Don’t trade Hendricks or Gordon

The trade deadline is 31 days away, and I’m stunned by how many people believe trading Matt Hendricks and Boyd Gordon would be a good decision.

Have you not being paying attention to the woes of the Oilers the past five years? You can’t win with an abundance of young players.

The Oilers do not need to stockpile more draft picks at the expense of two proven NHL veterans who are under contract for next season.

Gordon and Hendricks have faced a steady diet of D zone starts all season. They have respectively started a measly 18 and 17% of their shifts in the offensive zone. The next lowest of any forward who hasn’t played on their line is Anton Lander at 45%.

Hendricks and Gordon face tough competition, usually start in their own zone, kill penalties and they both have six goals, which is tied for 5th on the team behind Hall, RNH, Eberle and Pouliot. They are proven veterans who know how to prepare and be competitive every night, however, some feel trading them would be a good idea.

The reasons I’ve heard/read are, “It will give the Oilers a better chance to draft higher,” and “what if a team offers a 1st rounder for Gordon, or “Hendricks is 33 and will slow down.”

Let’s look at these arguments.

The Oilers will not finish 30th even if they trade both of them. Buffalo is beyond terrible. They’ve outshot their opponents in only three of the 49 games they’ve played. They are destined to finish 30th.

So that means the Oilers will be battling for 29th to 26th. They are currently in 29th place, four points behind Carolina, five behind Arizona and nine behind New Jersey. I’d say realistically they will be jockeying with Arizona and Carolina for 27th-29th.

If they finish 29th, they have a 13.5% chance to win the lottery.
If they finish 28th, they have a 11.5% chance.
If they finish 27th, they have a 9.5% chance.

You want to trade one or both of your best defensive forwards for a 4% better chance to get Connor McDavid? That is a loser bet. If you don’t win the lottery, then you don’t have McDavid or Gordon and Hendricks and the team will be just as bad again next season.

I realize there has been a lot of hype around Jack Eichel, but the more scouts I speak with, the less I’m hearing that he is a generational player like McDavid. They really like Eichel, but not one of the six scouts used that word to describe him. They really like him, and all have him rated #2, but none said he is a lock to build a franchise around. He could be, but it wasn’t guaranteed, where all six of them said McDavid is that special.

Again, if you feel Eichel is that valuable to trade away proven veterans for future picks, I see that as a loser mentality and if Oilers management has that philosophy then they shouldn’t be in charge. I’d like to believe they don’t.

TRADE FOR A 1ST ROUNDER

The value of a draft pick is always overrated leading into the trade deadline and at the draft. I’ve conducted many articles outlining the percentages of a draft pick becoming an NHL player, and it isn’t nearly as high as the value people attach to a pick. I’ve also read many article by other writers illustrating the exact same thing.

Would a team offer the Oilers a 1st rounder for Gordon? It is possible, considering Nashville gave up one for Paul Gaustad a few years ago, but it is very unlikely and even if the Oilers could land one, the odds of that pick becoming a player better than Gordon are still low.

Gordon was a first round pick, 17th overall in 2002. He was never an elite scorer in junior, so he wasn’t projected to be a top-six forward in the NHL, but he’s become a solid defensive forward.

If the Oilers did receive a 1st round pick, it most likely would be between #20-#30. Let’s to a quick look at recent drafts and what type of players emerge in that range. I looked at drafts from 2009-2013. I didn’t include last year, because it was too early. David Pastrnak is the only one playing, and he’s played 13 games.

2009
# Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
21 Columbus John Moore D Chicago Steel [USHL] 201 7 26 33 52
22 Vancouver Jordan Schroeder C U. of Minnesota [WCHA] 59 6 9 15 8
23 Calgary Tim Erixon D Skelleftea AIK [SEL] 76 1 12 13 30
24 Washington Marcus Johansson C Farjestads Farlstad [SEL] 311 54 114 168 30
25 Boston Jordan Caron R Rimouski Oceanic [QMJHL] 129 12 16 28 67
26 Anaheim Kyle Palmieri R U.S. Under-18 Team [Ind] 166 39 37 76 82
27 Carolina Philippe Paradis L Shawinigan  [QMJHL]
28 Chicago Dylan Olsen D Camrose Kodiaks [AJHL] 116 5 16 21 34
29 Tampa Bay Carter Ashton R Lethbridge Canes [WHL] 54 0 3 3 32
30 Pittsburgh Simon Despres D Saint John  [QMJHL] 130 4 24 28 114
2010
# Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
20 Pittsburgh Beau Bennett R Penticton Vees [BCHL] 66 9 20 29 10
21 Detroit Riley Sheahan C Notre Dame [CCHA] 93 17 30 47 18
22 Montreal Jarred Tinordi D U.S. National Development Team
[USHL]
39 0 6 6 49
23 Buffalo Mark Pysyk D Edmonton Oil Kings [WHL] 67 3 10 13 16
24 Chicago Kevin Hayes C Nobles School [Mass.] 43 6 10 16 14
25 Florida Quinton Howden L Moose Jaw Warriors [WHL] 34 4 2 6 12
26 Washington Evgeny Kuznetsov C Chelyabinsk Traktor [KHL] 63 8 19 27 18
27 Phoenix Mark Visentin G Niagara IceDogs [OHL] 1 0 0 0 0
28 San Jose Charlie Coyle R South Shore Kings [EJHL] 155 26 38 64 89
29 Anaheim Emerson Etem C Medicine Hat Tigers [WHL] 94 12 15 27 17
30 NY Islanders Brock Nelson C Warroad H.S. [Minn.] 121 29 28 57 30
2011
# Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
20 Phoenix Connor Murphy D U.S. National Devel [USHL] 73 4 10 14 29
21 Ottawa Stefan Noesen R Plymouth Whalers [OHL]
22 Toronto Tyler Biggs R U.S. National Devel [USHL]
23 Pittsburgh Joe Morrow D Portland WHWKs[WHL] 15 1 0 1 4
24 Ottawa Matt Puempel L Peterborough Petes [OHL]
25 Toronto Stuart Percy D Mississauga  [OHL] 9 0 3 3 2
26 Chicago Phillip Danault C Victoriaville Tigres [QMJHL] 2 0 0 0 0
27 Tampa Bay Vladislav Namestnikov C London Knights [OHL] 30 3 4 7 10
28 Minnesota Zack Phillips C Saint John Sea Dogs [QMJ)
29 Vancouver Nicklas Jensen R Oshawa Generals [OHL] 24 3 3 6 10
30 Anaheim Rickard Rakell C Plymouth Whalers [OHL] 60 4 16 20 10
2012
# Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
20 Philadelphia Scott Laughton L Oshawa Generals [OHL] 32 2 4 6 12
21 Calgary Mark Jankowski C Stanstead College (Quebec)
22 Pittsburgh Olli Maatta D London Knights [OHL] 98 10 28 38 24
23 Florida Michael Matheson D Dubuque Saints [USHL]
24 Boston Malcolm Subban G Belleville Bulls [OHL]
25 St. Louis Jordan Schmaltz D GreenBay Gamblers [USHL]
26 Vancouver Brendan Gaunce C Belleville Bulls [OHL]
27 Phoenix Henrik Samuelsson C Edmonton Oil Kings [WHL]
28 NY Rangers Brady Skjei D U.S. National Devel[USHL]
29 New Jersey Stefan Matteau F U.S. National Devel[USHL] 17 1 2 3 6
30 Los Angeles Tanner Pearson L Barrie Colts [OHL] 67 15 8 23 22
2013
Drafted By Player Pos Drafted From GP G A Pts PIM
20 Detroit Anthony Mantha R Val d’Or Foreurs [QMJHL]
21 Toronto Frederik Gauthier C Rimouski Oceanic [QMJHL]
22 Calgary Emile Poirier L Gatineau  [QMJHL]
23 Washington Andre Burakovsky L Malmo Redhawks [Swe-1] 38 7 12 19 6
24 Vancouver Hunter Shinkaruk L Medicine Hat Tigers [WHL]
25 Montreal Michael McCarron R U.S. National Devel [USHL]
26 Anaheim Shea Theodore D Seattle Thunderbirds [WHL]
27 Columbus Marko Dano C Bratislava Slovan [KHL] 8 1 1 2 0
28 Calgary Morgan Klimchuk L Regina Pats [WHL]
29 Dallas Jason Dickinson C Guelph Storm [OHL]
30 Chicago Ryan Hartman R Plymouth Whalers [OHL]

We can all agree the pick wouldn’t help the Oilers next season, and they likely wouldn’t see any reward for at least three seasons.

Brock Nelson is starting to emerge as a solid player, but he was drafted in 2010, so even if they got a player similar to Nelson he wouldn’t be impacting the Oilers until 2019. Teams have found gems in that range, but it isn’t as often as many think.

The continual hope for the future mentality needs to stop in Edmonton. The organization needs to realize you can’t win with all young players. Having a veteran like Derek Roy is better than a Marc Arcobello and a five year pro like Lander is better today than a rookie like Draisaitl.

HENDRICKS IS OLD

OldGuy

This line was trotted out when he was acquired last year. His contract is too much, many analytics guys argued, and his play would fall off. Hendricks has been in the NHL for one more season than Taylor Hall. Yes he is 33, but he doesn’t have that many NHL miles on his odometer. He played NCAA and then spent five years in the minors developing his game. He had to work for everything he had. I doubt he magically slows down next season.

He is also the vocal leader in the room. He has challenged the young players to take hold of the team and become a leader. He’s done it in a positive way, but the Oilers don’t have many vocal leaders and his value is more than just his solid play on the ice.

Trading him for a mid-round pick would be a move made by a losing organization.

The Oilers should not be thinking about dealing Hendricks or Gordon for a draft pick. Making a deal to move them would simply be starting up another round of a rebuild.

I’d hope the Oilers and their fans are sick of the continual cycle of rebuilding that we’ve witnessed for the past six-nine seasons.

PARTING SHOTS

  • Just to clarify, the only reason trading Jeff Petry makes sense is because he is a UFA and it is better to get something for him now than lose him for nothing this summer.
  • Lander is succeeding in the NHL now because he is finally ready for the NHL. He is not making some magical re-birth. He never should have been in the NHL at 20. He wasn’t ready and the Oilers had five other skilled forwards who were 22 and under: Gagner (22), Eberle (21), Paajarvi (20), Hall (19) and RNH (18). It was pure lunacy to have him here, so if you want to point blame at his lack of production in his first few seasons direct it at the organization.

    Lander is proof that time in the minors helps the majority of players. Even when he was 21 he was still learning how to play the North American game in the AHL. He got comfortable last season and tallied 83 points in 75 games in OKC. But he still wasn’t NHL-ready until this year.

    I’m not expecting Lander to emerge as an elite scorer, but he is becoming the player Stu MacGregor drafted in 2009. He works hard, he is a solid leader, been captain in OKC, and he has decent offensive instincts.

    It took Lander five years to properly develop, which is what the data suggest for draft picks outside the first round.

    He is a perfect example of why there is nothing wrong with playing Martin Marincin in OKC this season.

    Let him continue to develop.

Recently by Jason Gregor:       


    • Jason Gregor

      Keep it up Brett. I’m on air. I don’t edit site and host a live radio show. Seems like you need a hug. I addressed your complaint. You don’t like it. Oh well. Move on.

      • Jordan88

        Hey Gregor,

        I like the idea of keeping Gordon on our 4th line.

        The man is a work horse and no one ever talks about him because. He just does exactly what is expected of him kudos to him.

        Hendricks, This guy is nothing but gold, he is vocal regardless of what anyone else can say you can see it on the benches at games.

        I say they remain Oilers until such time as Yakimov, Khaira, or Moroz can challenge for those spots. Then and only then should they be moved.

        • Jason Gregor

          Right now he is their 3rd line C, which makes him even more valuable.

          Of those three prospects, if one of them become a regular NHLer that will be great for the Oilers. Moroz and Khaira have a few more years at least of development based on how they’ve played this year.

          Yakimov is a bit ahead, and might get a few games next year. I’m with you in thinking no reason to rush out veterans until they have young players who are, “over ripe,” to quote Ken Holland.

  • Jason Gregor

    You clearly edited your own comment. No ownership on your words there. Pretty cowardly.
    If you’re offering hugs, I’m open to that. We could do it on the air. We will call the segment “hugs at pubs”. See you at the druid.

    • Jason Gregor

      Gregor, I have no idea how you deal with buffoons like this guy. Easily one of the biggest whiners I’ve read on here in awhile.

      I wish the Nation would vote for which posters we could block for a month. Could this be one of the polls.

      The constant whiners or less than intelligent ones could be banned for a month. It would make the site even better.

      Please anyone at the Nation let me know if this is possible.

  • Jason Gregor

    Bravo, great article.

    We should sign Klinkhammer while we’re at it.

    7 years Is a long time to be without an shutdown checking line, and I certainly don’t want to see the Oilers going back to square one throwing kids to the wolves nest year.

    We have the makings of a halfway decent roster and a good coach, how about adding more and better NHL talent, especially on the blue line rather than tearing it down and starting over-3 more years in the desert style.

  • STIXLER

    No team with a chance at the playoffs is trading a roster player at the trade deadline. If you can make a “hockey trade” with another seller(cellar) team that actually improves the team you consider it. Actual good teams don’t trade players like Gordon or Hendricks until a prospect forces himself into the equation and makes them expendable.

  • HoLLyWooD

    Completely agree Gregor! But really, I haven’t heard cries or anything remotely close to trade “Hendricks or Gordon” However, sitting here in remote BC might have that effect.

    Alas, If you’re an Oiler fan with half a brain, it’s pretty easy to see how valuable these guys are.

    These guys aren’t the reason we’re going to pick high in the draft; far from. These are the guys that are stopping us from picking first overall (again).

    And I for one want them on MY team at the end of the day; every day of the week.

    Why? Cause they WANT to WIN. And won’t take NO for an answer. Wish the rest would follow suit, regardless of paycheque amount.

  • Harry2

    Lander had one, ONE good game. This does not mean he is NHL ready.

    Leave the bottom six alone and do something about the top six. They aren’t getting the job done.

    Don’t sign petry for more than 3.5.

    Thank you

  • Harry2

    I am tickled pink that someone finally wrote this article. Thank you Gregor. Trading either one of those guys is pure idiocy.

    On a side note. That Jankowski pick made byvUnvle Feaster still makes me laugh

  • Burnward

    Hendricks and Gordon have been 2 of the bright spots on this struggling team.
    They both give their all every night and are exceptional role models to emulate.
    Klinkhammer is also making an impact on this team.
    Don’t be foolish and overlook the very important supporting cast!

  • Bucknuck

    I am so happy to see an article like this. I agree with every point. This team needs to forget the entry draft exists and makes decisions based on making the playoffs next year, not five years from now.