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, 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 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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#2 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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#3 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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#4 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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#5 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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#6 Ricky
February 26 2014, 11:46AM
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Ricky wrote:

Don't worry there will be no trades for the Oilers. Fans and Management overestimate the value of any player ..Teams won't give much for Hemsky or Gagner or Schultz so no trades will happen. Oilers are a bad team with overrated players. If you don't believe me look at their record for the last 8 years.

Pretty funny I give facts and people still trash the comments.

Reality has jumped the shark with Oiler fans.

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

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#8 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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#9 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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#10 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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#11 Ricky
February 26 2014, 11:09AM
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Don't worry there will be no trades for the Oilers. Fans and Management overestimate the value of any player ..Teams won't give much for Hemsky or Gagner or Schultz so no trades will happen. Oilers are a bad team with overrated players. If you don't believe me look at their record for the last 8 years.

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#12 Oilerfan
February 26 2014, 11:18AM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

I think that Messier was the single greatest captain that has ever played in this league.

Messier was the greatest human who ever put on skates.

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#13 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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#14 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
February 26 2014, 11:55AM
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Also reading that Chris Phillips might be moved out of Ottawa, should the Oilers be interested?

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#15 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 12:32PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

1. "Overpay" still doesn't mean what you think it means. If you have overpaid then by definition you have paid too much. There are no means whereby an "overpay" can ever be the right move.

2. Re: Dionne: The Kings must have really dominated the league once they made that deal. If only there was some way to find out. Oh wait - In 74-75, the year before the trade, LA had 105 points. They next year with Dionne they had 85, and they never broke 100 again until 90-91.

The year before the trade Dionne had more points than all three guys he was traded for combined. In other words, it was probably only a slight overpay, and it still helped sink the team for a decade and a half.

This was a terrible example for you.

Overpay means exactly what I think it means, so long as you're not judging decisions with the benefit of hindsight. Can you cut the condescending crap for a minute?

If I pay $1500 for an ounce of gold today, I have most certainly overpaid. If - in 10 years - the price of that gold has increased at a rate that outpaced the other investments I could have reasonably made with that $1500, I look like a genius in hindsight, despite the fact that I intially overpaid.

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#16 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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#17 Virtual_Xi
February 26 2014, 11:40AM
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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.

why oh why can I only trash once! tell me CWD truck!!!!

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#18 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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#19 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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#20 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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#21 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 10:55AM
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MKE wrote:

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!

Could you please go back and read over my comments? I'm not saying that this is a good trade for the Oilers to make. I am saying that this is fair value for Weber.

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#22 Taylor Gang
February 26 2014, 10:56AM
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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 that Messier was the single greatest captain that has ever played in this league.

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#23 MKE
February 26 2014, 11:43AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

The Kings acquired Dionne for Dan Maloney and Terry Harper, along with a 2nd and a pile of cash. At the time, I think you'll find that a lot of people thought this was an overpay. Dionne went on to play more than half of his HHOF career with the Kings.

Sometimes you have to overpay to acquire top-end talent, and sometimes they cover the bet.

If by "cover the bet" you mean "didn't win any cups" then sure. But like Ricky Bobby once said....if you not first, you're last.

Anything short of a cup is failure

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#24 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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#25 @Oilanderp
February 26 2014, 09:35AM
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Omark!

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#26 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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#27 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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#28 MKE
February 26 2014, 10:04AM
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@Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

Yes it would have.

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#29 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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#30 TigerUnderGlass
February 26 2014, 11:21AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

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.

I don't think "overpaying" means what you think it means.

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#31 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
February 26 2014, 11:54AM
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Bracken Kearns put on waivers by the Sharks. Should the Oilers have any intrest in claiming him off waivers? How many open roster spots / contract spots do we have? One? Two?

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#32 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 12:01PM
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pkam wrote:

So Hall and RNH is not top-end talent? Hall or RNH may be Dionne in this trade. Perhaps the Preds should overpay to get one of them, like Weber + their 1st rounder for Hall/RNH?

Dionne was a known quantity by the time he was traded to LA. In 1975 he was 3rd overall in points behind Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito, and he was top-15 in points for the 3 years prior.

You could probably make the case that Hall is a known quantity as far as scoring is concerned, but I don't think all 30 GMs would agree that RNH is a lock to be a top 10 player in the league from 2015 through 2026.

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#33 Spoils
February 26 2014, 12:06PM
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I really want to win with our current core crew. How much fun would it be to see Yak and Ebs lift the cup. After all this BS and losing, could anything be better?

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#34 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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#35 Eulers
February 26 2014, 08:53AM
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Amen!

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#36 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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#37 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 11:37AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

I don't think "overpaying" means what you think it means.

The Kings acquired Dionne for Dan Maloney and Terry Harper, along with a 2nd and a pile of cash. At the time, I think you'll find that a lot of people thought this was an overpay. Dionne went on to play more than half of his HHOF career with the Kings.

Sometimes you have to overpay to acquire top-end talent, and sometimes they cover the bet.

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#38 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
February 26 2014, 12:27PM
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pkam wrote:

If they don't like RNH, they can have Hall.

My point is why is it always us overpay to acquire other team's top end talent? Can't we expect the other teams to overpay for our top end talents, or just a fair trade?

It's been a long time since we've had any top-end current talents (as opposed to top end potential in prospects) that people were willing to trade, and those were screwed by the ineptitude of Oilers management. The last one I can think of (post-2008) would probably be Visnovsky or maybe Souray.

A competent GM probably could have gotten a premium for either of them at the deadline.

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#39 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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#40 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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#41 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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#43 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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#44 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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#45 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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#46 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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#47 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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#48 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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#49 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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#50 pkam
February 26 2014, 10:58AM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

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.

I don't get the feeling that they are downplaying Weber when I read those 2 comments. The message I get is Weber couldn't single handedly help us to be a playoff or cup contender. Giving up Hall/RNH and our 1st rounder for Weber will probably make us the Preds.

Agree that Weber worth a top 6 forward, a 2nd pairing d-man and a 1st rounder. But not a top 6 forward who was a 1st overall who is trending to be an elite franchise player, and that 1st rounder is a top 3 overall pick. That is an overpayment.

I will do it if it is Eberle/Perron + Petry + a mid to late 1st rounder.

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