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Former Oilers first-rounder Jesse Puljujarvi officially ineligible to play in NHL this season

Jesse Puljujarvi did not sign a registered contract with an NHL team before the signing deadline on Dec. 1. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

The first day of December has become a fun one for hockey fans to circle on their calendars every year.

Unofficially dubbed ‘William Nylander Day’ by some after the drama surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs forward came to an epic last-minute conclusion in 2018, the 2019 edition of the NHL’s deadline for signing restricted free agents wasn’t nearly as eventful.

As 5 p.m. ET passed without Jesse Puljujarvi inking a deal, the fourth-overall pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the 2016 draft officially became ineligible to play in the NHL during the 2019-20 season, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

Julius Honka, the first-round selection of the Dallas Stars in the 2014 draft, also didn’t get traded or sign an NHL contract on Sunday, according to Matthew DeFranks of Dallas Morning News.

Both are currently playing in Finland’s SM-liiga — Puljujarvi with Karpat and Honka with JyP Jyvaskyla. Per Johnston, Puljujarvi is expected to finish the season in Finland while Honka “will re-evaluate his options for the rest of the year in the coming days.”

Puljujarvi has 11 goals and 24 points in 25 regular season games this season while Honka has found the back of the net three times and collected six points in 15 contests.

Playing for Finland at the 2016 World Juniors, Puljujarvi scored five goals and recorded 17 points on his way to being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Since then, he simply hasn’t been able to live up to the hype. However, his injury troubles over the past few years cannot be ignored.

The 21-year-old has scored 17 goals and collected 37 points in 139 NHL games in his career.

Honka — a regular healthy scratch for the Stars last season — has two goals and 13 points in 87 NHL contests.

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