Nugent-Hopkins Non-Starter


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


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.



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.

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  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    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

    • pkam

      Just compare Yak to Kessel. Yak was drafted 1st overall, Kessel 5th overall. Yak’s stat was better than Kessel in their 1st 2 seasons.

      If you think Yak is only a 2nd winger, what would it makes Kessel?

      Would you trade Kessel for Kadri + Gardner + Remier + a 2nd rounder?

      I wouldn’t. So why would we trade Yak for this package? Not to mention we have to throw in Gagner + Petry and I don’t care about Bryz.

      • ubermiguel

        Kessel’s rookie season was slowed down at bit by the whole testicular cancer thing. Interesting comp though, by eye they are similar players. Kessel’s built a bit more like a bulldog, but he’s not a huge fan of defence either, and they both have that wicked shot.

  • MKE

    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.

  • Joy S. Lee

    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?

  • MKE

    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.

    • ubermiguel

      @ 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…

      • Rdubb

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

  • MKE

    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.


  • MKE

    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.

  • MKE

    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.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    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.

      • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

        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?

        • pkam

          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?

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            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.

          • pkam

            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?

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            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.

          • pkam

            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.

          • Word to the Bird

            True. Picture another team trading away a budding superstar, a decent defenseman, and a top 3 pick in next years draft for Weber. You’d probably be yelling overpayment, which it would be.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            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.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            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.

          • 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.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            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.

          • Hilarious.

            You just used an example of how hindsight could make you look like a genius in ten years to prove how decisions shouldn’t be judged with the benefit of hindsight.

            So your idea is to overpay and pray history proves you right? “Don’t pay attention to what we know now because an incredible and flukey coincidence might save us all later!!”

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            Is this you being deliberately obtuse?

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

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

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

          • Rdubb

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

          • pkam

            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?

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            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.

          • pkam

            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?

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            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.

          • MKE

            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

  • Benny Botts

    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.

    • toprightcorner

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

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

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

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

      • Rdubb

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

  • 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.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    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.

  • MKE

    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.

    • The Last Big Bear

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

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

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    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.

    • pkam

      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.

  • 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.

    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

  • Bishai in the Benches

    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.

    • With a centre depth chart of Gagner – Reinhart – Lander – Gordon I’m pretty sure you’d have Reinhart – McDavid – Lander – Gordon a year down the road.

      At some point it has to stop being about the future and start being about the present. Nugent-Hopkins is the answer at centre if the Oilers want to start winning anytime soon.

      Weber would be a great addition but if the cost is Nugent-Hopkins it makes sense to look elsewhere.

  • MKE

    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.

  • redhot1

    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.

  • derrickhands

    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?

  • redhot1

    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

  • redhot1

    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.

  • The Last Big Bear

    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.

  • The Last Big Bear

    This is my favorite post in this thread.

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

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

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

    Take your time, I’ll wait.