WWYDW: Should the Edmonton Oilers trade a star for a young defenceman?


It isn’t easy to land a really good defenceman in trade.

One very rarely sees the great ones moved unless there are internal factors (usually financial and/or trade request) that force a deal. It’s why the “trade Taylor Hall for Oliver Ekman-Larsson” talk is as nutty in its way as the “get Shea Weber” talk was a few years back. When they are moved, it isn’t usually a one-for-one deal; instead we see packages, like the ones the Oilers surrendered for Chris Pronger and the one they got back for him.

Occasionally, though, these players are available while there is still some question of whether or not they’re great. They still cost a bunch, but it happens. And that takes us to the question in the title.

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Some Examples

Peter Chiarelli

This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list, but it does highlight some examples of quality defencemen moving from one team to another at a young age:

  • 2001: Senators trade Alexei Yashin to the Islanders for a second overall pick, forward Bill Muckalt, and 24-year-old Zdeno Chara. Chara, of course, needs no introduction.
  • 2005: Ducks trade Sergei Fedorov and a fifth-round draft pick to Blue Jackets for forward Tyler Wright and 25-year-old Francois Beauchemin. Beauchemin would average 25:28 per game the next year as Anaheim won the Stanley Cup.
  • 2007: Bruins (Peter Chiarelli, btw) trade 24-year-old Brad Boyes to the Blues for 23-year-old Dennis Wideman. Wideman would score 50 points for Boston in 2008-09 and finish 11th in Norris Trophy voting.
  • 2009: Canadiens trade Scott Gomez, forward Tom Pyatt and the suspiciously named Michael Busto to the Rangers for Chris Higgins, 20-year-old Ryan McDonagh and defenceman Pavel Valentenko.
  • 2010: Thrashers trade a package of draft picks, prospects and forward Marty Reasoner to the Blackhawks for defenceman Brent Sopel, forward Ben Eager and 25-year-old Dustin Byfuglien. Byfuglien would score 53 points and finish seventh in Norris Trophy voting the next year.
  • 2011: Penguins trade 25-year-old Alex Golisgoski to the Stars for forward James Neal and 24-year-old Matt Niskanen. Niskanen has since developed into a workhorse, which Goligoski already was.

There are a couple of examples of teams trading established talent (Yashin, Gomez, Fedorov) for a package that includes a good young defence prospect who later developed (though Beauchemin was sneaky-good when Anaheim grabbed him); that kind of trade happens far more frequently than the star-for-star deal people like to speculate about. The closest I could find to the latter example in recent years was Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson, and nobody wants to be the G.M. who trades Carter for Johnson.

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The key thing with the Yashin/Gomez/Fedorov deals was that the forward in question was in every case already past his peak years of production. Teams that make those deals frequently end up winning them. That makes it a dangerous option for the Oilers, because the oldest star forward they have to deal is Jordan Eberle, who is only 25.

That – plus the fact that Peter Chiarelli was the architect – is what makes the 2007 trade of Boyes for Wideman so interesting. Boyes was having an off-year when he was moved, but the 24-year-old was coming off a 26-goal, 69-point campaign for Boston. Wideman was playing ~20 minutes/game but was trapped behind established options in St. Louis. That led the Bruins to trade their promising young forward for a promising young defenceman. Boyes ended up scoring 43 goals for the Blues the next year and 33 the year after, while Wideman’s value would have more sustainability.

Trading that Star

Again, as this bears repeating: It seems highly unlikely that any team in the league is going to trade Ekman-Larsson or the like for any price. Teams that have franchise defencemen don’t trade them unless forced to by circumstance; it’s very, very tough to pry them loose.

That means targeting players before they hit that level, and generally going to teams that have a deep enough defence that losing a good young rearguard isn’t out of the question. It’s what Chiarelli did this summer with Griffin Reinhart, with the risk of course being that Reinhart may not evolve into a top-pair defender, but with the benefit being that the cost was draft picks rather than established talent.

If we’re aiming a little higher, who might we look at? Seth Jones in Nashville would be a great addition; he’s a 6’4” right-shooting defenceman with a complete skillset. Adam Larsson in New Jersey might be available; he’s a 6’3”, right-shooting defenceman and again one who has a variety of strengths. Ryan Murphy in Carolina is a one-way player, but he’s a puck-moving right-shot defenceman who is only 22 years old. Mark Pysyk is another player worth considering; his value is primarily defensive but he’s a good, young right-side option. Finally, Dougie Hamilton has had a rough ride early in Calgary; could the Flames bail on him early?

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Pysyk or Murphy might not cost that star player, but they also don’t have the ceiling of others on this list. So, dear readers: Is there a plausible deal you see which would see the Oilers send some young talent away to try and find a long-term answer on the right side of the defence? If so, what is it?

  • hagar

    How about using multiple future picks as trade bait? The oilers already have so much potential growing in the farm, and a roster full of super young number one picks just waiting for the rest of the team to be built around them.

    Getting a team that knows it is about to have the wheels fall off via cap crunch/aging players on the phone, offering them our next three first round picks for their impending rebuild…

    A teams stud dman would just waste away during a three year team re-build.. having three additional first round picks during a re-build would be huge.

  • Danglishish

    Funny that this is the topic considering after last nights game I thought about this a fair bit. Personally I don’t think it would happen, but I would look into trading Nuge + Schultz + 2nd rnd pick for Hedman (Or a similar package centering around Nuge). The reason I pick Nuge, as others have eluded to is that he is too similar to McDavid, but not as dynamic (not to mention McDavid hasn’t even grow as a player yet). Tampa is worried about Stamko’s extension and the follow-up with Hedman the year after. If there is any hope of getting a D-Man that good, he’s the one I’m going after.

  • fisherprice

    Anyone who thinks we’re getting Seth Jones is seriously dreaming. Almost as dumb as all the “trade so and so for Shea Weber” mentality that has permeated in Oiler circles for the last few years. I know there’s some thinking it might be possible just because Weber is already on the right side in Nashville, but Weber is entering his 30’s and while he may continue to be a workhorse for years, there is no guarantee. Jones is 21 years old and will likely be an all-star calibre defenceman for the next decade at least – he either gives Nashville a deadly 1-2 punch on the right side or can slot in and take over if anything were to happen to Weber’s level of play. I just don’t see any motivation for them to move him.

    Sigh. I dunno, there just isn’t really a quick fix here, as much as we’d like to believe there is. Quite frankly, I don’t think moving any of the young forwards is going to bring back a suitable return on defence. Young, mobile, minute-eating defencemen are the most valuable commodity in the league today, no one is giving them up unless you’re offering someone like McDavid or that defenceman specifically wants out of the current team they’re on.

    I think it might be worth it to target Adam Larsson as rumours seem to suggest he might be available and New Jersey is a wasteland on offence. Moving someone like Draisaitl would be the best option, but it’s more likely we’d have to move someone like Eberle or Nuge, which I’m not too crazy about. Either way, even if we nabbed Larsson he’s a solid young defenceman, but not someone who’s going to turn around this D overnight. It’s probably best at this point to hope Nurse develops into that guy, which I know is never going to be a suitable answer considering how long we’ve all waited at this point, but it might be the only realistic answer.

  • fisherprice

    I also don’t know what in the hell makes anyone think Arizona is inclined in the slightest to move OEL. Their prospect depth is way better at forward than D. Their main glaring deficiency is defensive depth. Why would they move their best defenceman? I would love to have OEL, don’t get me wrong, but c’mon people.

  • crackerjack14

    I can’t see other GMs in the west trading with EDM. So, you have to look to the east, and the pickings are slim. What about Bogosian or Hamonic? Wouldn’t the Islanders salivate over the idea of having Eberle play beside Tavares? Maybe Fayne and Okposo and some picks play a role in the deal?

  • Serious Gord

    The perfect scenario is one where teams trade strength/depth for strength/depth.

    That means in edms case a centreman.

    And the best trade option is rnh. Not drai as he adds physicality that the top two lines currently lack.

    So, what can the oil get with rnh?

    Seth Jones? Does EDM have to throw in a pick? Maybe.

    Would Nash deal jones? Difficult to imagine as they are playing pretty darn good right now.

    Larson in nj? That seems more likely.

    Beyond that the options get fuzzy.

    The primary task for chia is to decide who he wants to deal.

    I think he will deal rnh. By Xmas if possible.

  • Serious Gord

    I really like Nuge but he is the odd man out. Keep Davey and Drei.

    Chicago gave up Ladd and Big Buff and the Chicago fans moved on and the Hawks continue to win.

    Nuge would give us a real great defenseman, like Hamilton or Jones

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Seth Jones would be great, I wonder if a 4-1 could be possible

    Shultz, Dillon Simpson, 2016 2nd round pick, and Yakimov.

    There’s an interesting read at nhlnumbers by Cam Lewis about Nashville and their cap situation. Damn they have a good defence, and should have about 20mil or so possibly free in the next off season. They have the room to resign Forsberg and Jones, but it makes me wonder, can’t give 20min per night to all 6 dmen. Somebody could move.

  • Bucknuck

    This team is finally strong down the middle so of course people want to trade Draisaitl or the Nuge.

    Not sure if any team would go for it, but you have to think the 1st round pick of the oilers carries a lot of value right now.

    THAT is your big bargaining chip. If that and a NHL regular can’t get you something, then stand pat and see what Nurse and Klefbom become by the end of this season.

  • Ready to Win

    I am at a loss to understand the posts suggesting we trade Nuge. Sure in a couple of years we might MIGHT have three great offensive centers. But right now Draisaitl is a player who has never had any success in the NHL or even the AHL. (never mind that he and McD don’t have 10 career goals between them)

    The much maligned group of centers that started 2014-2015 for the Oilers had more experience than the group we’d have tomorrow if we traded Nuge today.

  • We can dream all we want, but the Coyotes will not trade OEL or Nashville trading away Jones. Unless they get something Huge in return. IF I made a trade I would look at clubs who are hurting right now at a certain position. That club is St. Louis.
    If I had to make a trade, it would be for Carl Gunnarsson.
    -Decent size: 6’2, 195-200
    -Shoots: Left (I know a righty would be nice)
    -Reasonable Cap #: $2.95 Million
    -Positives: Cap Number-Very Good Skater-Moves the puck very well in tight areas-Can be count on to be a shut down guy if asked-He is only 28.
    -negatives: Not a big numbers guy-not overly physical…
    #I got these Cliff Note Stats from The Hockey News. Com

    This would be my guy. Cheap, dependable, good skater and can HANDLE THE PUCK!!

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    If the McDavid explodes in points and looks really good the whole conversation will change next summer as players will want to play with him. This is not an unreasonable possibility from the small sample so far. I stand pat and give the young guys some time unless the real deal becomes available.

  • bradleypi

    Have to trade one of our young guns for a dman once we have a tight def then we can add to our front end or lets wait cause we will probably be getting the first overall pick this spring. Maybe there there will be a Jones or Ekblad available.

  • BabyNugeMonitor

    Target defensemen:

    Ryan Murray. Moving Yak for him 1v1 is reasonable from a draft pedigree perspective but less conceivable for Columbus to sign off given their tire fire start to the 2015-16 season.

    Olli Maatta. PIT is gearing up for another playoff push and with wishful thinking they would trade Maatta for steady veteran help at the deadline. Probably wishful thinking because EDM would have to give up someone better than Maatta in the short term and they do not have that piece.

    Bonus Penguin: Kris Letang. Given his medical history, maybe Pittsburgh would like to get out from his onerous contract and that might be a gamble Chiarelli entertains. Schultz for Letang? Probably wishful thinking.

    Less heralded alternatives: Jarred Tinordi (MON), Dylan McIlrath (NYR), Michael Del Zotto (PHI) plus Wayne Simmonds for Anton Lander or Justin Schultz plus Cap Space (Philly is in cap hell).

    • fisherprice

      None of those first 3 defencemen are remotely available. Columbus’ D Is awful and they’re not moving their best young d-man. Olli Maatta has been one of Pittsburgh’s bright spots these last couple of seasons and the depth he brings at such a low cost to their blue line is pretty essential if they’re going to make any deep playoff push in the next couple of seasons. Kris Letang may have some health issues that are worrisome, but he’s a legit Norris contender when healthy and is the motor that drives Pittsburgh’s transition game – not only is Schultz for Letang wishful thinking, but packaging Schultz with Nuge or Eberle would be wishful thinking itself.

      Sort of meh on Tinordi on Mcilrath – sure they wouldn’t be bad, if the price isn’t too high. Del Zotto is a better player than Schultz and Simmons is better than Lander, there is no reason for the Flyers to even entertain that trade idea. Del Zotto and Simmonds are actually two of the less onerous contracts on the Flyers books, not to mention Schultz is making close to what Del Zotto is anyway.

  • camdog

    Congrats to Perron for his first point of the season. It may have taken 9 games playing with 2 of the greatest players in the game, but finally he got er done.

    Last year at this time if I would have said the Oilers could have gotten Reinhart for Perron and a second everybody would have been happy with the move.

  • BobbyCanuck

    Trade Hall before he demands a trade in the next couple of weeks.

    Did you see his demeanor during the last game? He got a goal and an assist, if you recorded the game please watch those two moments…

    Something is going on, Hall has the look of someone whose dog just died.

    • BabyNugeMonitor

      I agree… Hall for Seth Jones. Hall is the one. THe only one we might get Seth for straight across. Hall is going to want out, and he does not elevate his line mates, like MCDavid, or Ebs do.

      Hall For Seth Jones…. It is the best move we could make.

      • BabyNugeMonitor

        I was asking for this last year, and again after game 2….

        Our Defense is a huge problem… as is our bottom 6.

        Chiarelli has not done really well in addressing our problems, if you ask me. I think we could have got more for our 16th and 30th picks then Reinhart. I would have rather taken the picks actually.


        Not very impressed with Korpikoski. Why not buy out Purcell and Nikitin (and maybe Scrivens).

        Bring Dr. Drai up. He can learn at this level. He was starting to play well last year near the end of his 39 games.

        Sekera, he seems to be coming around, and I think it was a good signing.

        Talbot… money, good move, as was Nilsson.

        We desperately need Ebs back. Ebs elevates RNH’s game… Hall does not!!!!!

    • fisherprice

      NO ONE asking out of Edmonton will ever be blamed….everyone knows this now.

      Hall and Ebbs may now have their highest trade values to date.

      23-8=15…………15 men excluding tenders…13 men must be held accountable for not embracing their roles.

      We have to many strong quiet types.Reactionary/tough types…predictable types opponents can anticipate……there is no gun-powder in the cannon.

      You TAKE to the ice…..you TAKE it to them….you TAKE libertys….you TAKE penalties…you TAKE shots you TAKE hits,you TAKE momentum,you TAKE points,you TAKE real-estate,you TAKE advantage .

      We need more takers and less givers….more purely urgent greedy nasty men.

      Mac-Ls valuations of his current roster are due NOW….PCs memo is coming soon….5 more games and she blows boys…..Mac-L IS THE RIGHT MAN….this Team needs cojones….men who are proud and motivated to accept and defend their roles as supports for elite Core offensive guys

      Mac-L knows how hard skill is to come by in he NHL ..he will rip the other 13 men to pieces before he surrenders irreplacable assets earned in the most unbelievable ways in a short time span in a historic manner.

      He is building a foundation from his existing Core in his 1st season…he isnt moving the Core, so they can keep the proper frame of mind and keep working hard as they are.

      Now its up to the Coaches to show the men pre-game where when and who to be hitting to add the now diagnosed as missing pro-active timely process supported CONTACT.

      I believe Mac-L can string together a 6+ game winning streak over the next 30 games …so steady as she goes,all is not lost by a long shot.Lets just clear the slate for now and begin the season again aiming for an over .500 record from here to the end.

    • Nonsense.

      Do you mean Hall’s assist where he made an all-world play, jumped in the air to celebrate, and then was the first guy to congratulate the goal scorer?

      This kind of comment is about as stupid as the ones people in Toronto were making about McDavid at the lottery.

  • BobbyCanuck

    If I’m the Coyotes, there is no way I’d trade OEL. If I’m the Preds, no way I’d trade Jones. I’m not a GM, but I would look at the overabundance of defensive prospects in Philly. They don’t rush their defensive prospects so you have draft+1, draft+2, and draft+3 defensive prospects.

    I think the catch would be taking on one of their poisonous contracts, like MacDonald or Lecavalier, in addition to their young defensive prospects.

    Winnipeg also seems a logical trading partner from looking at defensive prospects.

  • Jaxon

    Trade Schultz to a team that can put him on the 3rd pair and use him as a power play specialist. You’re not going to get a Seth Jones or anything like that, but I think you could get a Madison Bowey. Washington is close to cap so the Oilers would have to take back salary.

    Schultz (1 x 3.9M), Musil (1 x 0.9M) and Moroz (2 x 0.875M) to Washington for Madison Bowey (3 x 0.7M), Brooks Laich (2 x 4.5M) and Riley Barber (3 x 0.7M). Laich is one of the most expensive 4th line wingers in the NHL, but Bowey could turn into a workhorse like Nurse and he’s a righ-hand shot. Nurse, McDavid and Bowey played together on the World Juniors where Bowey was the top scoring D. Bowey also played with Draisaitl in Kelowna where he was their top scoring D on their run for the Memorial Cup. He’s 20 yrs old, 6′-2″, 209 lbs. Oilers salary goes up by 225k, Washington’s goes down by 225k.

    • Randaman

      Not the #1/2 D that everyone wants so badly but Madison Bowey is going to be a quality top 4 in my opinion. I doubt Washington parts with him this early in his career

      Good thought though

      • Jaxon

        True, but if Washington is making run at a Cup this year, they might look at Schultz as more immediate help and may be happy to dump Laich. Maybe throw in a Klinkhammer for 4th line replacement.

  • Danglishish

    The only reason why you’d want to trade is if you’re having cap issues.

    Are the Oilers really in dire straits in regards to the cap? I don’t think so.

    Grab some great UFA dmen this next offseason, and the Oilers are sitting pretty.

    • Randaman

      I looked at the list of upcoming UFA defence men and the only top tier guy available is Buff.

      I think he and his agent probably know this and will use that to their advantage.
      He won’t be cheap but …

    • Danglishish

      Orrrrr, you may also want to trade if you have the weakest defense in the league, and have had the weakest defense in the league for 5+ years. Can’t win without a strong d.

      As far as grabbing UFA dmen in the offseason, how is this different then what we’ve done the past 5 years? How has that panned out? Not exactly “sitting pretty,” are we? Our entire d-core (with the exception of Nurse) is made up of guys who were good at one time, showed potential at one time, or are not yet good.

      I’ll say it again – Until we have a legitimate stud d-man who plays 26+ minutes and is a shutdown guy, we will not be competitive. You don’t find these guys as UFAs… you have to trade for them, and you have to be willing to pay a price. We’re 9 years into a rebuild – maybe time to take the plunge?

  • sportsjunkie007

    I wouldn’t trade any of our top players… right now. Once we have established depth up front then we trade as we must to fill up gaps where needed (currently top-pairing defensemen, but I expect Nurse and Klefbom to mature into those roles).


    NO NO NO NO NO do not trade Leon!!!!!!….. If we still had petry things would be different. and tbh I wish perron was still here. I know alot of talk got out that he wanted to get traded. But we need players who get inside the opponents heads.
    Until now In order for us to win games we have to play a close to perfect game and that cannot happen every game. almost every time we make a mistake the other team has a grade A scoring chance and that’s horrific. Call it bad defending, call it what ever you want but the most important thing is to fix the players’ mindsets. the last two minnesota goals should not happen like that. the players need to learn to let go of their mistakes and focus on the next shift. once we sort this crap out we’ll rip almost every team apart except teams with a great #1 defenceman.
    HAPPY THAT THE MACYAKPOU LINE IS CLICKING, or are they!!!!!!!!!!?????????


    We could always just wait until we get the Austin Matthews pick then choose just about any defenceman we want…. But I’m kinda tired of watching terrible hockey


    All of our best trade bait options are young. No way we give them up!

    Perhaps we can get Petry from the Habs…..

    Lets field a full team with no Top 6 F or Top 4 D injuries and see how we do. I know injuries are part of the game but vs. Montreal we will field 5/23 players that started the year in the AHL. That is not normal.

    Stay the course, field a top 4 D and top 6 F with regulars and see how the team performs before pushing a desperation trade.

  • fisherprice

    Frankly trading for eol, jones, or adam larsson probably wont happen. First because I dont think we are gonna part with any of the core forwards. Other teams will ask for driasitl and the oil are gonna say hes worth equal to a seth jones/eol. The oilers are gonna look to move deal by offering schultz with the oilers 2nd tier prospects(yakimov, lander, slepyshev) and either this years or next years first round pick. What they can get from there depends on the other team. I cant see the oilers offering any more then that and personally I think they are gonna look at either jakob trouba or adam larsson as I cant see jones being traded at all he is their future when they auction off weber in 2/3years. Other then that the oilers will continue to ask about low investment dmen like jared tinordi or mark pysk or kokekoek from tb