DID SOMEONE SAY BOLD?

The Peter Chiarelli Fix-It Shop has been making slow and measured additions through the season, with Zack Kassian being a recent (and effective) example. Based on what we heard this afternoon, perhaps there is a (massive) shoe to drop in the coming days.

CONTEXT

When it comes to the Oilers roster, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Edmonton needs defensemen, has some areas of strength (left-handed defense, forward) and have already made a roster move during the All-Star layoff (claiming defender Adam Clendening via waivers). In conversation with Bob Stauffer earlier today, Elliotte Friedman riffed some pretty impressive thoughts that have Oilersnation chattering non-stop on the interwebs.

The first item, which led off this article, has to do with Edmonton shopping/trading one of two big names, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Both men have had impressive early careers in Edmonton, and were generally regarded as part of the solution before Peter Chiarelli arrived. No doubt in anyone’s mind you have to give in order to get, and that may be what we see in the coming hours and days.

Travis Hamonic has been discussed at length here and elsewhere as a possible trade option, he is RH and plays the tough minutes in New York successfully. The Islanders are contending for the playoffs and are no doubt hoping for a deep run, so one wonders why they would deal this player before summer. The fact Friedman mentions Nugent-Hopkins as a possible trade option further leads me to think this is an off-season move.

ANYTHING SHORT TERM?

The addition of Clendening may indicate the Oilers have a new home for Justin Schultz. What began as a very promising (and surprising) free-agent addition appears destined to end in a secondary transaction. I think the deal, when it comes, should be viewed as a reflection of the Oilers inability to develop young players AND Schultz’ difficulty in moving forward at the NHL level. One hopes both sides flourish in the years ahead.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Elliotte Friedman is whatever comes after ‘bona fide’ in the dictionary, so there is something here. We can talk about a $6M Eberle or Nuge for Hamonic and other items that might be included in the deal, I would hope the Oilers have a veteran center coming back in the transaction.

This is the real stuff, the breakup of the brilliant team that never was appears imminent. This may be something we need to file away until draft day, but the Oilers and Islanders appear to be locked on each other and there are certainly assets on both sides that fill needs on the other.

We wait.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    Ebs is a solid Oiler but unfortunately his salary and age make him a trade chip for a D. Crazy to think the Oil are now potentially deep at C that priority could be to draft another winger to grow with McDavid. Laine looked like a stud at the WJC.

  • paul wodehouse

    …I too like it when the fanbase of the 80s speaks up and says the things they say …I witnessed the glory days from start to dismantle …mark took over the team and won yet another cup but that was just because privately, people said that it wouldn’t be possible to crawl out from under 99s shadow even WITH the great one in Inglewood California…messier was tough like that…he just went warrior and proved everyone wrong…this whole issue that this team needs that 1st pairing Dman is still ever so boringly contentious and I’m of the mind that a team may now, in this era, require that ‘special’ player to win cups but I remember the D corps of the last year 99 would win a cup and it really wasn’t all that stellar…Coffey was gone and there really wasn’t a HOFer anywhere back there … so alexander imho you’re correct in saying trading RNH would be a mistake because with a healthy (like gretzky healthy) Connor McDavid going at the pace he’s going to go on through his career in YEG this team does NOT need HOF Dmen…they need to build around those three centres and do what any team needs to do to win…score more goals than the other guys…period…check the stats from that last year and see that the oilers were out shot marginally…like 2200 shots for and 2270ish against…Grant Fuhr sported a not so HOF average of .880 but the team scored more goals ALWAYS…Slats loved to say if they score 5 goals on us we’ll just score 7 or 8… no reason at all that this club can’t just out score the opposition and still just have an average D corps…at least 3 upgrades (not HOFers) on the back end would be a start…if the 3 Cs 93 97 29 stay…the trade bait is in the wingers…the better the winger the more coming back including good serviceable (Huddy like) Dmen and like alexander I have no names to offer but that’s why there is a GM in place not named Lowe.

    Stick around… this’ll be interesting!

  • AJ88

    I don’t usually disagree with what you have to say LT, but I don’t think the following quote is true. I think this is more on Schultz than on the Oilers. The quote I disagree with is:

    “I think the deal, when it comes, should be viewed as a reflection of the Oilers inability to develop young players AND Schultz’ difficulty in moving forward at the NHL level.”

    I think rather it’s a reflection of the Oilers’ inability to help struggling young players through slumps and transition periods (from a fringe NHLer to a full time player, for instance). The “support” is lacking, not the development. We’ve pumped out lots of great young players (Petry, Dubnyk, to name some prominent excamples), but we are unable to retain them either because the team either is unable to gauge their full value, or de-value them by flushing them out when they struggle. A lot of talented players go through slumps and struggle but being able to coach them through it is what is important.

    Mind you, some players need a change of scenery to fluorish, no doubt.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      In regards to Shultz, I don’t think it’s on the organization when he only has 5, yes 5 pp goals in his career. Should the organization kept him in the minors for the full year after the lockout most definitely, but as a “offensive defenceman” the guy should be producing a hell of a lot more than what he has over his career. That’s on the player.

  • vetinari

    People complaining about moving out RNH, Eberle, whoever? This is the core of bottom feeding NHL club. A chronic bottom feeding NHL club? Changing nothing except around the edges gives you the same result year after year after year. Chia at least knows what good defence men look like and I am happier and more confident that if a core forward has to go to get a decent defence man in return, that he is the one making the decision.

  • bazmagoo

    Having a top 4 of Hamonic, Klefbom, Sekera, Nurse or Davidson would be a big improvement on what we currently have. With Fayne, Gryba, Reinhart, Clendening as well we could actually talk about depth on d.

    • Zarny

      Neither Nurse nor Davidson are top 4 D right now.

      Davidson will likely never be good enough for top 4 duties. He doesn’t even make most NHL rosters.

      Nurse will undoubtedly be a top 4 D and likely top pair quality. Not this year though and likely not next year or possibly the year after.

  • CanaDave

    I’m still in the cap that the Oilers made their bold moves last spring when they brought in Chiarelli and McLellan. To me at that point you had to draw a line in the sand and say that while the last 9 years were painful to watch, this is only the first year for the new new new regime, and based on recent history I think the boldest move the Oilers will make this year will be if they don’t fire the coach and GM at the end of the season.

    Why would you realistically at this point expect Drai to do any better moving forward than Gagner or RNH? Just because he’s put up good numbers for half a season while playing with all star level Taylor Hall isn’t it somewhere between optimistic and unrealistic to expect his development to continue on a straight upward line with no dips or regressions? Does the 250 more NHL games of potential inside Drai tip the scale in his favor that much to us armchair GM’s? And if you do believe that Drai is going to be worth more than RNH, wouldn’t the bold move be to move him while his value is at a max?

    I’d also argue that the bold move would be to trade Nurse for Hamonic tomorrow if Hamonic has been identified by management as a piece the Oilers want to make part of the long term plans. A lot of people who’ve watched Nurse’s game peak and valley over the last few months would probably acknowledge that his game is at least a couple season away from being at an elite NHL level every night, and if you really want to win now you trade that potential for the player who will in fact help you win games now.

  • Zarny

    Trading one of the young F has always been inevitable.

    The Oilers should have done it 3 years ago; but management, like many fans, couldn’t part with a shiny bobble and decided to wait.

    And now they sit tied for 30th, again, because the Oilers D is, again, one of the worst in the league and waiting for Nurse, Klefbom or any draft pick has never been and will never be the answer.

    Nuge or Eberle are the logical choices to go with Eberle #1 simply because he’s a winger.

    Both are tremendous players. Elite. That’s what you need to part with for quality in return. It’s that simple.

    Neither is untouchable. They aren’t “legendary”. They are simply an asset and it’s long past due for the Oilers to rebalance their roster.

  • bazmagoo

    Or how about that time Hall tried to go through a wall using clutterbuck as a battering ram. I’m starting to think going through walls is a negative thing.

  • Zarny

    @bazmagoo

    Ok. When?

    Obviously adding Hamonic alone would make the Oilers top 4 better; but 4 of the 5 players you list are what the Oilers have right now. And it’s one of the worst bluelines in the league. Still.

    Right now, your top 4 D only has 3 players – Sekera, Hamonic and Klefbom. And on many nights this year Klefbom’s game hasn’t been top 4 and you’re down to 2.

    I like Davidson but he doesn’t even make many NHL teams. Maybe he becomes a great surprise, but he also may never be more than 6/7 D on a contending team. I am confident Klefbom and Nurse will be consistent top 4 D some day. It won’t be surprising if both look more like bottom pair for 30+ games over the next couple of seasons.

    Not to mention injuries; which always happen.

    For the next 2 seasons Chiarelli should be targeting a top 4 D that includes Sekera, a trade acquisition like Hamonic, another legit top 4 D with Klefbom and Nurse battling for the 4th spot. If you’re lucky they won’t struggle on the same night.

  • harborman

    1. Eberle and Davidson for Hamonic. Chia should go hard and if he has to, add more to make it happen.

    2. Hall, Schultz and 2nd round pick 2016 for Alex Pietrangelo. St Louis needs scoring help and if they dealt Pietrangelo they can extend Shattenkirk and take him off the trade market. The draft pick is very enticing also as it will be 33 to 37.

    3. We as Oiler fans have really elevated opinions as to how good our players are, which is not shared by a good many of the other 29 GM’s. Hall is certainly tradable and should be for a stud D man. Trading Nuge is crazy,as having a good young 2 way center is something you don’t trade. He would do just fine in Hall’s spot on left wing.

    Before anyone says you can’t get Pietrangelo in a trade,remember everyone has a price and Chia has to be willing to be bold.

    • AJ88

      If you could transport the Chicago Black Hawks into the Edmonton Oilers , management would still somehow make this team a non playoff team.

      It’s in their nature.

  • Bucknuck

    I wish this team could stay healthy so the new management could properly assess what they have. Hell, as a fan base I think we deserved to see a healthy team, but the season is 2/3 over and the oil are in the lottery again so I think the writing is on the wall for somebody. They need help on Defense. End of story.

    Recent injuries to RNH and McDavid Earlier should stress how important depth at centre is and I hope they aren’t stupid enough to jeopardize it.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    As a group, Oiler fans are insane.

    The Oilers have been the worst team in the NHL for the the last ten years despite having been gifted with numerous first overall draft picks. We have seen little or no team improvement and yet people are saying that “the Core” is untouchable. That is insane my friends. Any player not named McDavid must be available if the trade proposal will improve this team

    In the “old days” the Oilers were Gretzky’s team. When he was traded they became Messier’s team. The point is that a team really only has one leader. I believe the Oilers have been Hall’s team and very soon will be McDavid’s team. When that transition occurs it will be necessary to trade Hall. My sincere hope is that we get solid assets in return.

    • Ready to Win

      The injuries have been a huge factor this season and for any other team to lose a conner mcdavid and Oscar klefbom for a significant period. I still believe in this core and would not move a hall or Hopkins right now. Once the team becomes completely healthy then one could make a judgement . It’s not an excuse it’s a factor .

  • OILFANMEXICO

    As nice as it would be to land a #1 d-man, in reality, we just need a d-man who can get the puck to our forwards. Right now we are stuck in our zone for way too long and it’s costing us. In saying this, i have to be honest,we also have the lowest percentage of offensive zone time. So you do the math. Why do we suck so bad in soo many areas. It time for real change because, our current roster just isn’t getting it done. McDavid, is the ONLY non touchable on this team.

    I am just sick of seeing our supposed “core” cough up the puck on our blue line, get easily checked off the puck and most of all they don’t play as a team because they don’t have “The boys on the bus” mentality. If we make more wholesale changes through trades again i will be very dissapointed. Remember that superstars like McDavid won’t want to sit on a 30th place team for years on end because management can’t put a solid team around him. The clock is ticking.