When we talk about players for the future, one name that comes to mind is pending restricted free agent, Jesse Puljujarvi. There are plenty of rumors surrounding him right now, with some stating he will never play another game in an Oilers jersey again. The 24 year old Finnish forward has 259 games of NHL experience with 98 points to show for it. The 2021-22 season was a career year for the Bison King, who had 14 goals and added 22 assists for 36 points through 65 games. During the Oilers playoff run, Puljujarvi had 3 points in 16 games, which to some Oilers fans wasn't even close to acceptable.
The rumors surrounding Puljujarvi have intensified over the last couple of days. The Blackhawks have been listed as a "good fit" for him as he's young, has room to grow, and would likely flourish in a bigger role that he isn't going to get in Edmonton. If he starts out as a middle six forward and works his way up the lineup, the possibilities for him are endless.
If the Blackhawks have to trade for his rights, I see a world where they do a one for one swap sending Dylan Strome to Edmonton to play alongside his longtime friend and teammate Connor McDavid. Puljujarvi has often been frowned upon for his lack of finishing ability, which is very apparent yes, but the pressure from Oilers fans has simply been too much. Puljujarvi's work away from the puck is really strong, and he has a very good 200 foot game. All of that combined makes for an elite level NHL player, and the goals will come.
An ideal contract for Puljujarvi would be a 2-3 year deal in the $1.5-2 million dollar range. If he breaks out and becomes as good as he has the potential to be, he could become a long term Blackhawk that stays apart of the rebuild, and becomes a major part of the core when the team is finally ready to make a deep run again.