Jesse Puljujärvi has taken a minute to get adjusted in Raleigh. That is fair to say. As a close to the trade deadline pick-up, some Carolina Hurricanes fans were looking for Puljujärvi as a offensive shot in the arm needed for maximum speed hitting the playoffs. With what has gone down since the move that brought the Finn to Raleigh, many have turned to Puljujärvi to pick up the slack for an injured Andrei Svechnikov immediately if not sooner.
What we have seen, however, is a slow start and nothing much in the way of anything. But, with Puljujärvi there is real potential. Once adjusted, it is very likely that the Carolina Hurricanes have picked up a solid to very solid winger once he makes the full move. After all, his dog just recently made it south of the border, so his cape cannot be far behind.
Off the top, coming from a Canadian team, especially a Canadian team like Edmonton, is not going to be easy. Fan bases are different, with very different expectations and pressures. Canadians pine for and expect a Stanley Cup every season from their team. If you are at home eating plain crackers when the play-offs start, what good are you to a Canadian hockey fan?
Here in Carolina, Caniacs are just getting expectations reformed after years of lackluster finishes. Making the playoffs five years in a row is GREAT, but the sting of the early 2Ks is still fresh in the collective minds of Hurricanes fans. Plus Canes fan love to see potential where other fanbases might not.
As a team, Carolina and Edmonton could not be any more different in styles. Edmonton has built their team around one super-star and only play the other guys because Conner McDavid hasn’t learned how to play goalie AND score at the same time…yet. How frustrating it must be to go out every night just to play back up to McJesus knowing that you might get a shot a night and one potential grade A shot every couple nights? Proof is in the puddling. Conner McDavid has 316 shots on the year. That is an average 4.32 shots a night. 67 shots fewer is 2nd placed Zach Hyman at 249 or on average 3.5 shots nightly. With 109, which averages out to 1.6 shots a night, Puljujärvi would be tied for 7th on his old Oilers team.
On the other hand, the Hurricanes are built as a team, with the mentality that on any given night, someone has the potential to tie their cape on and play Superman. Learning that you do not have to play second fiddle, and can loosen your grip on the stick is an adjustment. Go no further than the shooting stats to show. Martin Necas leads the Canes with 216 shots, or an average of 3 shots a night. Second place Brent Burns, is just 1 shot behind Necas with 215. Jesse Puljujärv’s 109 shots puts him 12th on the Canes roster. While that is lower than his 7th back in Edmonton, it is worth noting Carolina has 14 players over 100 shots for the year. Edmonton has just 9 and it drops dramatically after the century mark.
Also, jumping into Jesse Puljujärvi’s stats you will see that even in Edmonton, he got off to a sluggish start this season. For the 23 games of October and November, Puljujärvi had just 6 points. One goal in October and 5 assists in November. From November to February he has posted at least a point in every month. February was actually his best month of the season thus with 4 points before he sat from February 27th to March 11th. After becoming a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, it has been zeros across the board. Was this hiccup caused by the games he missed with time off before his trade and subsequent permit issues? You have to wonder.
Puljujärvi had 2 assists in the five games leading up to that break. His scoring roll had potential to continue had it not been interrupted.
Besides the break that broke up his season, and the fact that Puljujärvi is coming to a new system completely different from his norm, Hurricanes fans have to factor in just what Jesse Puljujärvi brings to the Carolina Hurricanes
Since breaking into the league Jesse Puljujärvi has just two seasons (a 28 game 1 goal season in 2016-27 and a 46 games 2018-19 season with 5 goals) under ten goals for the year. His highest goal total comes from the 2020-21 season with Edmonton when he scored 15. Staying in Edmonton might or might not have worked out, but he did score 5 goals in 58 games scored north of the boarder before heading south. It is very likely he would produce as many goals as his career average which is 8.
And he might still hit his average with the Carolina Hurricanes. There is time and potential for him to light the lamp three more times to reach the average of 8. It is a little less likely that Puljujärvi will somehow hit a goal streak to score 11 for a personal best, BUT given the situation, I think it is safe to say Jesse Puljujärvi would take an average season on the stats sheet to get away from a team.
Especially from a team that he was just a back up on.
Moving takes time. Getting settled takes even longer. Completing a mindset shift like he undertaking will take longer still. When you factor in a gap in play, and moving from a super-star driven team, to a whole unit driven team it is easy to see why the stat sheet is not looking the same for Jesse Puljujärvi. As fans, we need to factor in that Puljujärvi was quite literally a warm body in Edmonton and as a Carolina Hurricane he is going to a potential factor every night.