SMOKE FROM A DISTANT FIRE

hall nuge ebs

The story of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ season has more twists than an ‘It’s Always Sunny’ episode, and I expect we could see some fireworks around draft day. If you add up all the rumors, what do they tell us?

THE LATEST

Today in his 30 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman mentioned RNH and his injury:

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  • Friedman: You could almost hear a league-wide groan when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins left Tuesday night’s game in Arizona after taking a Connor Murphy hit. Don’t know if his future is in the Alberta capital or elsewhere,
    but it certainly complicates matters if he finishes the season injured.
    I’d keep him, but it’s not only the Oilers who recognize his value
    .

Friedman frames this in an interesting way, and the last sentence is worth discussing further. Often, when we discuss the idea of trading our favorite players (I am absolutely a Nuge fan), there is a defensiveness that kicks in and the conversation online craters into something resembling childhood verbal with your brother. Friedman correctly identifies the talent, and then tells it like it is: You have to give in order to get, and fooling another NHL team is damn difficult (depending on what Vancouver does with their management situation this summer).

When the Nuge rumors first hit (I believe Seth Jones was the trade idea mentioned), I mentioned that any deal involving the Nuge heading out of town would require two things:

  • A quality defender (right-handed, one hopes) who can play in all three disciplines (EV,PP,PK)
  • A suitable replacement at center, an experienced hand who could play that two-way style

At that point, the idea of doing that kind of deal made little sense to me. Unless you have someone in mind to replace Nuge (a less expensive but capable player) then why even entertain the thought? And my specific concern about the Seth Jones trade came from a lack of experience in the case of Seth Jones. There is a lot of risk in trading for young defensemen, and even though Jones is a dynamic young blue, things can change and injuries often impact D more than F. It is a risk.

OUR MAN NUGE

NUGE BOXCARS

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If we are going to find a case for keeping Nuge, we don’t have very far to go.

  • He is a center, a two-way type and the Oilers don’t have many who can help on offense and without the puck.
  • He can play in all disciplines.
  • He is very good on the power play, his numbers are almost always near the top in team performance.
  • He can play 20 minutes a night. 
  • He is an underrated shooter.

If we are looking for weaknesses, there are some things to mention:

  • His 5×5 performance has been uneven throughout his career.
  • His faceoff percentage (44.6 this year, 43 percent overall) has never been close to 50 percent.
  • He is not a big man.
  • He is left-handed, and that can be an issue on the power play (although Edmonton has had success with him out there).

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I think Peter Chiarelli is going to have to make a difficult decision. I think RNH is going to be the ask on some significant trade opportunities. I am on record saying Nuge should stay, but that Friedman line is a subtle, powerful counter argument. What’s that old Chinese proverb? May you live in interesting times? Yes. Yes, that’s it.


  • Spydyr

    Yak,Eberle,Hall and Nuge. The order in which I would offer up in trade.That being said anyone of them in a package if the return is a top pairing defenceman.

  • Oliveoiler

    I don’t know what to think any longer. We fans have been out in the cold for 10, yes TEN long years, unlike the ‘core’ who have on average been out in the play-off cold for about 50% of that time. During that time they have made millions of dollars, while us lowly fans have spent tens of thousands of our paltry wages on tickets and fan gear.

    The Tambellini rebuild without a doubt did not work, and now it’s time for Chiarelli to firmly put his mark on this team. Culling, shedding dead wood, I don’t care anymore, I just want to see SOMETHING positive done. And while it may be a good draft, seeing another rookie bouncing up to the podium to collect his #1 Oilers’ jersey while Katz’s son grows taller and older just doesn’t do anything for me. Hell, he could be a grandfather before anything changes for us.

    So, final word is, DO SOMETHING – do it NOW, no more ‘be patient’, we’ve traveled that road for 10 years and we don’t like it

    • walljordan

      Agreed… in general. I want to see something happen as well.

      But we have to be careful what we wish for. If the wrong move is made, and it’s major, it could hurt us LONG term. Cause another 10 year drought.

  • camdog

    There’s only one player that I am 100% against moving and that is Connor McDavid. Until we know the potential return on any other said player discussing who the Oilers should or should not trade is nothing more than conjecture. Although Eric Brewer for Chris Pronger trades are rare they do happen, it would be irrational to close the door on any other Oiler being moved because of emotional attachment to said player.

    • hockey1099

      Well thought out and reasonable. Take that crap else where. Lol

      Ebs is my 2nd fav behind 97 but if he brings us what we need trade him ASAP, same for anyone not wearing 97. I will hate to see him go but I hate watching them lose more. I’m bored at the games and fairly uninterested and I’m not alone. People text, talk and fail to watch the game. Tickets are not in demand, you can get tickets for most games below face and can get a lot of games below what season ticket holders actually pay for them.

      The only goal should be to improve the team whether that improvement is large or small. The key is to improve.

      Further, Anyone dreaming that yak will be playing on this team must be of the belief we are getting a new coach next year. Yak is gone. I hope we get more than the 45th-60th pick but I doubt it.

  • .

    I found Friedmann’s very next entry to be more enlightening:

    5. Coach Todd McLellan’s exasperation with his forwards grows on a game-by-game basis. At this point, I assume the only untouchables up-front are Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

    I don’t think it’s Nuge with whom T-Mac’s particularly exasperated. Yak and Hall? Sure.

    • Ed in Edmonton 1

      Interesting that Melnyk let loose yesterday will a trade the mall presser. It doesn’t really make his team any better, but it might make the long suffering faithful feel better to have an owner that shows some passion or empathy for the fans.

  • Lamar's Javelin

    The golden ticket will determine what assets stay, what assets go. Simple as that. A good GM cuts through the emotion and has what it takes to make the necessary moves without co-dependant emotion.

  • TheDonkeyJohnson

    Be a damn sad day if/when RNH is traded from Edmonton.
    A fan since the start, I will curse, rant & rave about my beloved team, an eternity out of the playoffs and still say and defend MY TEAM. Against all naysayers and all but woe the day they trade my favorite player since Doug Weight. Bad enough the masses are after Yak, now I’m left to prepare for the sacrifice of a fine player in Nuge. Damn past management, damn them all.

  • Explicit

    For the record, I would trade both Hall and Eberle before I traded Nuge. But, I also don’t care anymore. Trade anyone, I just want to see a competitive team for once.

  • fran huckzky

    THis time last year we were bemoaning our lack of a goaltender, depth at center and depth and talent on defense. We have solved problems one and two and now some are advocating recreating problem two to solve three. You have to give to get but it is stupidity to try and fill holes by digging new ones, The solution has to be to trade a winger, trade the draft pick or free agency/

  • RJ

    I still wonder about the vehement objection to a possible Jones trade.

    RHD? Check.
    Size? 6’4, 208. Check.
    Play top pairing minutes? Check.
    Put up points? He’s not in an elite category, but he would be the leading scorer among Oiler defencemen.
    Youth/Experience? He’s only 21, but he has 231 NHL games played. He would be behind only Sekera and Fayne in terms of games played, but still on his ELC.

    He also would be young enough to play with McDavid the next ten years, and still be 31 after 10 years. But Nashville wanted Johansen.

    On the flip side, Nuge is a quality centre who can play both ways. He is not Bob Gainey or Guy Carbonneau in their primes, but he’s quality.

    You definitely don’t move him for draft picks, or for some third liners, but if he brings a top-4 RHD, you definitely consider it strongly.

  • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

    How come when I look at that picture and see Hall & Eberle I think: “Wow, they look so young there!” and then I see Nuge and think: “That’s our baby Nuge! He… still hasn’t aged a day”.

    Somewhere there’s a painting in an attic that’s looking worse by the day

  • Zarny

    Breathe in deeply, relax and reminisce about the last 76 games.

    That was the first year of McDavid’s ELC. 2 more years and that window is gone.

    The Oilers aren’t 1 player away and they need to get a lot better. One play would be to not move any core forwards, overpay another Sekera in free agency and perhaps move a couple of draft picks for a good D who still isn’t capable of playing top pair. You could call that play the MacTavish-Lowe. We’ve seen that play for 6 years now and it’s essentially accomplished nothing.

    Luckily, Chiarelli appears smart enough to consider moving an asset of plenty for an asset sorely needed. Who goes will depend entirely on what the options actually are. The returns for Nuge vs Eberle vs Hall vs draft picks need to be weighed to make a decision.

  • OILFANMEXICO

    Iv’e said it before maybe we need to find a team willing to make a true hockey trade. One of our core for one of yours,man for man.

    What we’ve built here is obviously NOT working right? Our core spends alot of time on IR list. I would pull the trigger, we have nothing to lose, as we are still at the bottom looking up.

  • bazmagoo

    Trade the mall. Whatever it takes, doesn’t matter who. Only McDavid and Draisaitl are untouchable.

    10 years out of the playoffs, none of the old “core” should be safe. They haven’t accomplished jack.

  • Short Fuse

    Wow. Is there even 1 Oilers fan on here. I’m an Oilers fan since before Gretzky. We haven’t even hit the 1st anniversary for new coach or GM. We have cleared 4 man years lost to injuries. Can anybody say that this team would have missed the playoffs if the team was healthy? I need proof. We could have added PK and Burns and it would have meant nothing if they also were injured for a majority of the season. Amazing how poor injured players perform. Trading away high end talent for plumber maybe a way to make the playoffs but my dream is to make the playoffs and WIN our last game. 1 of the 2 is not enough. We can trade RNH but only if we get the BEST player in the trade. Same goes for any of the other kids. Plumbers you can get for Martin Gernat.

  • Orm Nullman

    I’ve had this crazy idea for a while so I figured I would share it. Assuming the Oilers win the draft lottery how about this for a trade. Hall, Klefbom and the 2016 first overall pick to Arizona for OEL, Domi and Arizona’s 2016 first round pick.

    I said it was crazy. There is no guarantee that the Oilers will win the first overall and within division trades are difficult to make. But it would be a blockbuster and a bold move LOL. Just curious as to what others think.

    • JimmyV1965

      I think people are way overvaluing OEL. He’s a great dman, but a fair trade would be Mathews for OEL and their first round pick. I can easily think of a dozen young dmen I would like as much as OEL.

      1. Subban
      2. Josi
      3. Pietrangelo
      4. Faulk
      5. McDonagh
      6. Hedman
      7. Ekblad
      8. Karlsson
      9. Ghostisbehere
      10. Doughty
      11. Brodie
      12. Hamilton

      Of course, not all these teams would be willing to trade their dman but if Mathews is the offer I guarantee some of them would. We definitely don’t need to overpay for OEL. Unfortunately, I doubt we win the lottery again.

      • Orm Nullman

        Thanks for the feedback. I accept that I may be overvaluing OEL. I also agree we shouldn’t overpay for a top pair RH defenseman despite our need. However I don’t think Arizona would agree to a trade of Mathews for OEL and their first rounder or even Matthews for OEL straight up. But if they did agree to either I would grab the deal before they could change their minds.