Todd Nelson likely could have stayed with the Edmonton Oilers as part of Todd McLellan’s staff, but he sees himself as a head coach and that’s been enough to prompt him to leave the Oilers and familiarity behind for some uncharted waters in the AHL. I can respect that.

Based on reports over the past several days, it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if Nelson lands the job he’s looking for in the not-too-distant future. He’s already interviewed with the Pittsburgh Penguins for a job as their AHL coach with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Nelson will meet with the Detroit Red Wings today to interview for the job as coach of Grand Rapids, a position vacated by Jeff Blashill, who is taking over from Mike Babcock in Detroit. I’ve seen that as the likeliest destination for Nelson since Babcock left the Red Wings. I still feel that way.

With Craig Ramsay and Keith Acton shown the door, Nelson met with McLellan before the Penguins and Red Wings came calling. I can’t say for certain McLellan offered Nelson the chance to stay here, but my sense is he was, at the very least, offered the opportunity to stay within the organization.

The bottom line, though, is that Nelson, already passed over twice here to be the head man in Edmonton, wasn’t going to get the job he covets anytime soon with McLellan in the fold, so he left the comfort zone that comes with familiarity here and set out looking for new opportunities. Good luck to him.



I like Dougie Hamilton a lot and the Oilers could certainly use a bona fide first-pairing defenseman, which he appears to be. That said, I don’t like him enough to tender an offer sheet on him to pry him away from the Boston Bruins when the price is likely going be at least $7.5 million and four draft picks (two first-rounders, a second and a third at that salary).

There’s no question Hamilton, 21, is an intriguing player, especially for a team needing what he brings to the table like the Oilers, but that asking price isn’t a gamble I’m willing to take on a blueliner with just 178 NHL games on his resume. New Oiler GM Peter Chiarelli knows Hamilton better than I do, and he might feel differently. It would certainly be the kind of bold move former GM Craig MacTavish never delivered on.

Jason Gregor and I were discussing the possibility of offer-sheeting Hamilton on his show today. What struck both of is we won’t know what Hamilton’s top end is yet. While those who believe an offer sheet is a good idea suggest his ceiling is high based on his first three seasons, we’re still talking about what he might become, not what he is now. 

How much better will Hamilton be than Darnell Nurse or Oscar Klefbom two years from now? Hamilton is certainly better than both of them today, but does he widen the gap without the group he had around him in Boston or might Nurse and/or Klefbom narrow it? Will the difference be worth the over pay in salary and those four picks? Maybe yes. Maybe no.

Like I said, Chiarelli knows Hamilton beyond what the numbers tell us way better than you or I do and he might be more of a gambler than I am, but at a price point that’ll prevent the Bruins from matching, I want a sure thing. I don’t see Hamilton as that.



  • Gary Bettman is stubborn if nothing else, but the latest deal that was in place to keep the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale – a $15-million subsidy per season that Glendale council defeated by a 5-2 vote today – was ridiculous. It’s past time to pull the pin on hockey in the desert. Bettman has a history of digging in his heels at times like this, but it’s time to walk away.
  • It shouldn’t be long now until McLellan officially names Jay Woodcroft, who was on his staff in San Jose, to Edmonton’s coaching staff. That bit of business will likely be done before the NHL Entry Draft.
  • I bumped into former Oiler and organizational farmhand Mike Bishai at an event last weekend. While Bishai, retired since the 2012-13 season, played just 14 NHL games with the Oilers, he’ll be forever remembered for the scrap that saw him standing in the bench of the Atlanta Thrashers throwing punches. 

#EPSstrong T-Shirts for Charity

The fine folks at Print Machine designed a commemorative #EPSstrong t-shirt with the goal of raising as much money for the family of Constable Daniel Woodall as possible. If you’re looking to pick one up to support the cause shirts are available here.

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

    • ubermiguel

      Maybe Chriarelli started the Hamilton-offer-sheet rumour to inflate his value and shake loose Chara or Seidenberg. I wouldn’t mind Chara as an Oilers for a couple of years to mentor the kids. And that shot from the point…we haven’t had someone with a shot like that since Souray.


    The problem is this:

    Dougie is proven 40 pt player

    and the Oilers have prospect players right now

    PC knows #27 like the back of his hand

    and offer sheet gets use want we need.

    we can’t wait forever. in 3 years the McDavid effect will cause MASS salary jumps

    strike while the iron is hot

    UFA cost more. 5.5 for fricken PETRY


    • Rob...

      I used to cheer for the Nordiques as an underdog long ago, but I can’t support moving a team to a city where they will need to be partially funded by government in a province that perpetually takes money from ‘have provinces’ while being the furthest thing from fiscally responsible, has a horrible human rights record, and stamps out english wherever it can.

          • T.J.F.M.

            I’m a little surprised you wouldn’t even try an offer sheet for Hamilton even at 7.5. If you don’t get him who are you gonna get? In a world where jeff petry makes 5.5 million, 7.5 for Hamilton isn’t really outrageous. Every team has bad contracts and over paid players. Who better to overpay then a 21 year old top pairing dman?

          • pkam

            What do you think of trading Klefbom and our 2016 1st to Boston for Hamilton?

            If we sign Hamilton to 8M offer sheet and Boston loses him to us, I bet they will look at getting back at us and Klefbom will be RFA next year. Klefbom’s 2nd year number in a bad team is pretty closed to Hamilton’s 2nd year number in a good team. So it is very likely Klefbom will be as good as good as Hamilton in his 3rd year. Now do we have another 7.5M to 8M to sign Klefbom?

            If Boston sign him to a 7.3M offer sheet are we going to match it with Nurse, Drisatle and McDavid on the line?

            If we lose Klefbom to Boston for 3 picks back, isn’t it the same to trade Klefbom and a 1st to Boston. Perhaps we can sign Hamilton to 7.5M instead of an offer sheet of 8M?

            Personally I don’t like the idea of signing Hamilton to an offer sheet when we have so many high draft picks turning RFA in the near future. Without Hamilton, we may have a chance to sign Klefbom, Drisatle and Nurse to around 6M long term, the structure set up by Tambo. One offer sheet of 7.5M+ will completely destroy it. Second, you can bet there will be a lot of offer sheets coming to us.

          • Zarny

            Here is the thing…if you are Don Sweeney would you rather have one 1st rnd pick and Klefbom or two 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd from an offer sheet.

            Bos isn’t going to do something this year based on maybe offer sheeting Klefbom next summer. What if the Oilers sign Klefbom to an extension in August?

            Not to mention, for the Oilers to not match an offer sheet for Klefbom Bos or any other team would have to do what Edm is contemplating and overpay. How much do you think Bos would have to offer for the Oilers to not match? Now ask yourself if Bos or any other team would want Klefbom at that cost? Doubtful.

            Offer sheeting Hamilton comes down to whether or not you believe in the player. You’re paying full market price plus a bit more. If you have any doubts that in 2-3 years Hamilton can do what Keith and Hedman are doing in the playoffs this year you don’t offer sheet him. If you believe he’s that kind of player you probably do.

          • pkam

            I am not Sweeney so I can’t speak for him.

            I didn’t watch Hamilton play too much so I am using the stats for comparison.

            Klefbom had 20 pts in 60 games paired mostly with J. Schultz on a bad team this year (198 GF). Hamilton scored 25 pts in 65 games on a very good team (262 GF) in his 2nd year and paired mostly with Chara (I am not sure)? I wonder what would those stats be if Klefbom was a Bruins playing with Chara and Hamilton was an Oilers playing with J. Scultz.

            So if you ask me, if Hamilton worth 2 1st rounders, a 2nd and a 3rd, I have no doubt Klefbom should worth a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd.

            If we signed Hamilton to 8M and Klefbom post similar stats as Hamilton next season, what is the chance of Klefbom signing for around 6M long term? I believe it is very unlikely with the comparison. So we not only lose the RFA benefit in Hamilton, but likely the RFA benefit of Kelfbom and Nurse too.

          • Zarny

            Hamilton and Klefbom are the same age; born 33 days apart. If you are comparing Klefbom’s stats this year then Hamilton had 42 pts in 72 games not 25 pts in 65 games.

            I don’t think the Oilers would get a 1st, 2nd and 3rd for Klefbom right now. If he puts up 42 pts next year sure; but he hasn’t done enough to warrant that yet.

            So I suspect Bos would consider two 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd to have more value than a 1st plus Klefbom.

            I do think, however, that IF Bos was to do something like trade Hamilton they would prefer a deal that included players not just picks. I don’t think a 1st plus Klefbom is enough though.

          • pkam

            Because they were born 33 days apart so they should scored the same? So one plays 100 games more than the other doesn’t count? One play on a much better team than the other doesn’t count? One paired with a top 10 defenseman and one paired with a 3rd year defenseman who is still trying to figure out his game doesn’t count?

            The fact is Hamilton played his 2nd year on a much better team, had 25 more NHL games under his belt and better coach and better mentor, and only produced slightly better result than Klefbom. Can you imagine how Klefbom will do if he was given that kind of advantage?

            If you really want to compare, at least compare the stats after similar number of games, especially when they have under 300 games.

            Almost all Oilers are regressing under Eakins and Klefbom is the only exception. Can you imagine what he may look like with McLellan behind the bench? One year of good development in the early stage can make a huge difference. If I want to gamble, I’ll gamble on Klefbom now. My bet is he will turn out to be better than Hamilton.

          • Zarny

            Comparing a 20 y/o Hamilton to a 21 y/o Klefbom is not apples to apples.

            Both were drafted in 2011. Hamilton has played 100 more games because he is the better prospect. He was better when they were drafted and he’s been better every year since.

            It has nothing to do with gambling, but if it did that would be a bad bet.

          • M22

            So you don’t offer sheet Hamilton because you’d be scared they’d offer sheet Klefbom next year??

            If they don’t match the offer sheet for Hamilton and arnt willing to pay him, why would they be willing to give that money to Klefbom next year?? I’m confused

          • pkam

            Instead of paying Hamilton 8M, you can pay Klefbom (whose stats look pretty closed to Hamilton) 7.2M and get a 1st rounder and pay back the team who bullied you the year before, won’t you? I definitely will.

            They will need a top pairing defenseman if they lose Hamilton. And they will have the cap space after Lucic contract expires next season which they don’t have this year.

  • T.J.F.M.

    The one point that has not been mentioned on this site yet, is that Hamilton would have to SIGN THE OFFER SHEET. Meaning, the crazy ideas to offer anything less than $7M+ is ludicrous. He has stated that he wants north of $7M/year from Boston. If he was willing to take less, then there wouldn’t be a stalemate right now. He would have been signed.

    I would bet, for him to sign an offer sheet (in Edmonton, or anywhere else), his demands would be north of $7.5M/year; therefore, expect to give up the extra 2017 1st round pick.

    I, for one, am not opposed to submit an offer sheet. But we need to be realistic about what it would take to get Hamilton to sign it.

    If we are so willing to trade Eberle, Yak, Klefbom, etc. for Hamilton, then why not submit the offer sheet, and if Boston does not match it, then we can trade off Eberle, Yak or whomever else we feel is redundant, to other teams, and get some draft picks back.

    Toronto, Arizona, New Jersey, are just a few teams that really need a star forward that would easily pay us high draft picks, and they would likely be higher up then ours anyways (I hope).

    This would repay the picks that we give up for Hamilton. Seems like a no brainer, to me.

    • “I would bet, for him to sign an offer sheet (in Edmonton, or anywhere else), his demands would be north of $7.5M/year; therefore, expect to give up the extra 2017 1st round pick.”

      This is the scenario — four picks — discussed in the item.

    • T.J.F.M.

      Your solution is doubly flawed and would inevitably put us in a continued and perpetual rebuild , by ridding the likes of many important pieces just for one Hamilton .

    • You are forgetting about the McDavid factor.

      It doesn’t seem far fetched to me that Hamilton would rather take $6.5M/year to spend the next decade with the best prospect in recent memory over making $7.5 with a team on the decline.

      I think if the Oilers traded for Hamilton he would sign for reasonable dollars so long as the term is right.

  • Rob...

    Finally a reasonable opinion on the whole offer sheet thing………..Kudos to RB for stating what the repercussions would be on this strategy for acquiring a player.

    The damage this would cause has not been thoroughly discussed until now.

    Thanks Robin!

  • M22

    Let’s pretend, for a second, that the notion of offer-sheeting Hamilton never arose to begin with. And suppose somebody suggested that we trade four draft picks (two first-rounders, a second and a third, as per the author of this article) for Hamilton. Would all the people who are in favor of OS-ing Hamilton support this trade?

    Highly doubtful. Yet, that is, essentially, what it would come down to. Does this seem like good asset management? No, it doesn’t, so let’s drop this shiny object of a topic that doesn’t merit the buzz that it has created and perpetuated.

    Offer-sheeting is risky business. There is a reason it hardly ever happens, despite the fact that it is within the rules. It carries far too many unpredictable consequences – and Manager-types don’t like those. Chiarelli will NOT attempt it – mark my words.

  • BobbyCanuck

    I think back to Chiarelli’s comments when he was hired. Apart from commenting on the need to get bigger, heavier and giving stiffer competition, he said he wanted to see the current group perform so he could study in detail what the Oilers had and needed going forward. I don’t see him making a move like acquiring someone like Hamilton for at least a season.

    The long term ramifications of such a deal is incalculable. Two firsts, a second and a third is a long time to wait for another shot at a first round pick. I don’t think he is that impulsive. We will wait to see how the season unfolds. He has this next season to assess the organization before he has to start showing tangible results.

    I just don’t see the GM going down this road. At least not just yet. I think this story is a figment of the imagination from sports pundits desperate to create a buzz at this time of year in a market starved for hockey talk. Even fairy tales.

    • pkam

      I’m pretty sure that deaf, dumb, blind kid who plays mean pinball could tell the Oilers had bad D and badly need D.

      Guys like Hamilton aren’t often available in these kinds of circumstances. Add to this that there is nobody better-positioned to assess the player in question (and to know what Boston may or may not do) than our new GM, and it doesn’t take much imagination to know why this is a story.

  • TKB2677

    The defense and goaltending were the worst in the league. Just because the Oilers brought in a new GM, doesn’t mean they can sit back and continue to get their head kicked in like Mac T said was the plan. You don’t mortgage everything you have but you can’t go into next season not addressing the goaltending and not addressing the defense in some way. How can anyone accurately assess what you have in your team with goaltending and a defense core as bad as they were last season. I’m not saying you need to go from 3rd last to cup champs in 1 year but the Oilers goaltending and defense on many nights didn’t even allow them to be competitive, especially the first half of the season. With goaltending and defense that bad, it stunts everyone’s development.

  • A-Mc

    At this point i’m not even remotely interested in trading out pieces that are actually useful parts of the future, for anyone. We need to fill holes; not create new ones, or stand pat.

    If we’re adding Hamilton it has to be in addition to the young core we already have. The only subtractions i’m good with NN, Schultz or Ference, but none of them have trade value so the only way we’ll bail them is to buyout/let walk.

  • BobbyCanuck

    My take…it would appear form this site that it is evident in 3 yrs we will not be able to afford our core + Hamilton+McDavid

    Pinning our hopes on yet another 18 yr old? Sure, cause thats worked so well in the past

    Here is what you do…trade the first pick over all, for all that ails the Oilers.

    Unless ofcourse you all think our core is actually full of useless players that have carried this team to incredible 30th place finishes in the last several years. Than trade the core, start over.

    Why not? We have suffered for 9yrs, what wrong with another re-build, but this time it would be done by men, that actually do know a thing or two about winning.

    I don’t, we are not that far away from being in the play-offs, trading McJesus would get us there next year.

    A real trade though, something like Kopitar/Doughty/Quick straight up for our 1st and Eberle

    How far has Crosby/Malkin/Sutter/Parise/Weber et al taken there team, no where except the Cleaners. Long term deals, big money, effectively hamstringing the team for many many years, is that what we want from the Oil, one SUPERSTAR, and bunch of value contract? That is not going to get you a Cup.

    What to do? I dunno I am not in charge.

  • A-Mc

    I’m not really willing to compare Hamilton to Nurse and Klefbom,because the two we have are left shots,and after MacT challenged Petry right out the door,we desperately need a stud on the right side,and Hamilton fits the bill to a T (no pun intended)

    The problem for me with this offer sheet business,is what happens if Klefbom and Nurse do in fact become studs as well? What do you think they’ll demand at contract time? Uh,how about that $7.5m you gave Dougie Hamilton. Before you know it,we’ll have $21m tied up in 3 defensemen,another 10 for McDavid and so forth,and $31m in four players. Not to mention the 18 combined that is RNH,Hall and Ebs.

    This is the perfect Dman for the Oilers,but i just don’t see it happening.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    Bettman is so PC it is scary. He is so able to lie with a straight face. Telling us that there are no plans what so ever being explored if we have to move Phoenix. Of coarse there are plans this is a business and you prepare for all possibilities. I know that there is slowly growing interest in the Desert but it will be a minimum of 20 years before they come close to filling the rink. They need a deal with the Suns or move. Make a decision.

  • pkam

    Jay Bo and Duncan Keith were born less than 60 days apart and both drafted in 2002.

    When Keith played his rookie season in 2005, he scored 21 pts in 81 games. Jay Bo scored 46 pts in 82 games. In 2006-07, Keith scored 31 pts and Jay Bo scored 42 pts. So according to your logic, Jay Bo had been the better prospect, Jay Bo was better when they were drafted and had been the better player since so he would be the better player, right?

    Although they were at the same age, Jay Bo scored 26 pts more than Keith in 2005 because he has 140 more games under his belt and that makes a big difference. Keith finally caught up to Jay Bo after he got about 300 games and the 140 extra games became insignificant.

    When I look at these two players, I realized that the stats after 80 games are very similar but of course it is comparing apple to orange because Keith rookie season was in his draft + 3 and Jay Bo rookie season was his draft year, right?