THE SPECULATION GAME

Craig MacTavish6

I doubt Nashville GM David Poile has taken leave of his financial senses to a point where he’ll put Shea Weber on the trade block now, but if he did, should Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish offer a package of players including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Taylor Hall to get in on the action?

It’s an intriguing question – a possibility that’s far-fetched from where I sit because of the money the Predators have already paid Weber in bonuses on his 14-year, $110-million contract – given the needs of both teams. Nashville desperately needs forwards who can score and the Oilers need, among other things, the stud first-pairing blueliner Weber most certainly is.

It’s a question that’s been posed, discussed and debated more than once around here and on the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260. It was one that was fodder again today down the dial on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer.

Stauffer asked guest Jim Matheson of The Journal if he’d trade a package that included Hall or Nugent-Hopkins – not both – defenseman Jeff Petry and Edmonton’s first pick at the 2014 Entry Draft for Weber. Matheson said he’d consider it. Stauffer’s take was it wasn’t a deal he’d make.

What say you?

PROS AND CONS

At 28, Weber is squarely in his prime. There’s no question he’s one of the top three defensemen in the NHL. Big, physical and skilled with an absolute cannon of a shot from the blue line. Weber is, without question, the kind of player every team, not just the Oilers, wants and needs.

If there’s a bit of a downside, it’s Weber’s contract. His $7.857 million cap hit isn’t a problem, especially with the salary cap expected to go up, but his deal runs through 2025-26, taking him to age 40. It’s heavily front-loaded, of course – he has bonus money owing through 2017-18 – with a real salary of just $1 million in the final three years.

While those numbers aren’t a major concern, they are a consideration. Weber will earn a salary of $6 million in 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 when he’s aged 33-36. So, Weber has, what, five or six more prime years remaining? Seven?

While Weber could slip a bit over the next six or seven years, he’ll still be a bonafide first-pairing guy eating up quality minutes in that span. As an aside, he’d also provide some shelter for a youngster like Justin Schultz and kids on the way like Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse. He could mentor Martin Marincin. The importance of that shouldn’t be dismissed.

THE WAY I SEE IT

4-Hall-15

Is adding Weber going to make the Oilers Stanley Cup contenders now? No. Might they be contenders in the five, six or seven prime years he has left? You would like to think so, assuming MacTavish addresses needs the Weber deal, as framed, doesn’t. Hmm.

Trading away Hall takes the team’s most dynamic offensive player off the left side. Trading RNH leaves coach Dallas Eakins without his most creative offensive player and a power play catalyst. It also leaves the Oilers beyond weak down the middle. Who is the first-line centre? How about the second?

Petry? He’s not the stumblebum a lot of fans make him out to be. On most teams, he’d be a fourth or fifth defenseman. He’s asked to play too many minutes here. That’s not his fault, even if it is his problem. I have no problem moving him. What about that first-round pick? Who does that turn out to be? Sam Reinhart? Sam Bennett? Aaron Ekblad?

If I’m MacTavish, I do that deal, preferably with Hall rather than Nugent-Hopkins. I happily include Petry and I cross my fingers moving that first pick doesn’t come back to bite me down the road. As for Poile, would he consider the deal as spit-balled today? That’s an entirely different question.

WHILE I’M AT IT

83-Hemsky-6

. . . Count me among those who have Ales Hemsky a goner by the trade deadline, which falls Wednesday next week.

MacTavish won’t get great value for Hemsky as a rental, but there’s no chance he’ll re-sign here. Getting something for Hemsky is better than nothing – a prospect, please, not a draft pick. John Shannon of Sportsnet has mentioned Detroit. Makes sense. I can see Phoenix in the mix.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Trading both of RNH and Hall would most likely get an interest for Shea Webber. These 1st overalls are over rated in Kevin Lowe’s and MacT’s mind. What complicates things is that I don’t believe these ex hockey players have the managerial skills to pull off a trade of that magnitude.

  • D

    I would like to see if the Oilers could do better with defense-by-committee over the next season or two before moving one of the named forwards for a stud D like Weber.

    It hasn’t worked so far, but the team might be able to shift the balance with outstanding goaltending, and one or two players like Marincin over-performing expectations.

  • Matheson in on this at The Journal. From his item:

    “I suspect the Flyers, who would still die to have Weber on their back-end, would give up centre Brayden Schenn and winger Jake Voracek and a defenceman or a first-round pick for Weber in a deal. Admittedly, Schenn is not RNH. Voracek is not Hall. But, the Flyers are well aware that Jones can be a franchise type blueliner and Josi is, at worst, a No. 3 NHL defender so Weber could be in play. So, the Oilers have to get on this because the Predators have been hanging on for years with very little offensive juice.”

    AND

    “Would you consider trading Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Weber? I can’t fathom the Predators not asking for either RNH or Hall, who might get 80 points this season, in any package for Weber. Would that be a non-starter for the Oilers or is Weber, in his prime, too good to pass up, no matter the cost? Personally, I think RNH and Hall are close to untouchable because of their tender age, and they’re wonderful players, but again, if it’s Weber, who is only 28? Maybe they listen. Again, most Cup teams have an elite defenceman? Detroit (Nick Lidstrom), Chicago (Keith), Boston (Chara), LA (Doughty), Anaheim (Pronger), all since 2007. OK, Pittsburgh in 2009 didn’t have a world-class blueliner.”

    • The Real Scuba Steve

      Shenn + Vorachek are no where near the talent of RNH + Hall. Not even close.

      Of the D listed, all are home grown other than Pronger. Pronger was aquired for: an undeveloped 1st rounder (Lupul) and 1st rd D who still hadn’t played an NHL game (Smid) and a late 1st rd pick (22nd overall).

      Why sell our future? If a stud Dman can be had for Gagner, Klefbom + a non-lottery pick 1st rounder. Do it. If not, wait.

      • Cool! Must have been a shock coming back to this FRIGID weather from paradise. Hockey question- I know you tell it like it is- Who do you realistically think will be moved for sure next Wednesday, and what do you think the Oil will get back – is there a BLOCKBUSTER about to happen- Yakupov, RNH, HALL, J SCHULTZ? Welcome home!

          • Thumby

            Thank you, can’t wait for the deadline! Really looking forward to going to Thursday’s game- missed the Oil way more than I thought I would! Thanks again! I respect your knowledge and opinions!

          • TayLordBalls

            Jeez you guys, get a grip!

            Gags can’t be traded as he has a verbal no trade agreement with from MacT. He’s a great 2/3 center.

            Hemsky goes because he’s a slacker. Just look at what he did at the Olympics when he turns up the energy.

            We got a great pick coming in the draft (centre) and a #1 and #2 rookie defensemen joining the team next season.

            Hall, Nuge, Yak and Eberle are going to explode next season and be worth far more than Webber.

            The only problem the Oilers may have is paying everyone what their worth.

            Destiny calls…..

        • Young Oil

          I sure hope that MacT does not do anything stupid and trade away the future core of Oilers like Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yak, JShultz? I’d also throw the name Perron into that mix. Give up a 1st pick, trade Hemsky or Gagner or any of the others to get the big “D” that we need, but keep the core in place.

  • I don’t do that deal. I’m keeping Hall all day, there’s something to say when a 22 year old is making the top 10 in pts two years in a row on a last place team. I don’t even think Hall has reached his ceiling yet.

    Draft Ekblad and put these Weber talks to rest.

  • Serious Gord

    Interesting debate.

    I certainly would consider the deal. But I have one grave doubt:

    Would weber be happy playing here for this group of clown managers and executives?

    Not knowing the answer to this is enough to cause me to say “no”. The last thing this team needs is an unhappy, massively expensive long-term contracted player.

    What I would wish is for Katz to call weber directly and have weber tell him directly that he won’t play for the oil as long as he has the current $hitshow managers in place. Maybe if Katz heard it from a player as respected as weber he might act… Sadly as I understand it, such phone calls are against the CBA rules.

  • Serious Gord

    @Rusty

    Chara was traded to Boston and lead them to Stanley, granted, you could argue he wasn’t in his prime when he was dealt.

    The trade for Weber as proposed is a little rich for my blood. It’s probably close to what it would take though.

    • T__Bone88

      Chara wasn’t traded he signed as a free agent in the summer of ’06 when Ottawa regrettably chose Redden over him.

      As for this Weber debate of if Oilers should trade RNH or Hall for him, I would pass if that is the going rate. Weber can turn this team around instantly but it would create another hole in that the Oilers would be with a #1 center if RNH was traded, something that is as valuable as a #1 defenseman. I still believe that a Weber can be obtained without trading Hall or RNH.

  • billythebullet

    That trade would be instantly regretted Brownlee. Hall is one of the top 2 LWs in the game point wise and is only getting better. On a terrible team he’s been hovering around the top 10 in scoring for two years now and he hasn’t peaked. Further, Reinheart and Sam Ben. will in all likelihood become a first line Center (to low side, one of the best 2nd line centres in the league). Plus, Petry who I would argue is a number 2 on “most” teams, and a number three guy on most strong teams (maybe 4). If he’s your number five, your D core is unreal, in the top 4D. Plus he’s still relatively young with some room to grow. I would say a solid 3. That amount for weber is crazy talk.

    Reverse the the situation. Would a team trade for one of the best forwards in the game age 28 (a Malkin or Getzlaf or Giroux, (with Crosby, Stamkos, and Ovi ahead of them as generational types of talent. Weber is great, but I wouldn’t call him a generational talent)) for Ekman Larsson or Alex Peter Algelo (right Mr. Cherry) (in the league top 10 D and young class) plus a top three pick who could be every bit as good as a Giroux, Getzlaf, etc, plus a solid second line Center like Mike Fisher, Jordan Staal or David Krejci. I wouldn’t.

    I would rather have a team with a little more depth of talent then a single rockstar. Hall is already that, and on his way to being In the weber class within the next 5 years.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    I just don’t see the point in trading for any player to plug a need when by doing so you just open up another gaping hole on the team? The Oilers have 1 single C that is capable of playing on the 1st or 2nd line. Get rid of him and your Center position is decimated. I suppose I can see trading Hall before RNH as stated. But I can’t see them being that much better off by adding Webber and subtracting Hall. Especially since the team is 1-2 years away from seeing some D men come up through the system.

    I’d give up 4 first round draft picks plus Eberle. Or 3 first round draft picks plus Petry, and Gagner. There’s many deals that could be made but I would do my best to Keep Hall And RNH .

  • Serious Gord

    Oiler fans are still suffering from Pronger induced mania.They hope that a new white knight can ride in and shazam deliver Stanley.

    They forget that the oiler team Pronger came to was far different than this oiler team.It was older had more good veterans and was ready to step up and oilers did not give up much to get him.

    If you trade for Weber (minus10 on a better team) you are going to have to give away a big part of a rather small group of good players.

    You end up strengthening one part of the team and mortally wounding another part

    • Dan 1919

      That guy doesn’t say anything that suggests he should be more credible than R.B just because Brownlee writes a what if article to keep us entertained during another disappointing season.

      At the end of the day Nashville has some changes to be made (despite what some columnist says), just as the Oilers do. Both teams need to take a page from successful teams like Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh. You have to build a team through constant trades, drafts and acquisitions. It’s not as simple as KLowe hoped it would be… sit around drafting players until you win the cup.

      If Weber is available, keep Hall and do what it takes to get him here. I love Nuge, but he hasn’t done close to enough to suggest he is going to be an untouchable No1 C that is too valuable to trade for a stud like Weber. Hall on the other hand at his young age is pretty darn close to putting himself in that category.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        What does credibility have to do with it?

        We aren’t talking about actual information here. Neither Matty, nor Brownlee have suggested something is on the table or being discussed.

        We are talking about arguments and reasonableness. Any appeal to authority here is a dodge.

        We are talking about monomaniacal spitballing. Chewing the fat about how to fix this damn team.

        Now, Weber would definitely fix the team (depending on the price). And he might even be available.

        BUT!!!!!!!!!!!

        C’mon. How many articles do we need on the same player with no new information?

        Is this reasonable? Is it likely Weber comes here?

        If Nashville beat writers start writing articles about trading for Hall constantly, you don’t think we’d all look askance at them?

        Something much more reasonable is LT’s hard target series: a series of players much more likely to be available and a discussion of their pros/cons.

  • TayLordBalls

    Hey Brownlee!

    Does it really need to be Hall or Nuge? Other than Philly who can offer more young offensive talent than Edmonton?

    Does any combination of the following players get it done?
    Eberle, Yakupov, Gagner, Justin Schultz, Klefbom, Petry, our first rounder this year and next?

    Hypothetical deal : Ebs, Gagner, J. Schultz, Klefbom, and two firsts (this year and next) get this deal done tomorrow if we offered it?

  • I wouldn’t do either of RNH or Hall. I would do Eberle (and eat half his salary as compensation for that massive bonus Nashville already paid him). Obviously, as part of a passage, and assuming Poile even likes Ebs…

  • Weber is a fantastic player but I think I would stop short of Hall and I would definitely stop short of RNH. We would be so weak at centre without RNH that having a stud like Weber still would not make us a playoff team. RNH and Hall’s contracts are bargains going forward. We are not close enough to think that we are one player away, even if that one player is Shea Weber. Anything other than Hall or RNH is in play though.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    I would not do this trade but this is what it would take IMO to get the preds to trade Weber:

    Yakupov –
    Gagner(Oil retain 2 mil) –
    2014 First Rounder –
    2015 First Rounder –
    Klefbom

    For

    Weber

  • nuge2drai

    Honest question, can someone explain why Edmonton would have to include their 2014 first round pick in addition to Hall and Petry? Seems a bit much to me or am I undervaluing Weber?

    I don’t think it would be a huge shock to anyone if Hall becomes the top LW in the league before the end of his contract and although Petry might only be a 4/5 on Nashville he is a legit NHL defence man. And yet most here feel top pick in addition is required to make that happen? Thats basically IS like trading Hall AND Nuge. Seems like a bit much. No?

  • TayLordBalls

    Shows how much some hockey writers know when the Flyers have an inside track on a potential Weber deal by sending Schenn and or Voracek to Nashville over Nuge or Hall. Weber is and can be the very foundation of the defense for many years to come. But I dont think you mortgage the farm on a guy who might demand a trade in a year or two. Also the Preds wont take Yak in any deal after the Radulov experiment/disaster.

    Eberle and Gagner for Weber. This is a safer deal for the team and it gives Nashville a shot of offense, hell throw in Hemsky too. If were going to deal for this guy you have to take everything into account, having a big name stud defenseman would be nice but after Mrs Pronger decided she hated Edmonton then any type of deal like this should be proceeded with extreme caution.

  • nuge2drai

    With Weber, the Preds are not winning with him so what make you guys think Weber will win games for Oilers? Stupid do deal away Hall, Eberle, RNH or Yakubov for what ever people think 1A or 1B Dman. It take a whole team to win games not just 1 or 2 Dmen. Get a real coach, he will turn this team into winners.

  • nuge2drai

    Come on everyone, wake up! You move Hall, and Nuge and or Eberle, depleting your fire power, for which you spent 5 years in the mud hole to draft high.
    Dumb move.

    Weber is good, but he is not worth giving up all kinds of assets and them accomodating his ridiculous contract. Then in a year or two, wifey wants to live on the beach.

    PS: And where is Weber leading Nashville to these days. You can have all the studs on defense, you still need someone up front to score some goals.

  • I am the Liquor

    The Preds wouldnt be taking a toedragger and junk for one of the best dmen in the game.

    As has already been pointed out, Weber would mustard gas the deal by requesting a trade before he even set foot on the frozen tundra.

    If we are throwing out hypothetical scenarios how about who will take over running this team after Katz slips and bumps his head and suddenly wakes up out of his jock sniffing fog and realizes the team is being run by incompetent nincompoops?

    Or what white knight will come riding into town to save us from Mr Ballard/Wirtz?

    How about an article questioning these areas of the organization?

    Eight years and counting with nary a playoff game. Little to nothing to suggest anything is going to change anytime soon.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    ^that’s what i always worry about….we trade for a top end d-man, but he ends up not wanting to be here and asks to be traded after only a year or so. the Oilers must be careful about this or we could end up giving away some of our top talent that actually wants to be here for a guy who doesn’t.

  • If the negotiations start with Hall/Nuge as the primary return for Weber – I WOULD NOT ENTERTAIN THE DEAL.

    Oilers have other assets that they can turn into help on the blue line. They may not be able to get that 1A Dman – but, they could use some of their assets to obtain one two 1B, 2A, 2B type Dmen. Defense by committee may be the best way to go.

    Gutting the team for one defensmen is ridiculous – even if it is Weber. Without Hall or Nuge – the Oilers may even be worse with Weber.

    I would rather use Eberle/Gagner/D Prospects on the trade market to get this team some help on D.

    With Weber but no Nuge/Hall – this team probably still on the outside looking in IMO.

    I am as impatient as the next fan, but I would rather wait for our D prospects to develop and/or trade anyone but Hall/Nuge for help on D (even if its not Weber).

  • Sure you might get a top 3 defensemen but you’re putting him with a very inexperienced defense.

    Hall is a game changer and exactly the player this team needs to keep. Can’t trade him right now.

    Can’t trade Nuge, he is our #1 center, exactly what we have needed for so long.

    Yakupov is dynamic and young. I think he will be able to figure out the “TEAM” game and will succeed. Too early to trade off.

    Eberle is a great player. Doesn’t stand out as a guy that can change the course of a game, at least this season. Plenty of upside and I could see him being traded.

  • 27Ginge

    I forgot to add this.

    I don’t think there is a definitive need to make major moves at the deadline for the Oilers.

    I personally think this will be really quiet for the Oil. I suspect some or all of our free agents will be moved for picks or prospects.

    Those prospects in turn may be used for trades at the end of the season. The players we want or need are likely going to be on playoff teams.

    • BobbyCanuck

      Agreed, Katz has made it clear that he is ok that the Oilers suck for the next couple of years, so why sell the farm now?

      Unfortunetly in 2 yrs, I fully expect Hall to demand a trade

  • Otis on Oilers

    I make that trade 101 times out of 100. Because that #1 defenceman is more important right now then our #1 offensive player. And yes, the draft pick may turn out to bite us in the ass… 4 years+ down the road, and we need to get better now, or we risk the same mentioned players asking for a trade out of town anyways.

    Plus, we have lots of other offensive players that can pick up the slack and a wealth of prospects that can be packaged up with future picks and wingers for a center.

    like i said, i do that deal any day of the week. And brag about it afterwards.

    Unfortunately for us, Nashville never does that deal. Not cause its not a good return, but because Suter is gone, they just paid Weber a truckload of money, and Seth Jones isnt ready yet. It leaves them using 3/4 pairing as their 1/2.

  • Otis on Oilers

    I don’t see why Nashville would trade Weber. Everything pointed out as a benefit for the Oilers is a benefit for the Preds too, and every other team.

    So why don’t the Preds just sign a top 6 forward? Then they have the best of both worlds.

    If the Oiler get him, great. Just hope he stays longer than Pronger. Else we’ll have lost a couple young forwards and T6 D. Shades of 2006-2007 again.

    Kblowe did it once, I’m sure he can screw it up again.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    how many cups does Nashville have? how many will they ever have? (zero)

    they should trade that “key to the cup” to Edmonton so they can say “we had two #1 defensemen leave town. we plan on building for our cup now by re-acquiring that #1 D-man to fulfill the Olde Garden Variety Hockey Logic (AKA MAGICAL SPELL BOOK) of how to win a cup”

    it’s going to take a lot more than just a sexy canadian name player to get EDM anywhere near a cup.

    more than likely Weber will rot here for years while the staff F’s it up and he asks to be traded to a better built team. while Hall is stuck on a cash strapped team that will need a magical recipe of scouted players and contract alignment to ever do anything special.

  • TayLordBalls

    Seriously? Whining about an item you have no interest in, yet taking the time to comment on it? If it’s not for you, move along to something that interests you.

    You’re not dumb to keep yourself from reading this. You choose to so you can piss and moan in the comments section.

  • Otis on Oilers

    I agree with you. Its fantasy. Here is my reality. The Oilers are 29th. If they finish there I will move heaven and Earth to ensure Eckblad is the guy we pick. Forget about trading for a NHL roster player.21 goals and 24 assists. 6’4 216. That and a bag of chips.

    MacT passes up on that I will be the guy with the scycle in the lynch mob waiting at EIA for MacT to disembark.It would be insane to trade away an Eckblad.

    We need to win now. Frak that. We need to win for the next decade. And longer. You don’t do that by trading away top 5 picks. Ask Gregor about the stats. Its almost a lock that a top 5 guy becomes a top tier player in the NHL.

    Ference is what 34? You get a couple more years out of him in the 4-5 slot teaching Nurse and Eckblad. Throw in Klefbom and Marincin and Petry. Maybe another 2 journeymen dmen next season and let the kids go at it. Your building this organization from the draft through OKC and then to Edmonton.

    Pissing away draft picks in the top 5 do not make for a healthy organization long term(Islanders). Stick to the plan. Draft-Develop and promote.

  • bazmagoo

    Agreed. I think you only make a forward for defenceman deal if it’s one player for one player, not a huge 3-4 player/picks package for one guy. Even if it is Weber potentially coming to the Oil we should avoid that.

  • Chainsawz

    A lock that atop 5 pick is a top tier player??? Depends on how loose your definition of top tier is, I guess.

    2005 – Crosby, Ryan, Johnson, Price, Pouliot.. 3/5
    2006 – Johnson, Staal, Backstrom, Toews, Kessel… 3/5
    2007 – Kane, JVR, Turris, Hickey, Alzner… 1/5
    2008 – Stamkos, Doughty, Pietrangelo, Schenn, Bogosian… 3/5
    2009 looks like 4 out of 5 if Hedman keeps progressing so it’s projecting past this year.

    Spin the numbers however you want, a top 5 pick is not a lock. And when a player doesn’t become a top tier player from the top 5 picks in a draft, more often than not it is a defenseman.