Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi focused on finishing this season in Finland

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, left, tries to keep the puck away from Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Ivan Provorov. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi says he is focused on finishing the season with his team in Finland.

Puljujarvi, who is an unsigned restricted free agent, has been playing with his hometown club Oulun Karpat in the Finnish Elite League all season while he awaits a trade from the Oilers. His contract with Oulun includes a clause that allows him to return to the NHL before Dec. 1.

“I’ve been enjoying my time in Kärpät. My 100 per cent focus is on playing in Oulu until the end of the season, and being able to play a great season there. Intention is to go far in the playoffs,” Puljujärvi said in Finnish to reporter Sami Hoffrén of Ilta-Sanomat. Hoffren provided a translation of the quote to Sportsnet.

The 20-year-old made a trade request over the summer after three disappointing seasons in Edmonton where he never was able to carve out a role in the top six forward group.

Since returning to Finland, Puljujarvi has played really well, scoring 11 goals and 20 points in 18 league games. He also represented the Finnish national team at the Karjala Cup last week, where he had one goal in three games.

“He’s building up his confidence,” said Karpat general manager Harri Aho in an interview with Sportsnet’s Mark Spector at the end of October. “It’s coming step by step, and now he got nominated to the national team for the Karjala Cup. He’s on the right track. It’s looking good.”

During the Headlines segment on Nov. 2’s Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported trade interest for Puljujarvi was picking up.

“Right now, (Oilers GM) Ken Holland has a lot of different options,” Johnston said. “He’s talked extensively with teams going back to this summer, I believe the New York Rangers are a team that continues to show persistent interest in Jesse Puljujarvi.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.