The Oilers tried for Dougie Hamilton, and it wasn’t their fault they missed

Dougie Hamilton

The Edmonton Oilers were clearly interested in bringing Dougie Hamilton over from the Boston Bruins. Not only did they fail to do so, but Boston then turned around and flipped the 22-year-old top pairing defenceman to the Calgary Flames – and did it without even getting a roster player in exchange.

But it really wasn’t Peter Chiarelli’s fault.

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That’s really not much of a trade package for a player of Hamilton’s quality. It’s one the Oilers should have been able to best, even without dipping into their NHL roster; with the No. 16, 33 and 57 picks they could have offered the Bruins a better package in this year’s draft alone.

My first thought was that it was baffling that Edmonton wouldn’t make that offer. After some conversations, it became apparent that it wasn’t so much an offer the Oilers wouldn’t make as an offer the Bruins wouldn’t accept.

That was quickly confirmed on the Boston end:

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Peter Chiarelli was asked after the conclusion of the first round about what his discussions with Boston looked like. Did they ask for Nurse? No comment. Did the Bruins have an issue trading with him? No comment. Was he surprised by the team’s moves? No comment. Was his offer better than what the Bruins got? No comment again.

The only answer he did give, which was in response to the first question he took on Hamilton, went a long way toward confirming the reports out of Boston:

I had discussions with Don [Sweeney] for picks and other things. At the end of the day it was a different ask than what was the end result. Significantly different.

It’s an unfortunate result for the Oilers. Edmonton would greatly have benefited from the addition of Hamilton, particularly at the modest price of the No. 16, 33 and 57 picks. Lots has been written about how good a player the newest member of the Flames is; he’s the complete package and he’s already a top-pairing defenceman at a very young age. That he went to Calgary, a division rival of the Oilers, is a particularly unpleasant pill for Edmonton.

But there’s nothing to be done about it. Chiarelli obviously made an honest try; just as obviously Boston wasn’t willing to deal. That’s going to happen sometimes and it’s not the fault of Edmonton’s management.

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But while this is an unfortunate result for the Oilers, it’s an even worse one for the Bruins. Edmonton has made decisions in the past for reasons other than best hockey value – notably declining to trade Mike Comrie to Anaheim in a deal that would have seen Corey Perry come the other way – and it’s hurt the club badly. Boston’s likely to learn the same lesson.

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  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    I am very happy looking at the new line up of Oiler defenders coming in…. Klefbom, Nurse and now Reinhart, with Davidson make up a very good start to the back end.

    Concerning a new goalie or defenseman…. Nikitin should be a buyout while Ference, Schultz and Marancin are assets to trade. There are guys to move as well like Purcell and maybe Yak.

    Now if the Oilers can pick up one or two more top end type guys for vet support like a Sekera, Martin, maybe even Green then what a change that us Fans have been waiting so long for.

    Hell I am still game to cheer hugely if Chiarelli can somehow package next years number 1 plus another good pick along with some prospects and get Seabrook from Chicago.

    Now then the Oilers are in the driver seat against the league. We are on the right track and I am happy getting Connor first and Griffin second so far.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    The headlines out of Boston would have been bad, “Sweeney fleeced by ex-Bruin’s GM”. At least with the trade with Calgary, everyone in Boston is asking, “Calgary? What’s Calgary?”

  • toprightcorner

    Sweeney is obviously in way over his head. The trade with Calgary was a disaster and two of their three draft selection in the first half of the first round could easily have been picked up later. This is less a rebuild then a tear down. Or a surrender. They come out of the draft without their best young player and a signature forward in exchange for very little. When is Chara going? Glad I’m not a Bruins fan. They are a much weaker team with a saw-off at best in young players.

  • toprightcorner

    You are letting Chiarelli off to easily here.
    Trading Nurse for Hamilton, and keeping him out of Calgary at any cost should have been a priority.
    Reinhart is at best a stolid , limited defenceman, no #1.

    At some point, Chiarelli should have been motivated to deny this coup to Calgary at any cost.

    A blunder.

    • MacT's Neglected Helmet

      The goal is a winning Edmonton Oilers team.
      Sure, a losing Calgary Flames team would be nice for many Oilers fans, but that’s not the primary objective.

    • MacT's Neglected Helmet

      Nurse is gunna be better than Hamilton…Nurse is a stud! Good luck Cowtown on signing the rest of your D core when their contracts are up! Sweeney is off his rocker with the moves he made! The only thing he did right was trying to get Nurse in that deal! PC did the right thing not trading him!

    • Mac07

      Fist of all. How is Chiarelli to know where Hamilton would end up. 2nd. Nurse will prove to be just as good as Hamilton. Now try to sign him and not lose anyone. Won’t happen.

  • smith

    Nurse will be a good player I would expect but saying will be better than Hamilton seems unlikely.

    Hamilton is only a year and half older and is a #1 defensemen. Same sort of path as Peterangelo, Subban and Karlson. He was 23 in defence man points and has as good possession stats as people like Chara, Giodano etc… Have a look at his WOWY. Bergeron and Chara are both a lot better when playing with Hamilton.

    Nurse will be a very good player but looks like he will be slower to make an impact and the NHL than Hamilton. (he may end up being as good eventually it might just be a longer progression)

    The oiler failure was not getting an established defence man with their 16th and 32nd picks. Reinhart while his progression seems to have stalled now, may eventually make it as a good player but it will take time. Talbot is a young goalie who seems very good. How will he be after being shell shocked by 200 shots a game for the next couple years while the OIl wait for defence men to develop? Hopefully the Oilers can do something to add a couple of at least defensively capable d-men (and not bottom pairing ones).

    • Mac07

      HAHAHAHAHAHA dude Nurse was the best D-man at the world jrs and he’s way better skater than Hamilton…Nurse makes the team this year coz he’s that good. Everybody is entitled to a opinion but in 2 years Nurse is gunna be special. Hamilton played on a very good Boston team…if he’s playing on the Oil the last few years he wouldn’t be gettn 5-6 mil offers! Oil country would probably all over him like we are with shultz right now..yes he’s better than shultz but you get my point. The numbers don’t mean s..t

  • JackB

    The thing that I find most impressive about the Hamilton trade was the conduct our new GM !

    1) Chiarelli didn’t give in to Sweeney’s request for more than what Calgary was offering. He didn’t trade Nurse, who is going to be a Stud D (And in fact our offer of #16, #33 and #57 was probably better than Calgary’s offer of #15, #45 and #53)

    2) When questioned by the media as to the demand for Nurse, he declined to comment. THAT SHOWED CLASS!! . . . he refused to throw his old team under the bus . . . a team who fired him.

    He knows that he will have deal with Boston in future.


    OH . . . and he also out waited Sather (the Great White Shark) and we got the goalie most everyone wanted us to get . . . for an even lesser 2nd round pick (#57 not #33) and a 3rd rounder (the swap of 7th round picks was inconsequential)


  • JackB

    You know, we do have a pretty classy GM.

    He wouldn’t throw his old assistant GM, Sweeny, under the bus yesterday.

    And I bet he even feels badly that his old assistant is really screwing up Boston’s rebuild.

    Sweeny is actively showing that maybe Boston shouldn’t have fired Chiarelli. I wonder if there was some bad blood between he and Cam Neely?? There may have been, but Chairelli will never admit it – he’s too classy.

  • BigMcD

    Klefbom Franson

    Fayne Reinhart

    Nurse Ference


    Not the best but definitely an improvent. Just give Klefbomb and Nurse some more time and they could be very good.

    • smith

      What? How is that an improvement?

      Petry was the best defence man the oilers have. Did you not see how effective he was for an actual playoff team? Reinhart is very doubtful to be ready for the NHL. Nurse probably is ready for NHL but might be best spending some time in AHL. Franson is not capable of being a Number 1, and Klefbom is a somophore. Did you not see what happened to Maricin in his second year? If you do not start sheltering some young d-man they will not be developing too well. Nurse, Klefbom and Reinhart can be good defence-men in a few years. Shelter them and develop them appropriately for once.

      Gryba is no more relevant than Aulie and certainly does not shelter anyone.

  • smith

    Ok Oilers fans, you should not be so concerned about the one who got away! You just got one of the best players o come along in 10 years! You have has numerous 1st round, 1st picks and many others, and on paper your team has nothing but potential. Myself, grew up in S Alberta, was a Rangers and Oilers fan…forever. Moved to Calgary, and of course have become a Flames fan, you live here and you cheer here. Having said that a rare bird who would cheer on the Oil when they make the playoffs…except, well you. The Flames needed a bit of luck, we had no picks, very few players to leverage into picks and a pile of picks traded away by Sutter(GM days). We go lucky with Johnny, Monaghan and maybe Bennett. Gio stepped up. remember he went on a sabbatical to Russia, at one time…hardly a top D man. So we got Hamilton, look what you got over the last 10 years. Personally, I think the Oilers needed a top notch coach…it matters, and at least one good driver ala Messier. Had the good fortune to live in Edm in the later 80’2 early 90’s, when Gretsky got traded, but took nothing but pleasure to see the Oilers and Rangers win cups with Messier leading. So, good leader, good coach, and strong players (mostly), you should enjoy the ride, better to win when you don’t expect it…that’s what we are experiencing in Calgary!

  • smith

    I think the oiler fans are in a dream. Anyone in same draft positions would have taken the majority of selections in the first round over the years. They are sure gonna wish they took bennett over Leon. Bennett should win the calder. The rest of the rounds in the draft are for professional scouts. The oilers lost out on the hamilton deal because of pc history with the bruins. Winsome lose some. You got all your good draft luck and for most part have squandered it. The whole NHL agrees. I hope good things for connor in spite of the oilers no honour for connor 2014 2015 season. I truly feel sorry for him when thousands show up for a practice and cheer every time he scores. Can you imagine the pressure there is on this 18 year old kid. The coach is going to have to protect him the first year. Good luck to the oilers and now maybe play with some class and quit trying to lose every night for a draft pick.