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.


  • KMA

    They call him Nugie, a classic nick-name for a hockey player, named by his team-mates. As they say, you have to give up something to get something good in return. The Oil may be forced to eat some of his outstanding salary in order to do a deal.

  • Oiler Al

    Here’s your 2017 starting line up:

    Hall Nuge Bakus

    Maroon McDavid Drisaitl

    Pouliot Killorn Kassian

    Khairj Henricks Parkarinen

    Hamonic Yandle

    Sekera Davidson

    Nurse Osterle

    Reinhart

    Talbot New Sign

    Bye Bye: [ one way or another] Eberle,Yak, Korpo
    Lander, Letestu

  • RNH is gone. Fair return for Yak? Not w/out some draft picks or other assets. Hall? Can’t see it. P.C. will not have Seguin pt. 2. Nurse, Klefbom? Nope. The first round pick? YES. Unless it is the number ONE overall. That leaves RNH. He is GONE.

    • jdh1089

      I’d made the argument Chia will be more tempted to keep the pick if its 2/3 and the Finn Wingers, and that makes ebs 100% expendable, save on salary and protect from expansion. Nuge is underrated and on this team that is brutally defensively and is filled with 1 dimensional players. RNH has the ability to become a poor mans p bergeron (and that is a huge compliment) and TMac compared him to Pavelski. Lets not write him off that quickly Mr. Insider.

    • AJ88

      Boy Red you sure like to state RNH is gone…How many times now? Kinda like LT being on record of saying he wouldn’t trade him but has mentioned it too many times to count. Interested to hear what you think a fair return for Yak would be?

  • crackerjack14

    Ignoring the 1st rd pick for a moment…trade Eberle for Vatanen and a pick. Trade Klefbom for Harmonic. Sign a guy like Backes.

    Hall-Nuge-Drai

    Pouliot-McDavid-Yak

    Maroon-Backes-Kassian

    Hendo-Letestu-Cracknell (Lander)

    Sekera-Fayne

    Davidson-Hamonic

    Nurse-Vatanen

    It’s time for Ebs to go. He’s a great finisher, but his sick hand can’t stop pucks. The wingers (Maroon, Kassian and Yak in particular) can move up and down the lines. That 3rd line would be hard to play against. BIG and bruising.

    Gryba could be the 7th dman, while Reinhart could eb the first call up. Yes, Klefbom would be gone, but the defence overall would be balanced.

    The OIl could then trade down if need be at the draft. The beauty would be that they wouldn’t have to rush their newest first rounder into the league. LET HIM DEVELOP!

    • Sure, but I will be disappointed if yak is on the oilers in the fall. He is the definition of a boat anchor – it’s essentially a power play for the other team whenever he’s on the ice. And we don’t need Travis yost to analyze his offensive stats for us… We all know they are garbage.
      Team is not moving forward with yak on it. We got rid of our other boat anchor Schultz, time to finish the job

    • .

      “t’s time for Ebs to go. He’s a great finisher, but his sick hand can’t stop pucks.”

      So you’d trade the Oilers’ leading goal scorer and the one guy whose skills and playing style complements McDavid’s? Wouldn’t be my first choice.

      “The wingers (Maroon, Kassian and Yak in particular) can move up and down the lines.”

      Yak in particular? Seriously? The guy with 6 goals who plays like a stoned kitten chasing a laser? Eberles’ scoring at a 30 goal/ season clip and Yak in particular is going to make that up?

      If Yak is the answer, then the question can only be: what is a large domesticated wild ox with shaggy hair, humped shoulders, and large horns, used in Tibet as a pack animal and for its milk, meat, and hide?

      • jdh1089

        Throw any complimentary winger with McDavid, who doesnt have to need to carry the puck as well, he’ll be successful. Think you’re putting a much bigger emphasis on the fact we need a 6M winger playing with McD than what is needed. He’ll make most players succeed and look great on his line.

        • .

          I think they’ve tried that with Taylor Hall and Yak–neither of whom need to carry the puck and both of whom don’t know how to play well with their team mates.

          There are roughly 20 players in the league who are on pace to score 30 goals/ season or better, like Eberle. None of them will be less than $6M when Ebs’ contract is up and many are more than that today.

          As an example, what do you think Palmieri (27 goals) will get in his next contract? Or Loui Eriksson (27 goals)? As a point of comparison, Toffoli (27 goals), gets $6.6M a year now.

          Scoring at a pace of 30/season makes Eberle a value contract, by comparison. The fact that he makes McDavid better increases his value even further.

          • .

            Where did I say ever say “like to”? Playing with McDavid, he doesn’t need to, but like Yak he can’t break from his poor habits. He wants to.

            Hall’s got the shooting % of a good D man, because he can only carry and shoot. He can’t carry and pass or move to open ice and wait for his team mates to pass him with the puck. He needs to learn these things or he’ll remain an 8% shooter instead of a 15% scorer.

          • Zarny

            Hall can’t carry and pass?

            Again, you should go back and watch more hockey. Hall is an elite passer who saucers pucks tape to tape on a regular basis.

            Just go watch the highlights of Drai’s goals this year if you want a good starting point lol.

          • .

            Thanks for the tip, coach. I went back to watch Drai’s goals to get a sense of Hall’s incredible passing proficiency and didn’t quite find what you’re suggesting: saucered pucks from an elite passer on a regular basis.

            Mar 16, STL., tips in a threaded pass from McDavid

            Mar 04, CBJ, scores off a Pardy shot

            Feb 28, NYI, nets Kassian’s rebound

            Feb 16, ANA, finishes Korpikoski’s pass

            Feb 04, OTT, gets a 10 ft pass from Hall at centre ice, goes into score.

            Feb 04, CBJ, gets a sick feed from Hall from behind the net.

            Jan 23, NSH, takes a D zone clearing pass up the length of the ice, scores

            Jan 19, TBL, gets his only saucer pass from Hall for a goal

            Jan 12, ARI, takes a spinerama pass from Ebs, scores.

            Dec 09, SJS, gets a sweet backhand at the blueline from TP, pots it.

            Nov, 28 PIT, Hall shoots twice but doesn’t pass, Drai rebounds.

            Nov 20, NJD, takes beautiful needle-threading pass from Hall

            Nov 18, CBH, 1 ft shovel pass from Hall, Drai converts upstairs.

            Nov 14, LAK, 2 ft pass from Hall, Drai converts upstairs.

            Nov 11, ANA, Pouliot fires a 45ft seam pass on the tape, Drai converts.

            Oct 31, CGY, 12ft pass from Hall, Drai converts.

            Oct 29, MTL, Banks in a wide point shot off Price from behind the net; gets set up by RNH from behind the net

            You’d think that an elite passer like Hall who “saucers pucks on the tape on a regular basis” might have more than 4 primary assists to Draisaitl in the last 4 months (once per month!), or more than one saucer pass over the entire season.

            Or by “regular basis,” did you mean just once every season?

          • McRaj

            Everyone takes any criticism against Hall to the heart. Amazing player no question, but has his flaws. If he gets you a bonafide #1 D, you make the deal. Love when someone backs up their argument with proof.

            *Applause to you sir*

    • RJ

      Holy smokes. I agree with this so much, I’m worried people will think I have two accounts. Lol.

      I would not put Fayne as a top pairing defender over Hamonic. I think Hamonic would be the top RHD, Vatanen middle and Fayne as third.

      I’d also be curious if there was a cheaper/younger option than Cracknell, so one of the young players on the farm get their shot.

    • IronX

      I like everything about this idea.

      The question is… Does Anaheim give Vatanen for Eberle?

      Do they need a right winger?

      Do they need a right winger like Eberle?

      Do they have depth at D?

      When we walk a mile in their shoes I don’t know if we are so convinced.

      I’d do it in a heartbeat, but if I’m the ducks… No way

      • 24% body fat

        I like the thoughts. But Backes is going to cost too much for a 3rd line center.

        Also, best probably to sign a veteran D to an overpay for 1 year, I know its hard to get but we can only protect 3D if there is expansion.

        Hamonic, Klefbom, Sekera, Davidson, Reinhart…….

        Trading for 2 right now is a waste of assets, as we couldnt protect the new asset and Sekera.

        Sekera was free, the new RHD will not be.

  • Aviator

    It’s sad to think the Nuge might be gone, but I’m resigned to the fact he may he playing in a new sweater next year. I think it’ll be a good excuse to cheer for another team when the Oilers inevitably disappoint.

    Imagine cheering for Nuge in the playoffs on another team!
    You’d all pick him in the playoff draft.

    You know you would.

  • 24% body fat

    Sign Stamkos and try for Reily Nash (dont think he would come back though).

    Trade Eberle for Hamonic

    Draft Puljijarvi

    Yak, Fayne and maybe Reinhart and Poo, for RHD prospects and or bigger cheaper wingers.

    Dump Lander and Korps

    Just added 2 Right handed centers and a top pairing RHD. Gained Scoring Depth, and a 2 way high offense big Right winger.

    Hall – McDavid – Stamkos

    Drai – Nuge – Slepyshev

    Maroon – Nash – Puljijarvi

    Hendricks – Letestu – Kassian

    Khaira

    Sekera – Hamonic

    Klef – Davidson

    Nurse – Reinhart

    Oesterle

    Damn Expansion will keep us from adding more than 1 d

    • jdh1089

      1) Stamkos won’t come here for as cheap as we’d need him, and why would he leave TB to come to a team that very well may be a bottom feeder again.
      2) Eberle for Hamanic would have been done if NYI was willing.
      3)Pullajarvi is dependant on the lottery
      4) Its not easy to find teams to take on dead salary with the cap like that of Fayne
      Good thinking but many huge flaws lol

      • 24% body fat

        Stamkos would like to play with McDavid, that is not from me it is from McKenzie, though yes it is unlikely. Trading Eberle, Poo, Yak and Fayne free up more than enough cap space.

        Puljijarvi dependent on draft lottery yes. But right now their odds are around 52% that we pick top 3.

        Eberle for Hamonic didnt happen because they wanted a D. Those trades dont happen in the regular season. Islanders have Leddy, Boychuk, De Haan, and possibly Pelech that they would have to protect. Getting a good forward for a D is feasible in the off season to settle an issue.

        Yes dumping dead cap hits is hard. Fayne could find a home on a low cap team, especially with teams wantintg to take a shot on someone who they wouldnt have to protect.

        While my scenario isnt likely, how is it not a great fit for the oilers. More right handed forwards, better scoring, better size, better cap hit, younger, more experience, more centers and better D.

  • O.C.

    I dunno.

    You can’t have the mall.

    Yak isn’t going to get the immediate return the Oil need.

    Trading Nurse or Klefbom creates more problems.

    It’s Ebs, Hall, Draisaitl, Nuge, or maybe Yak and first overall.

    That sucks.

  • 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.

  • Hockeyfan

    nice pic of the 3 marshmallow creampuff saviors from years ago. Sorry coil fans but it’s going to be worse next year for you. When’s Mcsavior gonna start scoring some goals? You guys got years of rebuilding left, sorry. At least you got a last place award coming AGAIN.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • madjam

    Hall, Eberle and Hopkins not the problem as to our poor results . The 3 need more help from rest of teammates , not the other way around . Our problem all along is not surrounding them with sufficient supporting talent to move forward . You see it with lack of a good supporting staff even with McDavid and Draisaitl added to that mix . Shore up the supporting caste and add another defence addition of note , and we will be far more competitive next season without having to gut the core of team .

    • Spydyr

      In the time the core elements of Hall and Eberle have spent here the entire team has changed around them.

      The core is not working. Fourth line players will not move the team up the 14 spots needed to make the playoffs.

        • Spydyr

          The core is the problem. The core should have a number one defencman in it and another top four defencman.

          Now you have to trade some of the players in today’s core to get those players.

          To win in today’s NHL you need four quality defencman one being a game changer,two scoring lines and a third line that scores more than it gets scored against.Then a fourth line you are not afraid to roll out come the playoffs.

          • Zarny

            I agree the core needs a top pair D and that Chiarelli will have to move 1 player. You don’t have to move any core players for another top 4 D though.

            My comment was that the current core players aren’t the reason the Oilers lose. Swapping Seguin and Landeskog for Hall and Nuge wouldn’t move the Oilers up the standings. It would just give fans different names to b*tch about.

            Fans really do need to get a grip. The core doesn’t need to be gutted. They don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water. They will likely need to move one good player…one. That’s hardly earth shattering.

          • Spydyr

            “Swapping Seguin and Landeskog for Hall and Nuge wouldn’t move the Oilers up the standings.”

            I’m pretty sure it would but that is just my opinion.

          • Zarny

            Why would it? Seguin has been cold like Hall over the last while. Take away Benn and the points would be essentially the same. No player has accounted for a larger % of their teams’ offense over the last few years than Hall. And it’s not like Seguin is good defensively. Spezza handles the tough minutes not Seguin. And Nuge is a better player with a higher ceiling than Landeskog.

            Overall the difference between those players is marginal at best. Certainly isn’t going to move a team up the standings. The blueline would still be the worst in the league. The 66 players that Hall and Eberle have played with would still have been junk. The Oilers would be in the exact same spot they are now, because 2-3 players don’t carry junk anywhere.

          • Spydyr

            Landeskog has more will to win plays the body and is much harder to play against.

            Seguin actually uses his teammates and is not always trying to do it all by himself like Hall.

          • Zarny

            More will to win? Harder to play against? I guess that’s why Col is top of the league and one of the best possession teams in the NHL. Oh wait…

            Seguin uses Jamie Benn who has arguably been the best player in the league over the last 2 seasons. Nothing more imo.

            Not arguing that both are tremendous players; but the differences are marginal and wouldn’t move the worst blueline in the league up the standings.

            Just my opinion though. We can agree to disagree.

        • Oilerchild77

          No. There’s more problems here than just the blueline I’m afraid. We’ve got years of well developed bad habits to coach out of the “core” before this team turns north.

  • 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.

  • paul wodehouse

    …if the draft truly comes down to the last 5 teams in the league today and the flames can further tank for the cause …the number one overall…an american …would be faced with playing in Canada for at least his ELC…

    • Oilerchild77

      Yeah. Having to live in Canada. Boy that would be just awful, what with the deplorable living conditions we have here and all. The poor spoiled white boy will be crestfallen I’m sure.

  • 24% body fat

    Again getting Stamkos is hard, but what any team should do to sign him other than Tampa, is offer him 1 year at the max (close to 15m)if they have the room as a defacto overpay, and than renew him as soon as possible to 8 years with a discount in mind, 8 x 8.

    This allows him to sign for 8 years on the extension essentially getting a 9 year contract between the two instead of just signing a 7 year deal.

    15m + 64M = 79M/9 = 8.7M/a for 9 years, with an cap hit of 8M on the last 8 years.

    If he doesn’t like the team he goes elsewhere.

    • Zarny

      Kane and Toews just signed for an AAV of $10.5M and you think you’re going to entice Stamkos with $8.7M over 9 years lol?

      “Hi!, Steven Stamkos’ agent here. We’ll take $70M over 7 years and hit the free market again for $20-25M for those final 2 years thanks”.

      • 24% body fat

        Toews and Kane have won multiple stanely cups. And right now are better players than Stamkos. Therefore they get more money. They hit the free agency and they go where they want for money.

        If Stamkos wants to win a cup he will need to take a discount. Teams with 10 million dollar contracts usually dont win cups. Ovechkin only has a chance this year because the cap has gone up so much since he signed the deal.

        Yzerman knows this and thats why a deal was never done.

        9 years of guarenteed salary is better than 7 as well. What if he pulls a Lecavileir and his game falls off. Than he signs for 4 mill a year in his final years.

        If something happens to him in his first year my way he is still young enough and in his prime that he can still make his money.

        • RJ

          I could be wrong but I think the max term Stamkos could sign would be 8 with Tampa, or 7 with another team. Tampa could trade his rights prior to expiring and that new team could sign him for 8. No one could sign him for 9.

  • 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.