in 2022. The Swedish born player has just one goal in 27 games including a -12 +/- number. That’s while playing certain stretches with the best player in the world Connor McDavid. He’s not a good hockey player and everyone needs to accept this.
Puljujarvi has totally lost confidence to the point where he now thinks he’s terrible. It’s tough scenes right now for a player that was taken ahead of Matthew Tkachuk in the 2016 NHL Draft.
“Twenty games in, and I have one goal. It’s sad,” Puljujarvi said.
“I’ve been thinking a lot how to do things differently. Right now, I just don’t have the answer.”
“Of course I’d like to be a productive top-line player,” Puljujarvi said. “But right now, it looks like I can’t do that in NHL. Maybe some other league.”
“It takes a lot to play with a superstar like him,” Puljujarvi said. “You have to win battles and make plays at the same time. It’s a high-quality game, and it takes a good player. You have to be a really good player to play with him.
“It’s hard to tell why I’m not scoring,” he continued. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I scored earlier, and I think now I’m older, more experienced, and a better player. Yet I’m not scoring.
“If you play with Connor, you have to score. Maybe I just don’t have it.”
Again, the analytics are going to side with Puljujarvi because of his forechecking and possession stats. His 2.37 expected goals against per 60 minutes at five-on-five ranks second on the team behind Ryan McLeod, per Natural Stat Trick. Does it mean anything when the puck never goes in the net when he’s on the ice? I’d argue no. I’m a believer in the hockey analytics but sure as hell not when it comes to this. Does a stat mean anything when it’s trying to suggest both McLeod and Puljuarvi are better players than McDavid? Again, I’d argue no.
If Puljujarvi was ever going to figure it out, it’s hard to have confidence that day is coming after he’s lost faith in himself.