Philadelphia Flyers

Would trading Nolan Patrick for Jesse Puljujarvi make sense?

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The Philadelphia Flyers suffer from a version of option paralysis. In this version, options are more limited than ever. Before the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, the Flyers must optimize their protection lists to take minimal damage. At the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Philadelphia needs to weigh the option of trading a package of assets for a top-pair defenseman or selecting a top prospect forward in the first round. They also need to figure out what they want with Nolan Patrick, whether that means giving him the option for trade or another prove-it contract.

Chuck Fletcher is under pressure to alleviate cap space through the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. Other teams know that, but only the Seattle Kraken matter. If Ron Francis decides to select Robert Hagg or Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Fletcher must include a large contract in a deal. Without that $7mil-$8.25mil open, the Flyers no longer have a chance to regroup this offseason.

Gaining leverage would be beneficial for Philadelphia. They don’t have pull in most negotiations. Patrick has clear potential but is a hard sell due to his inconsistencies.

Trading Patrick means Fletcher should find other players who’ve expressed their interest in a trade. Patrick likely wants a change of scenery back to his roots in Canada.

The Flyers have a chance to strike a deal with the Edmonton Oilers.

Puljujarvi Requests A Trade

Two years ago, Jesse Puljujarvi wanted a trade from the Edmonton Oilers. Similar to Nolan Patrick, he was at the crossroads with his franchise. Both players are former top-five overall picks of their respective draft classes. Puljujarvi hasn’t met the ceiling Patrick has set. One plays on the top line with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, while the other hasn’t been a top-line forward.

Sending Patrick to the Oilers helps with position depth following the failure of the Kyle Turris project. Edmonton could pay just a little over $1mil for Patrick and right the ship. Every trade is a gamble, but Patrick fixes a lack of center depth with the versatility to play right-wing. With a complete offseason, Patrick could be a legitimate top-six forward at either position.

Neither teams sacrifice size. Puljujarvi is only two inches taller, but Patrick has him by two pounds. Numerically, physically, and financially, this is an even agreement between two franchises.

How much do these players want a trade? Have these rash decisions from Puljujarvi and Patrick simmered down?

Without question, Puljujarvi is attractive due to recency bias, but Patrick is more lethal when he finds his form.

A Right Hand Cannon

Two weeks ago, Jim Matheson reported the Edmonton Oilers might want a right-handed center. Six centers on the current Oilers lineup are left-handed. Changing the point of perspective for opposing goaltenders means more goals. Imagine more goals in Edmonton, including consistent contributions from Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Nolan Patrick fits as a right-handed center.

Not present on the top-line with the Philadelphia Flyers, Patrick accounted for thirteen goals in each of his first two seasons under Dave Hakstol. How much does Ken Holland want a right-handed shooting center? Patrick is a low-risk, high-reward trade target. Fletcher won’t let go without making a deal.

Adding Patrick makes him a middle-six center, topping out on the second line. Making a trade for Jesse Puljujarvi allows the Oilers to flex how deep they are on the right side. Patrick could be a top-six center or right-wing.

If you’re wondering where Puljujarvi would land on the 2020-2021 Flyers lineup, he would be a bottom-six right wing. He plays on the top line with two players who control the majority of the scoring in Edmonton.

Patrick scored nine points in 2020-2021 on a line with a recovering Oskar Lindblom and Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Put Patrick on a line with Draisaitl and McDavid in 2020-2021, and I bet he doesn’t flop as the stats show.

Would trading Nolan Patrick for Jesse Puljujarvi trade make sense?

Currently, there are more questions than answers. Nolan Patrick missed a year of hockey due to migraines and didn’t look swell in his return. Jesse Puljujarvi spent time with Karpat before returning to the NHL, not missing any competitive hockey. There are a few metrics to take a peek at according to career averages per an 82-game-season.

Between the two, Patrick is the better overall playmaker. If the Edmonton Oilers dare to put him on the top line with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, the explosive offense will produce even more. Patrick averages more assists and total points than Puljujarvi in an 82-game-season.

Puljujarvi is only marginally better than Patrick via “thru-percentage” (the metric to measure how many shots reach the goaltender; 58.3% > 56.9%) and is more physical.

Defensively, Patrick measures greater than Puljujarvi. Compare puck control metrics that show more inconsistencies from Puljujarvi. On average, Patrick will force more takeaways and give the puck away less often. There’s a bonus that Patrick provides, too. He’s well-versed in the faceoff circle, which extends possessions for Draisaitl and McDavid.

As the NHL ventures back to normal circumstances, this trade appeals to the Oilers. Ken Holland may miss a bargain if he cannot get past recency bias.

Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

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Eric is a University of Delaware graduate with a degree in English. While in school, he began writing for different publications such as The Highlight Network, Amps and Greenscreens, and he did color commentary for the University of Delaware Men's and Women's lacrosse teams throughout the 2013 season as an alumni. Prior to being featured with Philly Sports Network, he began a pro-wrestling podcast with a childhood friend called the Totally Over Podcast. As an avid sports die-hard for all things Philadelphia, Eric is also a proud supporter of West Virginia University.

20 comments

  • Top_Right_Corner says:

    Sooooo, you think a player who requested a trade 2 years ago, who had lots of chemistry with McDavid and after he was put on McDavids line scored at a 30 goal pace and finally felt comfortable in the NHL still wants to get traded?

    You also think Holland will trade their best RW who clicked with McDavid for a player with potential long term health issues to play 3rd line center?? That’s right, you fail to realize that Draisaitl is the 2C, so the Oilers don’t need a top 6 center.

    Just so you understand, Patrick has no market value and the most he would get in return is a 3rd round pick or another bust draft pick.

    Oilers fans have been through this with Pulujarvi, thinking he would have value, but he didn’t and that is why he went to Europe because Holland would not trade him for so little. The best offer was a 3rd round pick from Carolina who wanted to reunite him with Aho. PHI had 2 choices, keep him and hope he turns things around or trade him for minimal return.

  • Dallas Gagnon says:

    Yeah no thanks we will keep JP. Would trade a first rd pick tops

  • I’d love this deal as well. Getting Voracek away from Philly will improve the Flyers, so Edmonton can have him, as for Patrick, I think he wants to play for a Canadian team.

  • I do that deal with Vancouver in a heartbeat. I actually like both teams, so I’d like to see them both do well.

  • Edmund Chuck says:

    Hard pass. Edmonton doesn’t need another centre, they have tons, unlike skilled wingers which they need so badly that they have two of the best centres playing on the same line (although the team is arguably better when they don’t).

  • Edmund Chuck says:

    I’m with most of the others here… This is a nonsense deal for Edmonton, trading a needed player in a low-depth position to get yet another 3C. Edmonton doesn’t have a lack of depth at centre – they have a lack of skill on the wing, which is why their two best centres, McDavid and Draisaitl, often play on a line (although the team is arguably better when they don’t).

    Hard pass.

  • OilerZ says:

    Yes he did. But Patrick for Jesse is a fool’s bet. Jesse has tons of upside and will be a factor in Edmonton’s top 6. Keep dreaming philly boy. Holland wouldn’t take a bottom six for a top 6 ever. Jesse is cheaper and a far superior player.

  • Mr John Deere says:

    Of course you’re kidding. Jesse is a special! Stick with him? He’ll become a hard guy to play against. Everything Ben said is true. Plus real oiler fans love him!

  • George says:

    I’ve never read a more ridiculous article about a trade ever. Trade a 26 point guy coming into his own for a 5 point player? Sheer utter eastern media ignorance. Puljaarvi is going no where. No way would the Oilers ever make that trade. Nolan Parrick? This article is laughable and the writer should be embarrassed. Jesse loves it now in Edmonton.

  • Kelly says:

    It seems to me that a trade with Vancouver makes more sense. Jake Virtanen is a high pick as well who has not met his expectations but shown flashes of what he could be. He needs a new start just as Patrick does. Vancouver needs a third line centre. JV has speed to burn and physicality. These players are equivalent in many ways. Virtanen has one year left on his contract so if he does not work out is not a high risk. Patrick needs a contract and will likely get a show me contract in Vancouver. Both need a new start. I could see a bigger package as well such as Patrick and a second for JV and Schmidt, which would solve another need for the flyers.

  • Albert Brule says:

    A one for one deal wouldn’t make sense for Edmonton. A multiple player deal would. If Philly is in pursuit of Seth Jones, acquire his brother Caleb from Edmonton.
    A blockbuster like Koskinen, Jones, Puljujarvi for voracek and Patrick would be more like it.
    Philly would be out of an expensive contract for a capable partner for hart.. and the cap flexibility gained will allow for a Seth Jones free agent signing.

  • Diesel says:

    Why would the Flyers trade him now? As far as I know Patrick hasn’t even officially ask for a trade!!! This is the year you find out if he can live up to his potential and if not then give him away at that point.

  • Ryan L says:

    Trading Nolan Patrick for a road cone makes sense

  • Ben says:

    Just to help. Puljarvii doesn’t want a trade. He requested one a couple years ago because he had troubles with the Oilers coach and the GM was brutal. Now the Oilers have Tippett and Holland. Pool Party(as Oiler fans call him) had a great season and has said countless times how happy he is with the team now that it is under new management.

    If you watch him play he is on the verge of being great. His shots are off just by a little, his hits are just not landing to full effect and his positioning is just wrong by a little. All normal for a guy who is basically a rookie playing top line. He is getting better and has the skill set and determination to be a legitimate force on the Oilers top line.

    Basically what I am saying is that the Oilers know they have their top line RW. They are not trading him for anything less than another top line winger. Plus he is cheap and Holland covets his cap space.

    Oilers want a bottom 6 forward and knowing Holland, a centre works best. The Oilers just had their scouting meeting and they are really excited about a couple of their young forwards. Namely McLeod, Holloway and Lavoie. All three are strong two way players and all are centers. So they really don’t need a long term player for their third line center.

    Holland has all but said he wants a “grey beard” for that role. Like Montreal did with Perry and Staal this year. They aren’t looking for a player to sign for longer than a year. McLeod played second line center in the playoffs. They are likely to play him as 3c regardless of who they trade for. He is getting really good at faceoffs which fits the Oilers model as they like to play two centers and a more cycling position style rather than the zone play that is more traditional in that role.

    They like Patrick but if they do a deal for him, expect it to be one of their surplus of great defenders. Not trading their third best forward (arguably he out played Nuge and Yamamoto this year) for a depth player.

    • Mr John Deere says:

      Ben is an actual factual. The lede should have been: “Patrick ? Who needs the migraine!”

  • Thinkaboutit says:

    You got to be kidding. Jesse is a beast. He is is going to be great. Ate you trying to convince Holland? No way this deal benefits Edmonton.

  • Chrcall says:

    Why not Rasmus Ristolainin

  • Hectare says:

    Not a keen supporter of a trade as proposed. Feel we have to allow PULJUJARVI another Oilers season to prove his growing worth.

    • OilerZ says:

      Jesse will be a regulartop six player. Like any young guy he hashis growing pains butthis year he showed what he can do. Using his big frame, long reach, great shot. He still needs to clean some of his game up but now he looks like the top 5 draft pedigree he was given. Took awhile for maturity to catch up and learning english made a MASSIVE difference.

  • Albertabeef says:

    A bit of a joke article? Pool party is going no where. His trade request was under a totally different regime. New coach, new GM.

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