WWYDW: Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?

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In this week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday, we’re going to start with a simple assumption: The Edmonton Oilers are going to trade one of their expensive forwards, both to land a quality defenceman and with an eye to the club’s long-term salary cap health. This assumption may or not be true, but it is plausible and we’re making it for the purpose of this exercise. 

Our question to you: Which one should it be?

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Some key figures for each of these players follow, presented in alphabetical order.

Jordan Eberle

14-Eberle-13

  • Contract: $6.0 million per season for three years after this one.
  • Vital statistics: 5’11”, 181 pounds, turns 26 in May.
  • 82-game average, past three seasons: 27 goals, 36 assists, 63 points.
  • Underlying statistics, past three season: 1.92 5v5 P/60, 4.92 5v4 P/60, 47.7% Fenwick.

Eberle has some significant items working against him. He is the oldest of the trio, the smallest, and has the fewest seasons remaining under team control. He does not play a physical game, and he has issues defensively, notably with getting the puck out of the Oilers’ end when under pressure.

However, he also has some unique points in his favour. He is a right shot, one of the few on the team and the only one who really belongs on the top power play (his numbers on the man advantage are excellent over the past three seasons). He is a legitimate first-line right wing on a team without another serious contender to that position.

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He’ll have significant trade value, but perhaps less than the other two players here, as he lacks Hall’s 5-on-5 dynamism and unlike Nugent-Hopkins, he can’t play centre.

Taylor Hall

4-Hall-23

  • Contract: $6.0 million per season for four years after this one.
  • Vital statistics: 6’1”, 201 pounds, turns 25 in November.
  • 82-game average, past three seasons: 26 goals, 47 assists, 73 points.
  • Underlying statistics, past three season: 2.42 5v5 P/60, 3.54 5v4 P/60, 48.1% Fenwick.

Hall is the most dynamic five-on-five threat on this list and it isn’t particularly close; he is an elite scorer at even-strength. Despite complaints about the size of the Oilers’ young forwards he’s actually fairly big, and he plays a rambunctious style that makes him unique on this list.

Injuries have been a problem at times, though his instinct for self-preservation seems to have improved with experience. A succession of Edmonton coaches have yet to find a power play role for him that really works.

I’d assess his trade value as being far-and-away the best on this list.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

93-RNH-18

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  • Contract: $6.0 million per season for five years after this one.
  • Vital statistics: 6’, 189 pounds, turns 23 in April.
  • 82-game average, past three seasons: 21 goals, 37 assists, 58 points.
  • Underlying statistics, past three season: 1.65 5v5 P/60, 4.39 5v4 P/60, 46.3% Fenwick.

The best pure defensive player of this trio, Nugent-Hopkins is also the youngest (he’s still three years away from the heart of his career) and the one under team control for the longest period of time. He’s a strong power play weapon, but he trails the other two players on this list as an even-strength offensive threat.

His position lends itself to multiple interpretations. One common view is that having extra centres is a very good thing indeed, and that one or more can always be bumped over to the wing (something we’ve seen time and again across the league). Another common view is that with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl there’s absolutely no need for Edmonton to worry about keeping a third strong pivot.

I’d assess his trade value as falling between Hall and Eberle, but given his youth, length of contract and position probably closer to the former than the latter

This brings us back to our original question: If Edmonton trades one of these players, which should it be?

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  • Gordon Bombay

    Can anyone tell me how many Olympic teams hall Nuge or Ebs have ever made? Hint hint it’s the same number of years they’ve made the playoffs

    It’s 0 if you couldn’t count. But then what are sheep good for besides eating grass and wool baaaaaaaaaahhhhh

    You “fans” keep supporting this core and they will do what they do best and lose, or is it just the 10 year long injury bug

    The grass is always copper and blue on the other side right ?

    • Sorensenator

      Considering they have only been eligible for one Olympics (rookie season doesn’t count no 18 year old makes team Canada not even Sid did) I’d say is an irrelevant point when you look at the number of star players left off the roster.

      Canada could make 3 good teams, easily. This team will be fine with a proper NHL defense behind them, they haven’t had that since Hall and Eberle have been in the league.

      The core needs a shake up, and the team needs two top pairing defensemen.

      • Gordon Bombay

        No worries teams just fine, haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, our “core” of stars is the best in the league. Sorry Olympics was too elite for you my bad. How bout World Cup? Still no? What’s next best maybe world championship? Oh yea loser tourney, for teams that don’t make the playoffs. What Hall and ebs got 1 of those yet the fans have seen them give back a 23 place finish at best for the oilers

        Enjoy the grass bud

        I’ve had season tickets for the last 8 years if anyone wants to yap some more. I pay money to watch this tire fire

  • The Last Big Bear

    I get the impression that Hall is the de facto captain of the Oilers.

    He may not wear the letter, but he seems to be the soul of the team, and he has been for years. He is the real leader of the Edmonton Oilers.

    Which is why if I was the GM of the Oilers, Hall would be traded before the ink on my contract was dry.

    He’s a tremendous player, but he also exemplifies everything wrong with the Oilers. Edmonton desperately needs a culture change, and i think trading Hall would be the biggest, and most important step in that direction.

    • Zarny

      That’s a large pile of rubbish.

      Not that the Oilers need a culture change; but that it has to do with Hall.

      By that logic, the Flames need to ship out Gaudreau, Brodie, Gio and Monahan. Talented players, sure, but losers leading their team to the bottom of the standings.

      Of course that is nonsense, just like the drivel about Hall. The Oilers drafted a few young players and asked them to build a house on a foundation of mud with nothing but cardboard and duct tape for materials.

      The problem has never been Hall, Nuge & Eberle. It’s been the fact that most years they’ve had zero top pairing D and the worst goaltending in the league. Now that doesn’t mean Hall et al can’t improve. They have and there is still room for improvement. But the culture change required is not having the worst blueline in the league. Or having no players like Letestu or a waiver wire pick up on the PP.

  • hockey1099

    Who is traded will be not be choosen by the oilers. It will be choosen by one of 29 other gm’s that may be willing to move a 2/3 dman. If a legitimate #1 is traded this summer chia pet best be willing to move anyone not wearing #97.

  • toprightcorner

    I would say the one I would not want to trade on the list is Hall.

    As for the other two, it really depends on the team you are trying to deal with and who you would get in return. Preferable Eberle first and Nuge second.

    Ultimately I would want to see Hall – Nuge – Draisaitl play the last 15 games to see how they clicked. If they play well together then I am not trading Nuge at this point, if that line does not look good, then I definitely look to see what I could get for Nuge as it would be a waste of $6 mill and he would never achieve his full potential as a 3C. There are cheaper 3C’s out there that will better fill that role as well as bring you offense and solid 2 way play such as Frans Neilsen.

    It really comes down to the team your trading with and what their needs are

    If you are looking at Hamonic, they are deep at centre and will need a top line RW with Okposo leaving as a UFA.

    If the team you are trading with Carolina, they need a 1C and if you could get Faulk back in a package deal then I would consider trading Nuge.

    The Oilers need a top pairing dman badly and in the end if Eberle couldn’t get me that then I would have to use Nuge to get the deal done.

  • Total Points

    Trade Ebs for the best defenseman that you can get, probably a no. 2 or 3.

    Trade Nuge for a more experienced centre, probably about 27 years old even if he doesn’t have the “Skill” of Nuge.. Need more experience at centre for McDavid and Drai

  • DannyGallivan

    Eberle. I like him but he is not Hall and I covet a center over a winger.

    All 3 have very good offensive numbers on one of the worst teams in the league. You may have to give up draft picks with Eberle to get to the trading value of Hall but lord knows we have enough of those. We need a leader on the blue line; seasoned veteran who can help our relatively young next gen D (Nurse, Davidson, Klefbom and Reinhart); someone who can get the damn puck out of our zone against the opposing top lines.

    You have to give to get.

  • MessyEH!

    Eberle is the one to go. Should have been done 2 or 3 seasons ago.

    As too the posters saying the Oilers cote have no value. You must be lonely under you bridge.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    Did Verdad 2.0 change his name again ….to Gordon Bombay??? Another guy as smart as a chocolate bar wrapper. Hey Gordon, let’s hope the Admins ban your”sheep obsession” psycho babble comments. And for god’s sake put the “c” pipe down.

  • madjam

    Doubtful any of three will be dealt , as their offensive production is vital to teams success and very hard to replace despite some flaws . Doubtful they would be used to get defenseman at this time . If it were one , Eberle being the eldest might be first one deal of group . Yakupov not on scale of main three or as important and might be dealt , however .

  • What the?

    Trade Eberle because he is the oldest of the cluster and weak on the boards. Trade Hall too if it gets the return of top 2 defenceman. Keep the center position depth. Wingers are the easiest to replace via draft or free agency. If and that’s a big IF Hall is part of the culture of losing then he needs to go. I have noticed a bit of a “laissez faire” attitude out of Hall when he gets interviewed. “There is no pressure now so we are just going to go out and play our game and have fun with it” Not an exact quote but something close to this after they were close to eliminated from playoffs. No urgency. No fire. Sounds like loser talk. Just saying..

  • OilBlood

    Trade Hall because he has the most value and will actually get us a legitimate return.

    His point production that some feel is so vital to this perennial bottom feeders success obviously does nothing to improve this team but the right package returning if it includes a decent dman will reduce goals against thus off setting some of his much needed point production and sign or trade for a LW, doesn’t have to be Lucic but there are more LWs available out there than Dmen.

    Hall is as good as gone.

  • Verdad3.0

    Let me bring closure to this.
    The Oiler core is rotten, heartless and mostly gutless.
    The game against San Jose exemplified everything wrong with them.
    At home, but still owned by the visiting team.
    Dominated by players older and slower.
    Its left to Nurse to make a statement.

  • MorningOwl

    that anyone expects a top pairing Dman for a straight across trade of any of these three players is funny.

    Expecting HAMONIC, who is ACTUALLY on an awesome contract of 3.8 M per YR for 4 more seasons, for an average at best top 6 forward with a history of losing and attitude problems and glaring holes in their game who is signed at 6 M per yr…

    come on guys, get serious!

    first of all, NY says they want a defenseman back – a player who can take his place.

    Oilers have only one that would fill this requirement – Sekera, who is paid more but actually not as good and therefore worth less. No way Oilers trade Sekerea of course, as this wold defeat the purpose of adding to the defense.

    Now, if Edmonton wants Hamonic, MAYBE NY would consider a trade that included RNH plus NURSE and a pick… this at least gives them (NY) a defensive prospect, even though Nurse hasn’t had a good year and is looking less and less like he will be a top four pairing D-man, but instead a third pairing semi-goonish tough-guy type, the new style of NHL tough man that can play a role besides face-punching. (as apposed to the old style face punchers like Boogard or Gazdik)

    • Oilerchild77

      You know. Alot of people on here do tend to overvalue players. You, on the other hand, seriously undervalue them. RNH, Nurse, AND a pick on top of that ridiculous offering? Just for Hamonic? HAHAHAHAHA!

      Oh my God! A GM who makes a deal like that is just asksing to be fired!

      RNH straight across isn’t completely unfair (although I would hesitate on that) but to throw in a sure bet like Nurse and a pick!?

      WOW! Just WOW! Good thing you’re not the GM or the Oilers would be in the basement forever.

      • MorningOwl

        If Nurse would have had the opportunity to be developed somewhere else(i.e. Chicago, Detroit), i would have pegged him with much higher upside, but there has been no evidence over the last number of years that the Oilers will invest the time and effort needed to develop prospects. Surely you can agree there is some level of truth in this statement.

        • Oilerchild77

          If Kevin Lowe amd MacT were still in charge, there would definitely be some truth to that. But Chiarelli is in charge now and he doesn’t have a history of doing that to players.

          Also, don’t forget that the only reason Nurse is even playing in the NHL this season is because of injuries. Oh my God, so many injuries!

        • CBK

          I’d make the argument that the Oilers have been developing Nurse slowly.

          He spent the next 2 seasons post draft back in Juniors with the Greyhounds.

          He was originally sent down to Bakersfield this season to continue his development.

          It was the previous management’ that arranged a lackluster D corps that made it a lot easier than it should for Nurse to make the Oilers.

          Kind of hard to keep Nurse off the roster when there aren’t 6 legit Dmen better than him.

      • MorningOwl

        to be honest, the only thing that is bugging me now is that the Flames are winning games, and the Oilers are losing games.

        I sure as hell wish it was the opposite, as the team i cheer for could use at least 1 (top 3 pick) prospect in their rebuild, and because the Oilers keep heaping top picks one upon another but are still last in the league.

          • Hawk E. Pashyn

            Don’t leave out Colorado.

            The Oilers get roasted for inept management, and rightfully so – but they also get spit on a lot for the perception because they managed to sneak in for the very top pick several times.

            The irony is, if we went through the past 10 years of drafts, I’ll bet the Avs have had as many or more really high picks as the Oilers. Nobody says a frigging word about them, or others like the Panthers and Blue Jackets, as you’ve pointed out, and it truly is a matter of very few degrees difference in the overall entry draft scheme.

            As the saying goes, perception is everything.

      • hitchikerforajax

        I agree about Sekera. He is overpaid, under achieved & is too small. It’s a theme the Oilers know well. Overpaid, under achieved & too small. The Oilers need to trade, Hall, Eberley & RNH. The experiment about these players, have failed & failed mightily. The Oilers, might get quality players, for these guys, so trade them in the off season & just maybe, they can get some players, who give a damn & play game in & game out, like their paid, not like those guys, I just mentioned.

    • Harry2

      Are you drunk? If Chiarelli offered Nurse RNH and a pick for Hamonic his days as a GM in the NHL would be over.

      That is quite possibly the biggest overpayment ive seen in a very long time.

      If Eberle straight up doesnt do it then maybe i would add a sweetener but you have clearly let your bias against Edm get out of control

  • madjam

    I do not see Chia revamping team around all player types like Kassian and Maroon . They are there to help our offense open up more with better protection they have not basically had before . Draisaitl not exactly a biznasty player either despite his size . All teams have good players that are not overly big , physical , nasty or heavy . I believe Chia will still be building around our three mentioned , not trading anyone of them for at least another season .

  • Kuma

    I really wish it were possible to block disrespectful commenters.

    Dissenting views are fine, but can’t we all just get along even if we see the Oilers’ trade needs differently?

    Admins, ban-hammer pretty please?

  • BobbyCanuck

    Have to wait until the draft lotto to find out where our pick lands.

    Have to wait until teams that think they are Cup contenders flame out in the first round. These are the teams loaded with D that are lacking in goal scorers.

    Defensively rich GM’s will start snooping around, and will be more likely to trade a shiny D man to solve their goal scoring issues

    I am looking at St.Louis/Nashville/Ducks/Sharks

    Just you wait, we will land what we need, trust in Chia

    • hitchikerforajax

      Let’s hope, the Oilers’ scouts, are different, because other than McDavid, the Oiler picks have sucked. Yak, Hall, RNH for example. The Oilers need d-men, so if they pick Matthews, instead of a quality d-men, than Chia, is no better than the previous 3 g.m.s. Look how well, their picks, have improved the team?

      • Word to the Bird

        If, IF, the Oilers won the #1 selection, they would trade down/trade the pick entirely. Not a snowballs chance in hell Chiarelli wants to add another young forward to this team.

  • crackerjack14

    I know sounds crazy, but I really think Klefbom is the one to go for Hamonic. Then trading a pick of Reinhart for Vatanen could really balance out the D. Next year could look like:

    Hall-Drai-Kassian
    Maroon-McDavid-Eberle
    Pouliot-Nuge-Yak
    Hendy-Lander-Iiro

    Sekera-Hamonic
    Davy-Vatanen
    Nurse-Gryba

  • Oiler Al

    Hamonic, Hamonic, Hamonic… the whole world is focused on this guy because he is an easy target by asking for a trade out west.

    The guy is OK, but he is a second pairing on an average team! Lets stop giving the world away for him because we are in a bind. Davidson in a years time will be a better D man than Hamonic. I would never include Davidson or Nurse in a deal for him.
    Its a problem because Snow wants a D man back, but when Okoposo is gone this summer he might be satisfied with just Eberle.

    Remember, we are talking Hamonic here and not Suban.

    • Agreed 100%. 18 pts in 61 games this year… 0 PP points. He would be a steady eddie in our top 2 yes, but too many people are confusing Hamonic for the ‘stud no. 1’ that we need.

      LOL at offering Nuge, Nurse and a pick for Hamonic. Whoever said that is out to lunch… I would move Ebs straight up at most to land him.

  • Tikkanese

    The answer is any of the above. Who knows what the ask is, every team has different needs. Oilers badly need at least a top pairing RHD if not also a 2nd pairing RHD.

    Each of these 3 have their pluses and minuses to keeping or moving them.

    Nuge – It’s nice to have Center depth, but he appears to be the future 3C, all of which are Lefties. If any were a Righty, it would be much easier to keep him. A 1st overall pick playing 3C is a nice problem to have but not as nice as having a top pairing RHD.

    Hall – Best LW on the team by far but LW is also has the best depth of the wings. Nuge being a Lefty could potentially slide into this spot without a massive dropoff.

    Ebs – Best Oil RW by far. RW has the biggest dropoff in depth after Ebs. Oldest of the 3, shortest contract and probably the 3rd least valuable to the Oilers of these 3 despite the lack of RW depth.

    The Oilers can’t expect to contend for a playoff spot without a top pairing RD. Playing LH Sekera there at what 20% worse numbers than his natural side? Or Fayne, or Schultz just hasn’t come close to cutting it.

  • Word to the Bird

    Normally I agree with the sentiment of keeping centres over wingers, but the gap in talent between Hall and RNH is far too large to ignore.

    Eberle at this point should be moved for Vatanen or Hamonic, relatively fair value and a good hockey trade.

    Hall is clearly the best of the bunch, and has become pretty much everything Edmonton wanted from him.

    If Nugent-Hopkins proves he can put up 60 points and carry a line, then thats another matter. Until then, I’ll trade him before Taylor.

  • TyeDye

    Trade Eberle. I actually think his value is probably higher than Nuge’s even though I value Nuge more.

    Eberle is just too small, and is starting to become too predictable.

    He has no size to push players of the puck and has no reach to take the puck away. Essentially, he can never take possession, it has to be given to him. He’s one of the lazier defensive players on the team.

    That being said, he’s immensely talented. He usually finishes if given the chance. However, his size is the crippling factor to me.

    I would trade Eberle. I would consider Nuge if the price was right. I would’t think of touching Hall.

  • TyeDye

    I DONT GET EVERYONES CRITICISM OF HALL!? DO YOU NOT WATCH THE GAMES!? EVEN IF NOT, DO YOU LOOK AT THE STATS!? HE IS ONE OF THE TOP PLAYERS IN THE GAME! GAWD! Us Oilers fans can be such whiners! Yeah Hall sometimes shoots it into the goalies glove… but he often leads the team in shots. He leads the team in scoring. He’s usually top in the league. Yeah he can turn the puck over sometimes… because he often has possession. Give your head a shake people. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” player, but Hall is a damn great one!

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I would say Eberle. I’m sure others have already made these points and I haven’t read them yet. Size, lack of defence and lack of physical presence. Plus, when he’s not putting up points there isn’t a lot he can do to help out the team.

    Also I like Nuge’s versatility as both a defensive and offensive forward, taking that pressure away from the YOUNG centres. But I also like his edge and think he is the most likely to learn to play a more physical game of the three. Watch him as a rookie bowl over Brendan Morrow, taking him head on and bowling him over! I would keep him, if at all possible – beyond the other two.

    Hall I would only trade due to his extreme value in a trade…and I would do it before he has another substantial injury, too. (See: Hemsky, Ales. Perfect example of a player we could have traded high, but sold microscopically LOW in the end – after 1 or 2 too many injuries that absolutely destroyed his trade value.) I know Hall seems to have learned how to play safe now, and even though I hope that stage of his career is over now, I think it will only take one or two more injuries until the rest of the league gets scared off of him and his value would plummet.)