It has been a crazy day in the NHL, though not with respect to the Edmonton Oilers. Watching Seth Jones get dealt to Columbus got me thinking about the possibility of the Oilers addressing their own problems on right defence.
In this edition of What Would You Do Wednesday, we ask whether from an Oilers perspective you would agree to a trade which saw Oscar Klefbom go to New York in exchange for Travis Hamonic.
The key arguments in favour of Hamonic over Klefbom are that he’s far more established and that he’s a right shot. He plays more minutes for New York and is a proven shutdown option; we can see too that his on-ice shot metrics are better both in raw form and relative to his team than Klefbom’s are. That he’s a right shot would allow the Oilers to put him on his natural side and run Andrej Sekera, Brandon Davidson and Darnell Nurse on the left. He’s also slightly cheaper.
The key points in favour of Klefbom are significant, though. They start with the facts that he’s bigger, younger and signed for three years longer at a very comparable cap hit. So far, he’s also shown more offensive potential at the NHL level, as his scoring rates at both even-strength and on the power play are better than Hamonic’s totals.
Would You Do It?
To me, it’s nutty to casually dismiss Klefbom as a replaceable piece. At the age of 22, still years from his prime, he’s a shockingly good defenceman who combines size, speed and ability with the puck. He’s signed long-term at a discount rate and there’s a pretty good argument that he’s currently the best defenceman on the Oilers’ roster.
There’s no reason to move him. Along with Nurse, he’s a foundation piece on the left side.
I’m also not at all convinced an in-season trade for Hamonic is a good move for the Oilers if the ask back is a defenceman. The Isles obviously can’t afford to take Hamonic off their blue line in-season without replacing him, but things change in the summer, when they might be more amenable to a different kind of return. Edmonton isn’t going to win the Stanley Cup this year; it makes sense to have a bit more patience and perhaps make a better trade in the summer.
But that’s my point of view, and WWYDW is all about the comments section. Would you move Klefbom for Hamonic? Is Hamonic even the player who should be at the top of Edmonton’s wishlist?