Jesse Puljujarvi is heading back to Finland for next year. He has signed a one-year deal with Karpat of the Finnish Elite League. According to the press release, there is an out clause for the NHL, but who knows when the next NHL regular season will be. They're hoping for December.
Pulju had 53 points in 56 games for Karpat this year, leading the first-place team in scoring. By all accounts, he's really found his game and I fully expect him to be back in the NHL soon. Maybe it's not the 2020-21 season, but hopefully the year after.
Before the play-ins started, I talked about how to treat young players for playoff pools and daily leagues. The premise was that players had what amounted to a full off-season between the regular season's pause and the start of playoffs. Not only that, but we'd only be about a month away from training camps opening up in a normal year, at which point we'd consider guys like Makar/Brothers Hughes/Kakko second-year players, Elias Pettersson and Anthony Cirelli as third-year players, and so on. I treated these playoffs as if they were the start of the 2020-21 campaign.
To that end, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Kirby Dach have been incredibly impressive, to my eyes. I point out those two because Kotkaniemi struggled in his second year in the NHL, eventually leading to a demotion to the AHL, while Dach was seeing his ice time decline as we approached the pause. Well, heading into Wednesday's action, Kotkaniemi had scored two of Montreal's four goals while leading all playoff players (like, the entire league) in expected goal share at 5-on-5. On Dach's side, he averaged nearly 19 minutes a game in Chicago's first two contests, skating on the top PP unit, sometimes skating with