As Jonathan Willis already wrote, the Oilers have told the trio of Hall, RNH, and Eberle that they are going nowhere this summer. You can add to that list Nail Yakupov if we can take MacTavish at his word. The Oilers are hopelessly struggling to fill important positions on their roster and that group represents the most valuable part of the franchise’s stash of talent. Surely they could part with one or two to fill their needs, but I’m happy they aren’t.
This was MacTavish on committing to the aforementioned players:
Well absolutely. I think those players that you mentioned, including Yak, are players that are very deserving of our organizational support and I certainly appreciate their commitment to our organization over this lengthy rebuild that we’ve been all enduring. Those players are going to be very well supported by the organization and that’s my job.
The Oilers are heading into their sixth draft in the “Rebuild Era” and three of the four players MacT says the club is committed to represent who the team drafted in years 1-2-3. They damn well better be committed to this group. The organization’s entire philosophy over the last half-dozen years has revolved around acquiring them. Sending them away now seems like a pretty idiotic move.
The team asked for fans to be patient and they have been. They told the season ticket holders their suffering would be worth it in the form of those coveted prize taken atop the NHL Draft. If somehow the organization had run through this so called audit and found that the core was the reason the team wasn’t winning then it would have signalled us to buckle up for another rebuild.
The failing of the team hasn’t been on the core so much as it has been on management’s ability to surround and insulate the core with complementary pieces. The Oilers threw these kids in the deep end without so much as water-wings and told them to swim.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is an apprentice without a master.
Hall and Eberle learned how to be pro’s living the NHL life with each other as roommates.
Nail Yakupov was given third line minutes for three years and asked to grind on defense until Nelson arrived.
Justin Schultz was learning how to defend with a 21 year old rookie as the defensive conscience in his pairing.
Are we seeing a pattern here?
If we are to believe that all (or at least most) of these players are going to lead the Oilers to greatness then they need help. And, if they have failed to take us to the promised land, then it is because they weren’t given the tools they needed to succeed.
Yeah, the Oilers could easily fill the top four with a couple solid defenders if the team traded Taylor Hall. But after they’ve done that then we’re right back to where we started, hoping that maybe we’ll luck out and find that elite offensive talent hidden under the seat cushion. And what does that say to the people whose nearly unwavering support allowed the team to nosedive straight to the bottom of the standings for this long?
A bargain was struck with the fans. We keep buying tickets even as losses pile up out of control, they find otherwise impossible-to-find players in the draft. That was the deal. Turning back now isn’t an option I think the franchise really wants to explore. Not when this season has already seen Rexall emptier than it has been in years on game night. They claim the tickets were sold but you could always buy them minutes before puck drop, so I’m not inclined to believe them.
They are already facing a rebuild fatigue from the consumer. Trading from the core could be what brings this house of cards tumbling down.
Keep Hall. He’s a dynamic winger whose season was derailed by an injury he came back weeks too early from but was a top 10 scorer in the league two years running.
Keep Eberle. This is a guy who had 43 points in 46 games during the Solo Nelson part of the year. He’s a top line right winger.
Keep Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. For the love of all that is good and pure keep Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Keep Yakupov. He was on the verge of being labelled a bust before we found out what kind of evil spell the coach had put on him. Under Nelson he had 25 points in 45 games. Extrapolated over a full season that’s 46 points…just like Galchenyuk who some fans retroactively wish the team had taken.
I’m ecstatic that the Oilers are making their pledge to this group very public. I’m over the moon that the GM feels like it’s his job to support them.
It’s about time somebody in the organization starts to do it. Up until now management has done a relatively poor job doing just that. No legitimate offensive center to ease the load on RNH or to help put Hall & Eberle in good positions. Not even a second line center for Yakupov until the year was off the rails.
Don’t even think of trading them. Support them. Just for one season, at least, actually support them.