Nugent-Hopkins Non-Starter

Jonathan Willis
February 26 2014 08:39AM

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I don’t really believe in untouchable players. If the right deal comes along, any player is moveable.

But it has to be the right deal, and I don’t think there’s one out there involving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

The Speculation

Craig MacTavish2

On Monday, Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer asked guest Jim Matheson if he’d be open to a trade that would send one of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Taylor Hall, plus Jeff Petry, plus the Oilers’ 2014 first round draft pick, to Nashville in exchange for Shea Weber.

Our own Robin Brownlee wrote his take here, saying he’d make that deal but preferably with Hall rather than Nugent-Hopkins. Matheson provided his own write-up a day later, one with a little more ambiguity, but seemed to indicate that he’d be willing to consider that deal too.

In Craig MacTavish’s shoes, I wouldn’t make that deal with Nugent-Hopkins. For that matter, I wouldn’t make any deal that involved sending Nugent-Hopkins away for a top defenceman.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

93-RNH-10

Trades should address areas of weakness from areas of strength. Failing that, they should address hard-to-fix areas of weakness from easier-to-fix areas of weakness.

That isn’t what’s being discussed in the speculation above. The proposed deal involves blowing a massive hole in the Oilers’ centre ice depth chart in exchange for patching the massive hole in their defensive depth chart. That isn’t progress; that’s trading one problem for another.

Actually, it’s even worse than that. At least on defence, the organization has some internal candidates. Darnell Nurse is a blue chip prospect. Martin Marincin’s been exceptional as a rookie. Oscar Klefbom and Martin Gernat and Dillon Simpson are all waiting in the wings. These guys are all some distance away and none may ever be the equal of Weber, but there’s room for growth here.

At centre? Who can replace Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Sam Gagner’s not the answer, and with all due respect to Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander, neither of them is ever likely to even approximate what Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be at the peak of his career. There’s nobody else in the system, and if that wasn’t enough the proposed deal would send away Edmonton’s 2014 first round pick, which would be the team’s only realistic place to find a replacement for Nugent-Hopkins. Maybe fans here are resigned to drafting Connor McDavid next year, but it’s not going to get any easier for the Oilers to put distance between themselves and the bottom of the league if they stay there another season.

Nugent-Hopkins is scoring at a 60-point pace in a power-vs.-power role at the age of 20; he’s already a first line pivot and he’s probably three-to-five years away from hitting his peak level of performance. The player he’s going to become is extremely difficult to find; the No. 1 centre tree is as non-existent as the No. 1 defenceman tree.

Deals!

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There is no Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade that makes sense for the Oilers that doesn’t include a first line centre coming back the other way.

Jordan Eberle or Nail Yakupov can be moved in the right deal because the Oilers have both of them. In a perfect world, they’re both kept, but it isn’t insanity to try and patch holes elsewhere from a strong right wing depth chart. There’s less of a case to trade Hall, who is the best forward on the team today, but left wing is less critical than centre or defence and Edmonton has the option of moving Yakupov over and some depth there in the person of David Perron.

What about that 2014 first round pick? Sure, that’s a possibility too. The Oilers will get a good young player if they draft there, and a team can never have enough good young players, but in the right deal trading a draft pick like that isn’t going to hurt Edmonton’s already paper thin NHL depth chart.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#101 yessir
February 26 2014, 02:41PM
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Oilerfan wrote:

A fair trade would be Bryzgalov (Nashville needs to bolster their goalie depth) + Petry (a solid No. 2 NHL Dman) + Sam Gagner (he'll flourish once out of Edmonton) for Weber and Legwand. I think the Oilers could win 4 or 5 Cups with the new lineup.

@ The Last Big Bear:

With respect; your choice for favourite on this thread does not touch for this gem.

A goalie they could have had for free,an average defenceman who is questionable in regards to heart and brains, and an over-rated Hobbit is the offer here...

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#102 creep
February 26 2014, 02:56PM
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The Last Big Bear wrote:

This is my favorite post in this thread.

You're willing to admit that there's a *risk* that RNH doesn't become the best centreman in the NHL?

I swear to god, my pee is going to turn blue after all the Kool-Aid in this thread.

Hey, here's a fun game: Go to other fan forums, and look for trade proposals where other teams are scheming to land RNH.

Take your time, I'll wait.

http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2014/2/24/5444626/nashville-predators-trade-rumors-shea-weber-edmonton-oilers

I agree its not scheming, just an interesting read of how Preds fans see the rumour. Some seem to agree that having Weber with no forwards makes you....well it makes you Nashville.

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#103 toprightcorner
February 26 2014, 03:02PM
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Benny Botts wrote:

Call me crazy, but Hall and RNH aren't going anywhere. Hall at the age of 21 or 22 is one of the best LW in the game and the potential is endless and RNH will be one of the best centres in the NHL in 3 or 4 years.

If its me and I am making a hard push for a top flight dman I am dangling our 1st and one of our RW's with a defensive prospect.

I agree, Nuge is untouchable and Hall is a close second. Eberle is probably the best candidate to get us the best return without leaving a glaring hole in our line up. Yak is not Eberle but he definitly will have 1st line ability.

We also don't need one of the top 3 dmen in the league, I would be estatic to have someone that would be considered top 15-20 in the league and that person would cost half of what it would take to get Weber.

Eberle, Petry, 1st and an average prospect should get you 2 of McDonough, Giordano, Kronwall, Yandle, Josi, Carlson, Edler, Erhoff, Byfuglien, Tyutin, Jack Johnson, Beauchemin, Bieska, Myers, Voynov, Cowan, Bogosian, Hljarmasson, Methot, Gorges, Niskanen, Franson, Girardi, Martin or Hamonic to name what I could think of. I would rather have 2 of the above than one Weber and I beleive the team would be better as well.

Don't need home runs, just a few doubles!

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#104 The Last Big Bear
February 26 2014, 04:07PM
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creep wrote:

http://www.ontheforecheck.com/2014/2/24/5444626/nashville-predators-trade-rumors-shea-weber-edmonton-oilers

I agree its not scheming, just an interesting read of how Preds fans see the rumour. Some seem to agree that having Weber with no forwards makes you....well it makes you Nashville.

As far as I can see, pretty much all the Nashville fans on there who were willing to make a deal agreed that it would take Hall AND Nugent-Hopkins AND assets such as 1sts/Eberle/etc.

Having Weber with no forwards makes you Nashville, but having forwards with no Weber makes you... well it makes you Edmonton. And nobody wants to be Edmonton, not even Edmonton.

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#105 michael
February 26 2014, 04:08PM
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MKE wrote:

When Nashville can't win anything with Webber AND Suter, that makes it clear you have to have other elite pieces to win.

Getting rid of an elite piece(Hall), plus a top pick for another elite piece (Webber) just doesn't add up.

remember the year they loaded up with Peter Forsberg and Mike Fisher and so forth. Well for what its worth neither do most other folks. Why. Because even with Weber and Suter and those other guys they did not win. Let The Nashvilles keep their Webers. I'll take RNH,Hall and Ebs and Yak. And throw in Eckblad.

Development and patience will reap rewards. Just have to get past all those whose patience is gone and want to trade everyone 3 years into their careers.

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#107 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 04:35PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

Is this you being deliberately obtuse?

Whether or not somebody overpays for something is based on the information that is available to them at the time of the transaction.

Using that information, GMs take calculated risks on every trade they ever make, and pray that history proves their decisions to be good ones. That's why I'm suggesting that LA could have overpaid for Dionne at the time of the transaction, and - when we look back on it - we see that it was actually a pretty amazing trade on their part.

To suggest that this kind of thing never happens is simply inaccurate. I used Dionne as an example because it was an extreme case. We're watching it happen with Perron this season. MacT couldn't have known that Perron would come in and put up career high point totals on a bottom feeder team, but he took a calculated risk when he gave up a promising prospect to acquire him. At the time, the people who were high on Paajaarvi were suggesting that it was a slight overpay, but so far hindsight tells us that this is a big ol' W for MacT.

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#108 billythebullet
February 26 2014, 04:58PM
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RNH imho could be traded, Wayne Gretzky was. I do think it would have to be for another top line center coming the other way for it to work for Edmonton. Example, Nathan Mackinninon(sp?), or Tyler Seguin, but the reality is why would this ever need to happen? Hall and RNH won't go anywhere unless the ask too.

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#109 Rama Lama
February 26 2014, 06:04PM
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The mere suggestion that RNH could be involved in trade speculation send shivers up my spine.

As you rightly pointed out JW........unless there is a another first line centre coming the other way, this trade makes no sense.

Unless your name is Jay Feester that is!

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#110 Oilerfan
February 26 2014, 06:37PM
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Thumby wrote:

Anyone who trashes this comment never saw him play in the playoffs...

You mean, like, Canucks fans?

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#111 sean
February 26 2014, 07:18PM
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@billythebullet

That has got to be the worst spelling I've ever seen.

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#112 Dog Train
February 26 2014, 08:25PM
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No way does RNH get traded. As important as a dominant #1 Dman is, a legitimate #1 centre is every bit as important. The Blackhawks have Keith but they also have Toews. The Bruins have Chara but they also have guys like Krejci and Bergeron. Look at the teams in our division. We're already in tough going up against guys like Getzlaf, Kopitar and Thornton.

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#113 Casey
February 26 2014, 08:40PM
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If we trade Eberle who could you see filling his role on the 1st(or 2nd)RW??

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#114 Oiler Al
February 26 2014, 09:12PM
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Funny how Colorado turned their team around in a couple of years and have a chance to go deep into the playoffs.. They too are shallow on defense, but you dont see their organization, trading off all their top young forwards to acquiire Weber etc.

Its time Oilers stop chasing shinny beans, as its always their excuse as to why they cannot make the playoffs. Pittsburgh won two Stanely cups without a Weber on the back end.

Not saying they dont need to fix the defense, but it dosnt have to happen with the shinest bean on the plant.

Teams needs to learn to play defense on all 200 ft of ice by ALL players. Time for the Kids to grow up and play like men for a change, this is not longer junior hockey.

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#115 Rod from Viking
February 27 2014, 01:03AM
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Casey wrote:

If we trade Eberle who could you see filling his role on the 1st(or 2nd)RW??

Yakapov, Hemsky or Gagner.

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#116 john
February 27 2014, 03:13AM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Funny how Colorado turned their team around in a couple of years and have a chance to go deep into the playoffs.. They too are shallow on defense, but you dont see their organization, trading off all their top young forwards to acquiire Weber etc.

Its time Oilers stop chasing shinny beans, as its always their excuse as to why they cannot make the playoffs. Pittsburgh won two Stanely cups without a Weber on the back end.

Not saying they dont need to fix the defense, but it dosnt have to happen with the shinest bean on the plant.

Teams needs to learn to play defense on all 200 ft of ice by ALL players. Time for the Kids to grow up and play like men for a change, this is not longer junior hockey.

I totally agree with you, we need a real coach to get the team to play defense. We have the offense, 1 or 2 Dmen (Weber or who ever it is) will not win games for this team.

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#117 Rdubb
February 27 2014, 07:19AM
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yessir wrote:

@ The Last Big Bear:

With respect; your choice for favourite on this thread does not touch for this gem.

A goalie they could have had for free,an average defenceman who is questionable in regards to heart and brains, and an over-rated Hobbit is the offer here...

@ Oilerfan, it's not only that, but Bryz is a UFA and will not be re-signed by NAS, especially since Pekka was just optioned to the AHL for conditioning. So, now you're trading Gagner & Petry for not only Weber, but also Legwand...& as far as I am concerned, NAS would be the laughing stock for even thinking about the above offer. Not only would they be losing perhaps the top shut-down d-man, but they have also already him X amount of dollars in bonus' and such. Maybe they look @ trading Weber in 3 years when their young d-men are a bit older and Weber is nearing the end, but you cannot trade the top shut down guy for a 3-4 d-man & a 2nd or 3rd line winger on good teams. We all know Sam ISN'T a C, and darn near any other organization would move him to the wing because of lack of abilities playing the C position. And, as fans know in Edmonton, not all high draft picks amount to NHL players, let alone star players...

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#118 Rdubb
February 27 2014, 07:27AM
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toprightcorner wrote:

I agree, Nuge is untouchable and Hall is a close second. Eberle is probably the best candidate to get us the best return without leaving a glaring hole in our line up. Yak is not Eberle but he definitly will have 1st line ability.

We also don't need one of the top 3 dmen in the league, I would be estatic to have someone that would be considered top 15-20 in the league and that person would cost half of what it would take to get Weber.

Eberle, Petry, 1st and an average prospect should get you 2 of McDonough, Giordano, Kronwall, Yandle, Josi, Carlson, Edler, Erhoff, Byfuglien, Tyutin, Jack Johnson, Beauchemin, Bieska, Myers, Voynov, Cowan, Bogosian, Hljarmasson, Methot, Gorges, Niskanen, Franson, Girardi, Martin or Hamonic to name what I could think of. I would rather have 2 of the above than one Weber and I beleive the team would be better as well.

Don't need home runs, just a few doubles!

I like where you're going with this Benny...I thought & asked Gregor about trading Hemsky, Gagner and a defensive prospect to OTT for Cowan and Lazar (who I think will be a great 2nd line C for many yrs, he'll be a "shut down" guy, a pk guy and a guy above ave in the dot)... We may be giving up a fair amount, but Hemsky is a UFA, and if he re-signs in OTT, maybe get a conditional. As far as the D prospect, toss in our 3rd or 4th prospect, Gernat maybe? We'd end up filling two holes @ once, wouldn't we? Lazar almost made OTT last spring, and should have by all rights... I'd like to hear your thoughts???? Peck

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#119 Rdubb
February 27 2014, 07:34AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Is this you being deliberately obtuse?

Whether or not somebody overpays for something is based on the information that is available to them at the time of the transaction.

Using that information, GMs take calculated risks on every trade they ever make, and pray that history proves their decisions to be good ones. That's why I'm suggesting that LA could have overpaid for Dionne at the time of the transaction, and - when we look back on it - we see that it was actually a pretty amazing trade on their part.

To suggest that this kind of thing never happens is simply inaccurate. I used Dionne as an example because it was an extreme case. We're watching it happen with Perron this season. MacT couldn't have known that Perron would come in and put up career high point totals on a bottom feeder team, but he took a calculated risk when he gave up a promising prospect to acquire him. At the time, the people who were high on Paajaarvi were suggesting that it was a slight overpay, but so far hindsight tells us that this is a big ol' W for MacT.

I think that I must disagree with you... Perron put up very good numbers on a team that played defense first & their coach doesn't (didn't) seem to like the offensive part of the game. So, by putting Perron on a team who likes to skate, free flow and play offensive hockey, along with playing with highly skilled forwards, although a bit younger than he is, even I personally thought that it was a big deal for EDM & that he had all potential of putting up huge numbers, although I thought he'd be behind Hall, Eberle & RNH in point totals... Not to mention that when Perron played with Eberle in the pre-season, I thought that they had very good chemistry for never playing together... In all honesty, I thought MacT stole this deal by a country mile At least, that's what I thought...

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