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.

  • Spoils

    a #1D is not the same as a top pairing guy. There are 3 types of D.

    A) #1D
    B) top 4 D
    C) bottom pairing D

    I’d prefer to go after a younger player that has a shot at being a legit #1, as opposed to a #2-4 guy to help this season.

    3 scoring lines (Drai, McDai, Nugeay) is worth more than having a Hamonic.

    if we move a Nuge. I’d like to bundle that with a 1st pick and a quality add-on, or something like that to try and return a guy who has a real chance at being a #1

    There are maybe 10 #1Ds in the NHL. No team has won a Stanley Cup in recent memory without a #1.

    • ThinkingOutLoud

      At this point if the Oilers were to acquire a young potential #1 dman he wouldn’t amount to more than a #3. You can’t just have a blueline made up entirely of 20 year olds and expect them to develop. Young dmen learn from veteran dmen.

      I think we need a guy with 3 or 4 years under his belt (Hamonic). Give Nurse and/or Klefbom a chance to develop into that role.

  • Spoils

    If you get Anders Lee and Travis Hamonic, then a RNH to Long Islamd trade doesn’t seem as crazy. Obviously there’d be more pieces but I wonder if that’s where this is heading.

  • Jordanzza

    I understand the price tag involved with trading eberle and since 6 mil … But why on earth are we discussing trading Eberle instead of Yakupov ?? As of right now yakupov is the worst first overall draft pick since dipeitro. Please trade yakupov instead of eberle, eberle is proven scorer and would be a lot better playing with mcdavid then yak. First overall pick has 4 goals I’m 20 odd games. B-r-u-t-a-l

      • LibrarianMike

        Fair enough, I definitely don’t disagree with you, but you have to seriously look at yakupov over eberle. Eberle will always fetch us a return in some way/some what fair value. What happens if yakupov has two more subpar seasons and trading a 1st overall pick for an ales hemsky in his twilight career. Trading from strength as in keeping eberle till the summer for our big 1# defencemen push. Hell keep both till the summer. Don’t rush a trade right now with eberle.

    • Lowe But Now High Expectations

      What makes you believe Eberle is a proven scorer. Other than one season, his point totals for the $6 million are not nearly high enough. Add the fact he’s soft and too often looks disinterested. Sadly, NHL opponents figured out the toe drag move pretty quickly.

      Though I’m not completely sold on Yakupov, he’s never consistently played with good linemates. And Eakins killed his confidence.

      • I Remember the Orange Jerseys

        Agreed. I think we’re still a year or two away from seeing Yak’s ceiling as a player, whereas I believe we’ve already seen Eberle as good as he’s going to get.

        When and if this team ever makes the playoffs again, I envision Eberle being a complete non-factor. I don’t think he has the drive or the fortitude to excel at playoff hockey at the NHL level, especially in the west.

  • I would be ok with RNH going out, as long as there’s a plan to replace him on the depth chart. We can’t count on McD and Drai alone to carry us to the play offs next year; we need some veteran presence at centre in our top 6. Currently, that’s RNH. The fact that I just typed that – a 22 year old is our veteran centre – made me just cringe. No wonder the Oilers are are perennial bottom feeders.

  • S cottV

    It’s way more important to have a solid d corps – than to have 3 scoring lines.

    A solid d corps will contribute to offence – directly and indirectly – let alone, but just as important – keep the puck out of our net.

    Even Lander could score the odd goal and or assist with a solid d corps.

    I’ve always thought that it would take RNH as part of the solution, but if Eberle suffices (still doubt it) – great.

    I would really like to see if RNH can be a high end winger, part time centreman – worth $6mm. His hand injury is a major pain – for a lot of reasons.

  • vetinari

    Yakupov has value, he was 1st overall three and half years ago. His skill is obvious, potential is still high (although maybe more of a 30 goal scorer than a 40 guy, but maybe 35 with McDavid…). He’s on a cheap deal. He is talented, he has shown great character, he has proven with his McDavid chemistry that he can play with a top line centre.

    I’d rather trade yak than Eberle.

    Ebs is more expensive but he has already proven he can score 30. On McDavid’s wing he could get 40.

    Don’t screw up here Chia. You’re losing on your first big deal (Reinhart), don’t do it again now.

  • S cottV

    I don’t even see how this is an issue. If you can pick up a top-2 D who is very affordable, and you have to give up Eberle, then why not?

    If you’re moving Purcell for a draft pick, then Eberle and the Purcell pick for Hamonic.

  • R U Kidding Me!

    There are some commenters here – as well as in Lowetide’s own blog – who have stated a number of times that the day Nuge is traded their very loyalty to that team will be challenged at the maximum.

    I am not a regular poster (although whenever I want to know something Oilers related I always turn to Mr. Mitchell) but I will support with my two cents the Nuge supporters position.

    If one were to look at the entire 50 man roster of that club and one were asked – today – who is the most rounded and most complete 200 foot player out of all 50, along with stellar years ahead of him in his career as he further develops, I doubt anyone who knows what he is looking at on the ice would call any other name but RNH’s.

    The Great One exempted, RNH is as complete a player and as intelligent as I have ever seen on the team in all of the 37 years I have been close to that team. In the 80’s one might say I was as close as any of the great Oiler players of the time as I was honored by the personal friendship of most of them.

    I dare make this statement: If Chia trades Nuge during this or next season for anything less than the un-tradeables of the Doughty rare variety (no team would ever let one of those out of their sight), I call him here and in public an absolute Moron! And of course I stop my 37 year loyalty to that team dead on its tracks. I think we put up with enough incompetents over the last 15 years, I do not have another 15 years to live at my age…

    Not because I am some fanatic person-fan (at my age we are passed these kinds of things) nor because I think I am the smartest guy in the room. I would do it only because it makes absolutely NO sense for a potentially competitive team to trade center depth – at this stage in particular – and going forward.

    Go ahead and trade ANY winger (including the sacred Hall who has about as much hockey IQ and skill as Nuge has on his pinky finger), ANY currently existing D if you are to get real Ds back.

    But you build your team around the only three on this team who truly should be untouchables for the foreseeable future: McD, Nuge, Drai!

    Trade any of those 3 and what you are building is not a contender, it is another train-wreck “rebuild” which will also destroy the careers of many and even a McD…

    Chia is already in the books for trading away people who proved to be more that he thought… I hope he learned a lesson or two out of those experiences.

    Trading Nuge is NOT bold! It is STUPID!

    There…

    • Oil City Roller

      I can appreciate your position but I disagree. I think Nuge is a fantastic player and will be for years to come. However, this team has been abysmal for a decade now. It has to be obvious this team needs improvement on the blue line. If giving up Nuge is what it takes for this team to improve then you do it. If the 80’s showed us anything its that anyone can be traded.

      • OILFANMEXICO

        Well-meant disagreement is fine and – if anything – welcome in order to enhance perspective!

        I happen to agree with you and indeed the (late) 80s told us that! Yet, please note that those trades were made NOT to improve the team – instead they were made to DISMANTLE it so that the NHL would spread franchise players to other teams (particularly large centers like NY and LA = successful) to the much sought-after revenues of the US market!

        NHL found a very willing partner in Peter Pocklington struggling to save his business interests which were built on very flimsy capital foundation (not to mention the political furor over Gainers etc… History of Alberta politics/business dirty laundry not for here).

        The Oilers of the ’80s HAD to be dismantled piece by piece… By the NHL first and foremost! The NHL brass could not afford to have that team together, Toronto and Montreal interests were also up in arms – let alone the lucrative expansion fees for everyone in ownership.

        The Oilers of the 21st Century are nowhere near being a threat to anyone save and except to their long-suffering fans. And if Chia trades away our best and brightest I just happen to be someone who will not stand for it. I know that I am not much of a consequence as an individual. But I also know that there are a lot of knowledgeable fans who are not on any Oiler-interests funded group and they CAN think as well as trust their eyes.

        These fans are gonners, I am certain of that!

        All the power to the fans who are fed the “official” lines from Kingsway and the “informed” by “insiders” journalists(???).

        Have a great weekend!

    • OtOil

      If they did trade him, I’d expect PC to sign a veteran two-way C with size and FO ability, and say Hamonic + UFA C will make them more competitive. Then give a press conference and say it’s not personal, it’s just business.

      And for every fan that threatens to walk away, I’m sure they accept it as the cost of business, and that these fans will come back as soon as they make the playoffs.

      • Speed Junky

        Right you are my friend!

        Today it is Just Business!!!

        I’ll let you in a little “secret”: The 80’s team was not successful JUST because of exceptional talent or individual skill (which admittedly was present in overabundance), they were successful because they played FOR EACH-OTHER… No bad-apple ever lasted in that locker room, Mark made sure of that inside and out of the room and Sather had his back 100%.

        It was a business then too! But the MEN that consisted that team were no mama’s boys… Do you know why Mark turned out to be the leader he did? Because of his dad, Doug! There was no give in Doug, solid as a rock… And he expected his son to go through a wall for the team and his teammates, not the team to cater to his son to build his marketing brand…

        The current Oilers are just business,
        YOU ARE RIGHT!

        • Robert (AKA Hockey Fan)

          Players know the nature of the business. Of course we get attached to certain players though I want guys who can play the game as a team and work hard and play hard.

          Some of the players will be let go, and the ones who replace them will make the Oilers a better team. AS soon as the wins will come, so will the fans.

        • Word to the Bird

          I don’t see any of the current Oilers, except Hendricks, being one of those “go through the wall for his team and team mates” kind of guy.

          Maybe McDavid becomes that kind of guy, but they don’t have one in their top-6.

    • ThinkingOutLoud

      Oilers will not win with RNH as one of the three core players. Too soft.

      Watch how many times he does not come up with the puck or gets knocked off the puck

    • OILFANMEXICO

      I love it when fans from the dynasty years speak their minds(I’ve been a fan since 1982). I have to say i’m torn with trading Nuge. On one hand yes, he is a special talent with great hockey sense any team would love to have.On the other hand, where does he fit moving forward? Do you put talent like McDavid, Drai or Nuge on your third line? The other issue is if we put Drai. or Nuge on wing they are Lefties, so now Yak gets stuck on the third line. We need guys who don’t get caught and pinned on the boards, during the cycle or simply checked off the puck. As good as Nuge is he has been guilty for sometime of all these crimes. If we didn’t have such a log jam at center maybe Nuge would fit.

      • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

        I’d put Nuge or Dr Drai on the wing.After defense, Center depth I’d very important. Having Nuge or Drai on the wing keeps the center depth, while keeping the wingers skilled.

        • LibrarianMike

          I would also like to have keep Mcdavid, Drai and RNH but at this stage in the development of the Oilers it would be better to have 2 centers and 1 stud defenseman.

          • a lg dubl dubl

            If Chia can sign Drai to a 4.5-5 mil long term deal, and be able to keep all 3 centres for the foreseeable future whilst getting a stud dman would be better, imo.

            After watching Nuge go down and seeing the center depth after McDavid and Drai, yeesh!

            Center and Defensive depth are the 2 big qualities on a team.

          • a lg dubl dubl

            Agreed. But Nugent or Drain on the wings would replace Eberle’s production.While still being able to play Center due to injury. They would also be in grade on Eberle two way play. Both are bigger than Ebs and play better defensively. If they can start fighting for puck position we would have two solid top lines. Or would rather have lander centering your second line?

          • bazmagoo

            But, can offering Eberle garner a stud Dman? That’s the big question. Sure, it would great to keep all 3 centres AND acquire a top Dman, but can it be done?

            I doubt it.

      • Jay (not J)

        It’s a little dramatic don’t you think? Frankly when a fan who has endured what the Oilers have shoveled at us for the last 10 years says he’s going to stop now over a trade I have a lot of trouble believing him. Thank goodness the guy in charge has to take a more cerebral and less emotional approach to this.

      • bazmagoo

        Currently mainstream analysis is a player focused model which is heavily weighted on goal scoring and ability to create goal scoring opportunities through indirect metrics. Those who are deemed to be responsible for winning the game are rewarded handsomely.

        Given the dynamic nature of hockey, it is very difficult to describe a hockey system. We can all describe the 1-4, 2-1-2 and left wing lock, but it seems to provide little value on winning games.

        We already had a taste of what life would be like without Nuge’s ability to neutralize the opponent’s offense. Maybe McDavid can keep us distracted.

      • S cottV

        Thank you! It (thankfully) appears that a great number of people in ON see what we see. Judging by the 75%-25% in favor of props on the posting I put up (and I assume similar results in yours), it seems to me that most posters here – at a minimum and not exhaustively:

        a)Care,

        b)Trust what they see and not what they are told by “experts” and “insiders”,

        c)Understand hockey – some seem to actually have played the game at a higher competition level,

        d)Appreciate unselfish players like RNH,

        e) know that a TEAM is made-up of contributing to the whole and not the whole boosting one man’s ego (Here I have to say something of an old man’s story: When my oldest son started playing hockey Gretzky’s name was always on his lips “because he scores…”. It is when I told him that Gretzky was indeed the best scorer but his “Great One” name did not come because of his goals, it came from his double-in-number Assists and the fact that he made everyone around him so much a better player).

        In all honesty, I truly believe that RNH, McD and Drai have Gretzky-like attributes in their game. (I amNOt saying they are Gretzkys – to be clear). I regret to say that some of the people they have put on their wing to play with them were neither ready nor had what it takes to make good on the blessing of having a center feeding you excellent passes yet you can not hold the puck on your stick for more than a second and have their effort go to naught…

        Enough said on that issue I guess, many of us may not really know better than the “brains” in that organization but we are not complete idiots either…

        It simply irks me that we are treated by these people as if we have hay for breakfast, lunch and dinner…

        • OILFANMEXICO

          When I first posted on this site it was at the time that Ryan Smyth returned, I wrote critically of the Oilers surrounding all these draft picks with the weakest group of “core veterans” in the league and that would be their biggest problem going forward.

          I was very much against bringing Smyth back, as I was equally vocal about NOT signing Gagner to any contract let alone to 4.85M per year.

          Over the past couple years I’ve posted the Oilers should trade Hall for a top 10 to 20 D-man.

          I’ve rated Hall’s importance to this Hockey club behind McDavid, Leon, Nuge and Nurse.

          Which club in the league wouldn’t trade their 5th most valuable asset for a piece that they can’t win without?

          I and others have posted against these players and others long before it became common knowledge that these guys aren’t what many thought they were.

          None of this makes me a Hockey Genius as we’ve been mostly a poor club for the past two decades and hockey people understand these points both of us have posted

          I watched Gretzky play as a seventeen year old and I have the Oiler logo stamped on my heart but this love affair with Hall is beyond words.

          I’ve been banned from this site because one of the writers accused me of being a troll for speaking out against the Oilers employing Smyth on his return. This same writer 2 -3 years ago called me a troll for me stating that Nuge would be the straw that stirred the drink here. Of course he’s president of Smyth / Hall’s fan club and never played the game.

          I will say McDavid is the best overall player I’ve seen at 18 years old and that includes the Great One. If he remains healthy hockey fans everywhere are gonna see one of the best all-time.

          Again thanks for writing here as many here appreciate your words…

          • S cottV

            I agree Hall is not the driver that oiler nation thinks he is?If oiler fans want their man , and need to give up a player than he is your man.For two games they took Dri away from hall and Hall was a non factor,anyone can put up the points if playing with a real player, look at yak when he had Connor, don’t egg me wrong Hall is a good player but he needs the spotlight, if this is too truly be Connors team he is the ONE guy that has to go,or Connor will never drive the bus here and moving any of the other core before you move Hall will leave the cupboard bare and have Mcdavid leaving here as well. Halls time to help this team is now by being the one to move on

      • R U Kidding Me!

        I find the passion that RNH’s fans show for him quite amazing. Some seem more RNH fans than Oil fans. There will be a day that RNH leaves the Oil, either because the Oil trade him or he gets a better deal from someone else. Professional athletes must make the most of there few short earing years and cannot afford much loyalty. So brace yourself, as it will happen.

        Stating that RNH is as a complete player as has ever played for the Oil (outside of Gretz) exemplifies the almost blind faith some have in RNH. A good (but not great scorer), good (but nor great) skater, smallish who has trouble with physical play, below average face off guy is the 2nd best all around player the Oil have ever had. Amazing.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    I like the idea of holding onto our centers. The wing is probably the easiest position to replace in the NHL.

    My untouchables up front would be Nuge, Drai, McDavid and Hall. Everyone else can be used to upgrade the D.

  • Thumby

    Ederle is way over rated. Yes, sweet hands but creates nothing unless others clear the zone or recover the puck for him. Harmonic for Eberle is a deal I take.

    Watch next game, puck gets ringed to his side 10 times a game and he gets pinched stuffed by opposing d 9 times. Never recovers a dump in, can’t win a board battle.

    Ramp up the level to playoff mode and he’d be invisible.

    Ratings

    Hands 10/10
    3 on 3 effectivness 9/10
    5 on 5 effectivness 5/10
    Skating 7/10
    Shot 7/10 from slot and 5/10 from range
    Size 4/10
    Strength 4/10
    Battle level 4/10
    Likely playoff effectiveness 4/10

    If you can get a decent right d, take it!

  • Thumby

    To Islanders: RNH, *Fayne, Slepyshev, their choice of Letestu or Lander, 2016 3rd rd, Oilers carry portion of Fayne salary to even cap hit. Total cap moved to Isles is approx. $11.5/12.4 excluding subsidy.
    * substitute Shultz instead of Fayne if they prefer.

    To Oilers: Hamonic, Brock Nelson, Clutterbuck. Total cap hit of $9.1 plus approx. $1.2/1.65 subsidy to Isles.

  • I Remember the Orange Jerseys

    Garbage gossip on a slow news days.

    Friedman is a reporter, nothing more.

    It doesn’t take a genius, or an “insider” to know that the Oilers will eventually have to move one of the “core”. This is not news.

    Moving Hall makes the most sense. Once Hall is gone, RNH and Eberle will step their game up. The “core” is/has been to comfortable, and moving the most rotten apple would give the other two a swift awakening.

    At this point, RNH and Eberle are a gamble and a risk for any team that takes them, so a return the Oilers would get would be the same.

    Hall goes and so does the curse of the “rebuild” with him.

  • Dr. Drai

    There was talk earlier in the week about Vatanen. What about Yak + for Vatanen then flip Vatanen for Harmonic because NYI want a D back. That would leave Ebs to trade for Shattenkirk. Add picks and prospects where required. Lofty goal but one can dream.

  • Speed Junky

    if PC wanted Ebs and Nuge gone. they would be gone. slow play for the best players for the long run. now right now does not jive.

    July 1 is the win. and a good 1st pick

  • ThinkingOutLoud

    I really need to advise against trading RNH at this point. RNH is the two-way centre that every team needs to win a cup. They’re also hard to come by. There are many things that plague the Pittsburgh Penguins, but how many playoff series have they won since they dealt Jordan Staal?

    You need that centre that can check the other team’s top line but also provide some offence. Dallas was all too happy to play Mike Modano against us because it meant the Oilers countered with Todd Marchant, keeping the Oilers that could score on the bench. Bad matchup over a 7 game series.

  • AJ88

    Like everyone here, l have an opinion and if you agree that’s great but if you don’t explain why you disagree. The oilers right now have a great thing going up the middle. I would not trade Nuge, mcdavid or dri. However, for the right players back everyone one else is tradeable. Even Hall, he may be a fan favorite but l think he would get this team a great return. I also don’t believe he has the hockey IQ. Every player should be examined and if the return can improve the team for the better lets do it. Remember people, 10 years of no playoffs and everyone continues to say leave the core players. They need more time to develope and get more experience, but what happens if the problem is the core people. Trading Hall and Ebs are no brainer for me if the dman coming back are a 1,2. Wingers are easier to replace and if we hold on to our draft pick a strong winger can be had to replace the outgoing. Time to change our thinking and look outside of the box here in Edmonton.

    • OILFANMEXICO

      We cant have three #1 centers making min 6mil/yr. How do we get decent wingers to play with them when a huge part of our cap is gone? We can’t even put them on the wing because they are lefties. Yes, we could trade HAll(top 5 NHL LW), but how many other proven top fives do we have?

      • Oilers4ever

        Drai can play wing quite well though. Not saying I think trading Hall is a good idea. I personally think Ebs and Yak should be the names, not Nuge. But Yak is not worth much now and no one will trade for Nuge with him hurt. Time will tell I guess.

      • AJ88

        So how does Chicago have Kane and Toews at 10.5M and Keith/Seabrook and a bona fide #1 goalie in Crawford? Having 3 top centers is definitely not out of the question. When some of the 3 – 4.5M contracts come off the books the Oilers will be in a much better position to get comparable players at the 2.5 range.

  • Word to the Bird

    Okay I know I’m gonna get trashed for saying this, but what has Nugent-Hopkins done to deserve the “untouchable” tag? Whats the most amount of points he has gotten in a season, 56? Good grief, at least Eberle has hit 76. Not saying Eberle should be kept over Nugent-Hopkins but I think Nuge is incredibly overrated on this board…

  • hags437

    I don’t understand this fear of trading one or two of the blessed core. What have they gotten us other than a dependency for cheap liquor? Check the standings from the last 5 years. I’m sick of losing and a shakeup is coming. Guaranteed. This team was built bass ackwards and is desperate for a legit D man. Schultz/Eberle for Hamonic I’ll do everyday. I like 14 a lot. But I like winning games, stopping the cycle and getting the &%@%ing puck out of our zone a hell of a lot more.

    • Jordanzza

      Nuge will hurt more than Smytty.

      I have been saying it for 3 seasons. Eberle needs to go while he has value. Very skilled player. He is also the most expendable. We know what he is. Butter soft, defensively unmotivated but incredibly skilled.

      Hopefully the return is a top 4 Dmen and a defensive prospect.

      • Jay (not J)

        Don’t you think that Eberle would have been offered first in any transaction? I think that the organization values RNH above Eberle, but I also think that they see the opportunity cost of not adding a defenseman at all as greater than either of them.

  • bazmagoo

    Build through the middle. If Eberle for Hamonic is available I do it straight up. Hate to do it because Jordan’s mitts are legendary, but the mix isn’t working in Edmonton and it needs to be shaken up. Get ‘er done Chia!

  • bazmagoo

    Easier to sign wingers to replace Ebs minutes than centres to replace Nuge. I love the idea of having McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nugent-Hopkins down the middle for at least a few seasons.