Jesse Puljujärvi (Markku Ulander/AFP/Getty Images)
Jesse Puljujarvi is expected to be the third-overall pick in the draft, but the Finnish winger might not be ready to suit up for his new team until training camp after undergoing minor knee surgery.
Jesse Puljujarvi is expected to be the third-overall pick in the upcoming draft, behind Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, but the 18-year-old winger may have to wait before actually hitting the ice with his new club.
The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reported Saturday that Puljujarvi was forced to go under the knife following the U18 World Championship to repair a knee injury, and the “minor knee surgery” will keep Puljujarvi from taking part in development camps and might not see him back on the ice until the actual training camp gets underway.
The surgery Puljujarvi underwent was the reason he was forced out of participating in any of the combine drills in early June, but he said at the time that he was healing well following the surgery.
"I don't like [that I can't participate]," Puljujarvi said, via NHL.com. "But it's good. It’s good. It's feeling better and better.”
It’s expected that should the Blue Jackets keep the third-overall selection, Puljujarvi will be Columbus’ selection. At 6-foot-4, 203 pounds, his size makes him more than ready for the physical side of the NHL and he’s proven that he can more than keep up with pro competition. He spent the past season playing for Karpat in Finland’s Liiga, the top men’s league, and scored 13 goals and 28 points in 50 games.
And even though Puljujarvi is projected to be drafted a spot behind Laine, his international teammate, it was Puljujarvi who led the Finns in scoring during the 2016 World Junior Championship. In seven games, he scored five goals and 17 points as Finland captured World Junior gold. Puljujarvi had two points, both assists, in the gold medal game against Russia. Puljujarvi was named tournament MVP and best forward.