Jesse Puljujarvi was with the Edmonton Oilers on opening night last season. However, the Finnish player did not last the whole season in the NHL. Instead, he appeared in 28 games for Edmonton, tallied just one goal, and had only seven assists while playing in a forward position where scoring expectations are higher. Accordingly, the Oilers had to send the player, who was just 18 years old at the time, down to Bakersfield in the American Hockey League. He did well there, posting 28 points in 39 games, and is back training with the Oilers now. Puljujarvi spoke recently with the media in an interview published to Oilers TV.

English language skills are improving

Puljujarvi's English isn't the best, however, the area is somewhere that he improving. He mentioned that his "English is better" when asked about differences between this year and last year. It's interesting that he felt that that was relevant enough to highlight and you have to wonder how much his improved English will affect his learning curve this upcoming season. He was able to field several questions in English during the interview.

Over the offseason Puljujarvi said that he was in Finland, his home country. He said that his focus for training was "speed and power" and then made a comment that sounded like "skill in ice" was a focus too. The latter comment seems to encompass a lot in ice hockey so it's not too clear what he meant there.

When asked about what he learned during his time in Bakersfield, Puljujarvi seemed to reference a difference in speeds between the two leagues. "I know here's fast," he said, seeming to refer to playing in Edmonton at the NHL level. "Fast every night and have to be ready," he said in English that was still a little choppy.

Puljujarvi asked about Jussi Jokinen

One interesting change with the Edmonton Oilers heading into the 2017/18 season, besides the fact that they are actually considered to be among the Stanley Cup favorites, is that they acquired Jussi Jokinen. Jokinen is also a Finnish player and one that has been in the NHL since the 2005/06 season.

It may help Puljujarvi to have Jokinen as a part of the Oilers. One reporter asked Puljujarvi how much he knew Jokinen and the 19-year old answered that he knew the veteran a "little bit," indicating that they have met a "couple times." Puljujarvi concluded the interview by making a positive comment about Jokinen being with the Edmonton Oilers. Both players will be looking to have a strong NHL preseason, one that starts later this month.