After Sunday’s 5 p.m. Eastern Time deadline, it appears neither Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi nor Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka have signed a contract to play in the NHL this season.
Dec. 1 marks the final day the league’s restricted free agents may sign a contract before they are deemed ineligible to play each year. According to TSN’s Chris Johnston, Puljujarvi is expected to finish the season with Finnish club Oulun Karpat. Honka — who is also playing in Finland — may have a few more options. The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro reported that Honka and his agent could choose to change leagues before this season ends.
This deadline has come into play a few times in recent years as the league’s young players seek more money on their second professional contracts. This year, Puljujarvi and Honka remained the most notable unsigned players. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported on Sunday that neither player is interested in signing with the teams that hold their rights.
Puljujarvi struggled in his first three NHL seasons (37 points in first 139 games) and made it publicly known this summer that he wants to move on from Edmonton to another NHL team. The 21-year-old Swede also said this summer he wants to play on the top two lines with his next team.
Reporters stressed after Sunday’s signing deadline that it is still possible for either player’s rights to be traded this season — they just can’t sign and play until 2020-21.
In 87 career NHL games, the 21-year-old Finn averaged 13:57 minutes of ice time and has scored 13 points.