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:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
  • 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

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • .

    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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • IronX

    All of you said it better: would be great to keep him but if the return is right so be it. I would still trade Eberle first (who knows what we could get) and Hall before Nugey, but if it gives us a more balanced team, so be it.

    If we didn’t have 97, I’d see a point on keeping him, but now… We need a second/third line centre… Those don’t grow on trees but aren’t impossible to get neither…. Anyone remembers Roy. We just need a younger Roy.

  • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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/

  • 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.

  • If McLellan was frustrated with his forwards and the way they think the game, he should learn to be a master hypnotist.

    If hypnotists can get people barking like dogs I’m sure they could get skilled players battling it in the tough areas, or a PP unit to send more pucks to the net.

    I don’t mean to take away from Lowetide’s well thought out piece here, but I think it’s fair to say that our love affair with these young players may result in less of a heartbreak than previously thought, considering our frustrations with them as a whole.

    I have less of a problem with Nuge than other players, all of them abundantly skilled and fantastic players. But they need to play a simpler style if they want to score and they just aren’t.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.