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

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. . . 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.

  • ubermiguel

    If it’s Eberle and Petry or Schultz and some picks then I’m very interested. Hall and RNH are untouchable for the reasons mentioned.

    If I’m Scrivens right now I’m thinking “get me away from this defence”. Add Weber then I’m thinking “this guy’s going to make my job a lot easier”. Suddenly signing UFAs gets easier and cheaper because of this guy.

  • Word to the Bird

    I think what people don’t realize is that we don’t truly know what we have with Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, and Yakupov. Every person’s learning curve is different, and these players are former first overall picks. I’m not saying that the Oilers should keep them no matter what offer comes, but it’s something to consider.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    It’s funny how whenever trade proposals come from other teams for Shea Weber it’s a Couterier, Schenn plus a 2014 first round pick and a 2015 first round pick.

    But when it’s an Oilers proposal It HAS TO include a first overall like Hall or Nuge…….I’m calling BS on that……Eberle plus J Schultz plus the two first rounders definitely gets Poiles attention.

    Not saying I would do the deal necessarily but I completely disagree that the deal would have to include Nuge or Hall.

    Edit: Personally I think it’s a fabrication by the local media to steer us away from the Weber conversation because they know the management team has already decided to take a path that strings things along for a couple of years until the defense prospects we have mature.

  • Word to the Bird

    Robin

    Do you think Hemsky could be headed to NJ. Lots of fellow Czechs, and NJ is a team that needs the playoff revenue.

    Who would you like to see coming back the other way? If it’s Det or Pitts?

      • bazmagoo

        If Hemmer goes to Phoenix maybe we could get Henrik Samuelsson in return? Couldn’t agree more, we need to turn 83 into a prospect who’s almost ready now, not a pick that could be ready in 3-5 years.

          • I wish. The Arizona Coyotes will not do that deal for just Hemsky.I would not. Hemsky is an NHL player with a good pedigree. HK is a stud this year. He has gone to the next level this season in his development. I’d love HK but the price I would think is more than Hemsky in return.

          • Young Oil

            There’s also the option of trading down at the draft in order to pick him up. #2OV for Samuelsson and #13-16OV.

            We even could go for all the Oil Kings we can get, and then trade the Phoenix pick and a later pick/prospect to Ottawa for Lazar, who don’t have a first round selection this year.

            Samuelsson and Lazar could fill two big holes in the lineup, and are arguably more NHL ready than anyone we could draft at #2OV (granted, both have lower potential ceilings than Reinhart/Ekblad).

            Worth thinking about.

  • 27Ginge

    Personally, I am sick of hearing this Weber sh!t. The Oilers are not moving Hall or Nuge for Weber period. I am a fan of Brownlee and Stauffer so I’m not blaming them, however most of this speculation has no subsstance and is pure fodder for ratings/callers/listeners/readers.

    • TayLordBalls

      You say this like there is something wrong with ratings. The entire concept of sports media is to acquire and maintain good ratings. Beyond gaining listeners/readers, Brownlee and Stauffer have to talk about something. There hasn’t been any NHL hockey for two weeks and yet they have continued to do their shows and write articles. What should they be talking about that would generate significant interest at this point in time?

  • billythebullet

    Weber does not make us a cup contender. Give up Hall, who plays top line lw? give up RNH, who plays first line center? We do not have the organizational depth to make a trade like this, just a cold reality.

    • BobbyCanuck

      What is the use of predicting? These predictions almost never happen, from what I read 10 percent of the time the prediction is right. People are already predicting the line ups for the 2018 Olympic hockey team which is completely bogus, no use in doing that because most likely things will change by then.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.