Edmonton Oilers trade ex-No. 4 pick Jesse Puljujarvi to Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes bolstered their forward depth Tuesday by picking up winger Jesse Puljujarvi from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for forward prospect Patrik Puistola.

It was believed that Puljujarvi's time with the Oilers, the team that drafted him with the fourth pick in 2016, was coming to an end. Puljujarvi will be a pending restricted free agent and has never quite achieved the heights expected after going fourth in the draft.

Coming into this season, he had scored more than 10 goals in three of the past four years. But those contributions were not always the most consistent.

Puljujarvi, who has five goals and 14 points in 58 games with the Oilers this season, gives the Hurricanes a potential top-nine forward. Finding more scoring help has been a priority for the Metropolitan Division leaders since around mid-January, when Max Pacioretty suffered his second Achilles injury within the past year. Pacioretty, who arrived in an offseason trade with the Vegas Golden Knights, gave the Hurricanes a proven top-six forward.

The Canes had to wait after acquiring Pacioretty because he underwent Achilles surgery in the summer. He returned in January and scored three goals in his first four games, only to get injured in his fifth game in a noncontact play in the final minute of a game against the Minnesota Wild.

The understanding is that the Hurricanes were among the teams that pushed for Timo Meier before he was traded to the New Jersey Devils. Carolina also showed interest in Patrick Kane, who looks like he is headed to the New York Rangers.

As for the Oilers? They receive a 22-year-old prospect in Puistola, who has 15 goals and 38 points with Jukurit in the Liiga, the highest division of Finnish hockey. But the fact they moved Puljuvari and his $3 million cap hit could be a sign that something larger might be coming before Friday's deadline.

The Oilers entered Tuesday third in the Pacific Division standings. They are four points behind the Golden Knights for first place but just two points ahead of their fellow division opponent Seattle Kraken for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Oilers have only won three times in their past 10 games, and that's with a team that averages a league-high 3.80 goals per game. Edmonton has a few defensive challenges, which is why it's 13th in goals allowed per game at 3.28 per contest.

Determining how the Oilers could fix their defensive issues remains the biggest question in the final days leading up to the Friday deadline. They came into the final week with no cap space, but moving on from Puljujarvi and his $3 million cap hit means they have more breathing room to potentially make a move ahead of the deadline.

TSN's Darren Dreger reported Tuesday that the Oilers were in contact with the Arizona Coyotes about defenseman Jakob Chychrun, one of the more coveted players going into the Friday deadline. Dreger also reported the Oilers reached out to the Columbus Blue Jackets about defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and the Nashville Predators about defenseman Mattias Ekholm.