Nugent-Hopkins Non-Starter

Jonathan Willis
February 26 2014 08:39AM

93-RNH-16

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!

64-Yakupov-5

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

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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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#1 D
February 26 2014, 08:45AM
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I'd like to see a good chunk of the core retire as Oilers.

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#2 DT
February 26 2014, 08:52AM
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For the sake of argument, let's say they move Hall in that deal. Hall, Petry, and the first round pick is way too much for one player, even if it is Shea Weber. Lowe got Pronger for Brewer, Lynch, and Woywitka. That may be an under payment, but a similar deal could be worked out for Weber. But, including the first round pick from the upcoming draft, and a first overall pick from a few years ago, would be a vast over payment.

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#3 Eulers
February 26 2014, 08:53AM
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Amen!

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#4 redhot1
February 26 2014, 08:53AM
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If you trade RNH, who would be the first line centre next year? Assuming Gagner is traded, that would be Gordon.

On the other hand, it would almost assuredly guarantee McDavid. But theres already pretty good chance for him based on the current trajectory.

I'm not jealous of Mac T

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#5 derrickhands
February 26 2014, 08:53AM
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Dillon Simpson, doesn't have a good shot, doesn't play a physical game, and his skating is still well below par needed to make the NHL. How does this make him a good prospect D for the Oilers?

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#7 george99
February 26 2014, 08:58AM
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Not so sure about robbing Peter to pay Paul. Granted RNH is a young phenom and our forward core would be less talented w/ out his services but boy when you consider who we would get in return. I know it's a pipe dream but seeing Shea Weber play in the Olympics reminded me instantly of how valuable Pronger was on our back end in '06. Completely and utterly controlled the play, calm the entire team down; and dicatated the pace and feel of each shift he was on the ice. I would miss RNH, or Hall for that matter but if Weber was the prize...I might do it.

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#8 Sliderule
February 26 2014, 09:06AM
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Shea Weber is a hell of a good defenceman who is minus10 on a better team than oilers. The proposal to trade our better players and a golden draft pick for him is just so stupid I can't believe those media guys would even debate it let alone agree with it. You become a better team by adding good players not by going sideways and creating big holes in the rest of lineup.

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#9 Bishai in the Benches
February 26 2014, 09:07AM
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JW, if RNH + Petry + a prospect not named klefbom, marincin, or nurse would get the deal done, would you take it? Then RNH could be replaced with our first rounder this year, because we wouldn't need to take Ekblad, and surely a high end center would still be around when we pick. Doesn't exactly help our centre depth, but if we could somehow get Statsny out of Colorado, it would leave us with Draisaitl/Reinhart/Benett - Gagner - Lander - Gordon - FA centre. Plus, after seeing the olympics, I am fully convinced an elite defenseman who plays close to 30 min a night will single-handedly give a team an extra 10-14 points in the standings at the seasons end.

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#10 MKE
February 26 2014, 09:22AM
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I know Webber is a good dman, but it's not like he's won anything for Nashville. Even Webber and Suter together couldn't win anything for Nashville.

I might be in the minority here, but I wouldn't even give up Hall straight up for Webber, Because i think this team needs to ADD via the draft and free agents.

If you traded Hall, Petry and a top 5 pick...just for Webber...you create an even bigger hole the the one the Oilers already have.

With Nurse on the way, and the chance to get someone like Ekblad or Reinhart, no way would I make that deal.

It's like...would you rather have Kessel...or Segin, and Dougie Hamilton? I'd take the latter. All day long

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#11 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
February 26 2014, 09:26AM
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Trade the heart of the team (Hall) or our only first line center (Nuge, who's going to be one heck of a player) and one of our only two NHL calibre defensemen (Petry) and our first round pick (2nd overall) for Shea Weber?

If I was Jim, I would have kindly told Bob two things:
1. Shea Weber is a great player
2. Please put the pipe down and slowly back away from the microphone

Self-imposed cap on listening to Oilers Now: maximum of 5 minutes per day and no more than two days in a row. Anything more than that may cause mental damage.

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#14 MKE
February 26 2014, 09:32AM
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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.

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#15 @Oilanderp
February 26 2014, 09:35AM
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Omark!

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#16 Will
February 26 2014, 09:40AM
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Why are there so many articles about trading for Shea Weber? It would be great to have a top end D man mentoring our young prospects, but moving out on of our two best players on forward does not make the team better.

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#17 Cody anderson
February 26 2014, 09:40AM
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If the question was straight Nuge for Webber we do the deal every day of the week, but Nashville doesn't touch it.

If you are looking at a trade that Nashville would entertain then we should not touch it.

Any trade to get the best in the league when the team trading him is not being forced to trade him is going to be a huge overpay. I would guess it would take 2 elite players, a prospect and our 1st rounder. That would decimate our team. No way I touch a deal like this.

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#18 Benny Botts
February 26 2014, 09:46AM
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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.

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#19 MKE
February 26 2014, 09:46AM
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@Cody anderson

I agree with everything except you can't trade Nuge because that leaves you with no #1 center. It's a lateral move at best.

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#20 TayLordBalls
February 26 2014, 09:53AM
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I wouldn't trade 2 Webbers for 1 Nuge.

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#21 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 09:53AM
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Can we please stop downplaying Shea Weber? He is better than everyone in the Oilers organization at the moment. He's better than everyone in most teams' organizations at the moment.

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#22 MKE
February 26 2014, 09:56AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Can we please stop downplaying Shea Weber? He is better than everyone in the Oilers organization at the moment. He's better than everyone in most teams' organizations at the moment.

And yet Nashville still hasn't won a thing with him. Even if he is a great player you still don't over pay for him. Ever. Period.

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#23 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 09:58AM
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MKE wrote:

And yet Nashville still hasn't won a thing with him. Even if he is a great player you still don't over pay for him. Ever. Period.

I guess he's just a two-time olympic gold medalist, then. Totally worthless.

Are you seriously ignoring the fact that he puts up 40-50 points per year on a team that is starved for offense? What about the fact that he would instantly slot into the top line of 28 of the 29 teams not located in Tennessee?

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#24 MKE
February 26 2014, 10:00AM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

NASHVILLE isn't an Olympic team :). I didn't say he was worthless. I said you never over pay for a player.

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#25 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 10:03AM
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MKE wrote:

NASHVILLE isn't an Olympic team :). I didn't say he was worthless. I said you never over pay for a player.

Hall and Nugent Hopkins haven't won anything with the Oilers, either. Does that make it ridiculous to suggest that they're worth a lot on the trade market?

Hell, Marcel Dionne never won a Stanley Cup. Guess it would have been stupid for teams to think about overpaying for him back in the day, too.

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#26 MKE
February 26 2014, 10:04AM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Yes it would have.

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#27 Will
February 26 2014, 10:10AM
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On a different note anyone want to try and predict who will be going and for what? Okay so you need to pick four players, three are going and you have to say what they are going for, the fourth is someone you were sure was going but ends up staying:

1. Bryz 3rd pick (Some team, somewhere will want insurance)

2. Hemsky 2nd and a 3rd

3. Ryan Smyth 3rd

4. Staying will be Nick Schultz, no one will want this guy.

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#28 GoCanadaGo
February 26 2014, 10:11AM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

Trade the heart of the team (Hall) or our only first line center (Nuge, who's going to be one heck of a player) and one of our only two NHL calibre defensemen (Petry) and our first round pick (2nd overall) for Shea Weber?

If I was Jim, I would have kindly told Bob two things:
1. Shea Weber is a great player
2. Please put the pipe down and slowly back away from the microphone

Self-imposed cap on listening to Oilers Now: maximum of 5 minutes per day and no more than two days in a row. Anything more than that may cause mental damage.

well said!

99.9% of sports talk radio is used to drive up water cooler talk among its listener base. Its ridiculous ideas like this that gets people talking. 630 and 1260 each have shows where "ideas" are floated around that sometimes snowball into rumours which the listeners sometimes think is the word of the bible.

its trade suggestions like this which makes oilers talk radio come off like a TMZ type gossip show. its bad. really really bad.

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#29 pkam
February 26 2014, 10:12AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

I guess he's just a two-time olympic gold medalist, then. Totally worthless.

Are you seriously ignoring the fact that he puts up 40-50 points per year on a team that is starved for offense? What about the fact that he would instantly slot into the top line of 28 of the 29 teams not located in Tennessee?

Canada will probably wins 2 gold medals even without Shea Weber, PK probably will get the job done too.

But Shea Weber won't win even one gold medal if he is playing for Czech or Swiss. Didn't Slovakia have Chara?

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#30 Smythyyy
February 26 2014, 10:12AM
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Amen, JW

It's not like we're scoring a sh*tload of points either. Looks like a lot of the people forgot had bad it was down the middle before we got RNH. We have a lot of holes, so making 2 holes (RNH+Petry) to fill one hole is crazy talk. Nashville has Weber but looks like they're out of the playoffs as well that's because like us they have a lot of areas of weakness.

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#31 MKE
February 26 2014, 10:15AM
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There was some dude named Wayne who played hockey here for some time. I recall he didn't win a thing when he didn't have elite players around him either.

Michael Jordan proved the same.

YOU NEED MORE THEN JUST SHEA WEBBER!!!!

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#32 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 10:16AM
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pkam wrote:

Canada will probably wins 2 gold medals even without Shea Weber, PK probably will get the job done too.

But Shea Weber won't win even one gold medal if he is playing for Czech or Swiss. Didn't Slovakia have Chara?

That's exactly the point I'm making. Downplaying a player's effectiveness because they haven't won a team award that involves 22 other moving pieces is laughable.

It's just as laughable as suggesting that a player has value because they're playing for a team that's going to win those awards with or without them.

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#33 Oilerfan
February 26 2014, 10:18AM
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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.

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#34 Gofucoffee
February 26 2014, 10:24AM
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Gags, Petry, Yak and Brez for Kadri, Gardner, Riemer and a second. Anyone do this trade?

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#35 Joy S. Lee
February 26 2014, 10:28AM
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I'm with the others. Not a chance I'd deal away all of that talent for one guy, unless it were Doughty, Stamkos, or Price.

Perhaps a better question: What did Gretzky fetch, and how does that compare to what the media is now suggesting for Weber? Holy cow, is this Weber guy some kind of God? Around here, he sure sounds like it. Well, at least until he's been here for a month, then we'd be wondering what we could get back for him, because the team has so many new holes to fill.

We need a #1 D, I know. But we've been building organically for what seems like forever. We have good potential in the system. Is now the ideal time to sell the farm? If we wanted to do that, shouldn't we have done so at the beginning of this process, and not AFTER all of the pain?

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#36 pkam
February 26 2014, 10:30AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

That's exactly the point I'm making. Downplaying a player's effectiveness because they haven't won a team award that involves 22 other moving pieces is laughable.

It's just as laughable as suggesting that a player has value because they're playing for a team that's going to win those awards with or without them.

We just don't think trading Hall/RNH + Petry + our 1st 2014 for Weber will benefit the team. And it is an overpayment for Weber, is this downplaying Weber? You honestly think he worth that much to acquire?

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#37 Oilerfan
February 26 2014, 10:34AM
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Gofucoffee wrote:

Gags, Petry, Yak and Brez for Kadri, Gardner, Riemer and a second. Anyone do this trade?

Yah. Dave Nonis. Every day of the week.

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#38 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 10:37AM
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pkam wrote:

We just don't think trading Hall/RNH + Petry + our 1st 2014 for Weber will benefit the team. And it is an overpayment for Weber, is this downplaying Weber? You honestly think he worth that much to acquire?

My comment on downplaying his effectiveness was originally directed at these comments:

#10 MKE

I know Webber is a good dman, but it's not like he's won anything for Nashville. Even Webber and Suter together couldn't win anything for Nashville.

#8 Sliderule

Shea Weber is a hell of a good defenceman who is minus10 on a better team than oilers.

Nowhere in my comments have I said anything about that trade being one that would benefit the Oilers. He is probably worth a top line player, a 2nd-pairing D-man, and a 1st rounder, though.

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#39 MKE
February 26 2014, 10:40AM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Ya....because that worked so well when Toronto over payed for Phil Kessel too.....

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#40 westcoastoil
February 26 2014, 10:43AM
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It's next to impossible to trade for a legit #1C - those deals go down about once every 7 years or so (since Thornton, ???). It's also next to impossible, but not quite as hard to land a true #1D. However, you can have very good D without a Weber or Chara by committee.

Think of this: if Chi had to trade either Keith or Toews, who would the keep? My money says its Toews.

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#41 westcoastoil
February 26 2014, 10:44AM
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MKE wrote:

Ya....because that worked so well when Toronto over payed for Phil Kessel too.....

Kessel is not Weber

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#42 MKE
February 26 2014, 10:47AM
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@westcoastoil

Weber isn't God either. He can't win by himself. He couldn't win with Suter either! Over paying for Weber doesn't make this team better

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#43 Gofucoffee
February 26 2014, 10:48AM
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Kadri fills #2 center plays with more grit then Gags Gardner projects better then Petry long term IMHO A goalie with a contract... And filling a #2 winger is way easier then a center

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#44 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 10:50AM
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Let's apply this formula to a few other teams - all of whom are better than the Oilers:

Winnipeg Little, Enstrom, and a 1st? All day every day.

Phoenix Boedker, Z. Michalek, and a 1st? Yes please

Carolina Tlusty, Hainsey, and a 1st? Without hesitation.

I could keep going, but I think you'll find that most teams would do this.

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#45 MKE
February 26 2014, 10:51AM
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Gofucoffee wrote:

Kadri fills #2 center plays with more grit then Gags Gardner projects better then Petry long term IMHO A goalie with a contract... And filling a #2 winger is way easier then a center

When Yakupov scores 35-40 goals for the leafs, would he still be considered a second line winger?

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#46 Will
February 26 2014, 10:52AM
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MKE wrote:

There was some dude named Wayne who played hockey here for some time. I recall he didn't win a thing when he didn't have elite players around him either.

Michael Jordan proved the same.

YOU NEED MORE THEN JUST SHEA WEBBER!!!!

This all day. I would also like to add that the team with the two top point getters last year were one of the worst teams in the league. One man does not a good team make.

And to the other point about Wayne, I try and bring this up all the time and get shot down. The man's numbers are off the charts. However, I think a lot of that was the team he was on. That Oilers dynasty was insane. The mark of a dominant player is that he'll be dominant anywhere. And Gretz never lead another team to the cup. Messier did, twice.

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#47 Taylor Gang
February 26 2014, 10:54AM
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I just don't see why it would take Hall/Nuge, the 2014 first rounder, AND a bit more! It's not like Hall and Nuge have no value. Even for Weber it's an overpayment.

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#48 MKE
February 26 2014, 10:54AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

Let's apply this formula to a few other teams - all of whom are better than the Oilers:

Winnipeg Little, Enstrom, and a 1st? All day every day.

Phoenix Boedker, Z. Michalek, and a 1st? Yes please

Carolina Tlusty, Hainsey, and a 1st? Without hesitation.

I could keep going, but I think you'll find that most teams would do this.

So why has no other GM done this if its such a good idea?

We are talking about Hall...who has a chance to be in the top 20 in scoring every year, and a potential top 3 pick!

That's much difference then Tlusty and a top 15 pick or Boedker and a top 20 pick!

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#49 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 10:54AM
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Will wrote:

This all day. I would also like to add that the team with the two top point getters last year were one of the worst teams in the league. One man does not a good team make.

And to the other point about Wayne, I try and bring this up all the time and get shot down. The man's numbers are off the charts. However, I think a lot of that was the team he was on. That Oilers dynasty was insane. The mark of a dominant player is that he'll be dominant anywhere. And Gretz never lead another team to the cup. Messier did, twice.

I think you get shot down because your logic is inconsistent. At the beginning of your second paragraph you say that one player doesn't make a team great, and at the end of that paragraph you talk about how players can only be considered "dominant" if they make their team great.

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#50 vetinari
February 26 2014, 10:55AM
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Nuge should not be part of any deal unless it involves a massive overpay on the other end, especially since centre is an area of weakness for us.

Nuge will be a fantastic #1 centre someday, but I would think that on most other teams, at least at this stage of his development, he would be seeing sheltered minutes on the second line.

While no player is "untradeable", I would think that Nuge and Hall are the two that are closest to that status on our roster. That still leaves excellent players like Eberle, Yakupov and some others as potential trade bait to build a deal around for a true #1 defenceman.

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