Monday Musings…

Musings

Even though the Edmonton Oilers aren’t involved in the playoffs, there are numerous story lines which could become intertwined with the Oilers this off-season.

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Travis Hamonic

Travis Hamonic is a hell of a player. I liked him before, but watching him versus the Florida Panthers has made me even more bullish on his abilities. I was perplexed when people suggested he wasn’t a top-pairing defender because he doesn’t score 40 points. He doesn’t need to. He does best, what the Oilers struggle with the most: he knows how to defend.

He played 29:35 yesterday, his third game in four days. He’s averaging 25:53/game in the series and he’s played 71:46 at EV, the most on the team and 15 minutes more than Johnny Boychuk. Watch the series and you will see why Hamonic is so valuable, and why Islanders GM Garth Snow won’t just give him away this summer. 

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Hamonic’s defensive prowess, solid puck moving abilities and his ridiculously low cap hit of $3.85 million for four more years make him very valuable. Despite Hamonic’s request for a trade, I don’t see Snow dealing from a position of weakness. If anything, the rearguard’s postseason play could strengthen Snow’s trade demands.

I know Snow is on record saying he wants a D-man, but the Islanders have pretty good depth on the blueline and I think Snow could be swayed if he receives a legit top-six, or better, forward. I’d still trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Hamonic. I realize the Oilers would be giving up a good, young centre, but they desperately need a right shot D who can play top-pairing minutes.

4th Overall Draft Picks

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  • One example doesn’t guarantee anything, but if you need an example of a slow developer, look no further than Thomas Hickey. Hickey was drafted fourth overall in 2007. He was ranked 13th on Bob McKenzie’s list prior to the draft. It was a bit of surprise seeing him go fourth overall, but it wasn’t a Jesse Niinimaki type of reach. Hickey didn’t pan out with the Los Angeles Kings, although he was put on waivers the year after they won the Stanley Cup.

    The Islanders claimed him on waivers January 15th, 2013, after three and a half seasons in the AHL.  He played 39 games in the lockout shortened season as a #5 Dman. He played #4 minutes the following year, and has been a solid #5 the past two seasons. He is playing 18 minutes a night for the Islanders, and has become a solid NHLer.

    Since 1979, we have seen 13 defencemen taken fourth overall:
    Larry Murphy 1980.
    Al Iafrate 1984.
    Zarley Zalapski 1986.
    Wayne McBean 1987.
    Scott Lachance 1991.
    Bryan Allen 1998.
    Rostislav Klesla 2000.
    Joni Pitkanen 2002.
    Thomas Hickey 2007.
    Alex Pietrangelo 2008.
    Adam Larsson 2011.
    Griffin Reinhart 2012.
    Seth Jones 2013.

    Murphy was traded by the Kings to the Capitals three years after being drafted. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.

    Iafrate was traded six years after being drafted. Had a solid career, cut short by knee injuries.

    Zalapski was traded five years after the Penguins called his name. He was dealt to Hartford as part of the Ron Francis trade and finished his career with 637 games and tallied 384 points.

    McBean was traded before his 20th birthday. Numerous injuries early in his career limited his play and he finished with 211 NHL games.

    Lachance went right to the NHL, played eight seasons with the Islanders before he was dealt. He played 819 games and was a solid stay-at-home defender.

    Allen didn’t become a regular NHLer until he was 22. He was a rugged defender and four years later he was part of the Roberto Luongo/Todd Bertuzzi trade. He played 721 NHL games and was a mean defensive defenceman.

    Klesla debuted at 19 with Columbus and played eight and a half years with CBJ before being dealt to Phoenix. He tallied 159 points in 659 games. A solid career.

    Pitkanen debuted at 19, spent four seasons with the Flyers (one in AHL during lockout) before being traded to the Oilers along with Geoff Sanderson for Joffrey Lupul and Jason Smith. He only played one year with the Oilers before being dealt to Carolina for Erik Cole. He was a top-four defender with Carolina before breaking his heel in the final year of his contract. He never played again in the NHL.

    Pietrangelo debuted at 20 and has been a top pairing defender since entering the league. He’s an excellent defender.

    Larsson made the NHL at 18 and played 65 games for the Devils, but the next two seasons he split time between the AHL and NHL. This past season, his 5th as a pro, he played 22:30/game exclusively at EV and on the PK. He led the Devils blueline with 18 EV points.

    Jones was traded for Ryan Johansen this season and finished the year on the top pairing in Columbus scoring 20 points in 41 games.

    Half of them were traded or claimed on waivers before their 22nd birthday. They had varying degrees of success, and while taken fourth overall, I think it is unrealistic to expect Reinhart to become a dominant defender. However, I still believe he has the ability to be a solid #5 or #4 defender and have a long, successful career. He needs to put in the work this summer and get stronger, especially his lower body.

HERE AND THERE….

Random

  • The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks were a combined 51-22-9 at home in the regular season, but they are 0-4 at home in playoffs. The uncertainty of the playoffs is what makes them so enticing to watch.
  • A first round exit by the Ducks will lead to changes. Bruce Boudreau will most certainly be gone, and the urgency to move a defender for a forward will increase. Sami Vatanen is the obvious choice, and he would fill a void as a puck moving defender, but he is a third pairing guy at EV. While I would part with RNH or Jordan Eberle for Hamonic, the asking price for Vatanen will be much lower. A first round playoff exit by the Ducks could help Peter Chiarelli in his quest for a puck moving defender.
  • A first round exit by the Kings will also kickstart some changes. Buying out Dustin Brown has to be a possibility. Brown has six more years at $5.875 million cap hit. His past three seasons he has scored 27, 27 and 28 points. He is a third line player now. If they want to re-sign Milan Lucic, buying out Brown makes sense, but I wonder if Lombardi will be hesitant to give Lucic an eight-year deal. I believe the Kings would much rather pay him a bit higher cap hit and sign him for five years, so his contract expires when he is 32. If Brown becomes a free agent, would you sign him for $2.5 million/year?

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  • RJ

    Ive gone and looked at Islanders fan sites discussing possible trades for Hamonic.

    I’ve seen a few Islander fans note that while Eberle for Hamonic seems fair (especially when Okposo hits free agency), they won’t be happy to see Hamonic leave. There was even a few comments that even if Snow were able to pull off McDavid for Hamonic, they’ll still be sad to see him go.

    Seems like he’d become an Oiler favorite instantly. Hope they can pull it off.

  • Keepyourstickontheice

    I would absolutely sign Dustin Brown for 2.5m/year. I don’t think he’d sign here for that, but if he would, lock that guy up.

    Counter question, if LA would trade Dustin Brown and retain 1/3 of his salary(leaving him at 3.9/year), would you trade a 2nd round pick for him?

    • Keepyourstickontheice

      ON seems to think this would be a bad idea. How about half salary retained (2.93m/year) for a 3rd round pick?

      I like what Dustin brings to the equation, but he’s not going to want to play here unless we offer him double what he’s worth. On the other hand, if LA is looking to buy him out, retaining half his salary has the same cap implications for half the length of time, so they might be willing to consider flipping him for a pick.

        • Keepyourstickontheice

          The value I see in Dustin Brown is his playoff experience and his work in the corners, I don’t really see any comparables in free agency that brings what he would. That being said, no one should be comfortable with the idea of a 36 year old Dustin Brown on the payroll, its a risky proposition.

          If we’re talking trades in general to bring in this sort of player(seasoned in the post season, kinda nasty), I’d like to see the Oilers go after Andrew Shaw. Chicago is in cap hell, with tons of RFAs, and might let go of him relatively cheaply to avoid exposing him to offer sheets (the same way Boston settled on Hamilton). Oh and we will need someone to play RW if either Yak or Eberle are traded.

          • Gongshowallday

            100% agree on Shaw. Gritty player with playoff experience. Having more grit is never a bad thing.

            Having Kassian, Maroon, and Shaw in the line-up would make the Oilers very hard to play against.

            Have to think that Brown is done as a quality NHLer. Wouldn’t offer him much more than Letestu. Not worth 2M per.

  • RJ

    Re: Dustin Brown:

    He’s got 884 career games, and 78 post season games at the age of 31 (32 in November).

    If the Oilers could get him for a shorter term, then $2-2.5 would be decent. It would all depend on what he has left in the tank. Don’t need another Ference, who was no longer able to play in the NHL this season, and is signed for next season as well.

    • Not much left in the tank — 27, 27 and 28 points the past three seasons.

      Brown has a lot of miles on him because he used to play a very physical game. Was a very good player for a window of 5-6 years, but that window has closed.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    RNH isn’t the player I’d be trading for Hamonic, but I understand everyone has there preference

    I just think once you have centre depth you should be extremely hestiant to trade it away.

    My trade for Hamonic would involve Nurse, not sure what else you’d have to include but he’d be one of my main piece.

    Those who think the Oilers should whale hunt Lucic this summer take a good look at the playoffs he’s having, not too good.

    I’d make a play for Brown as long as the cap hit is around 2.5 and send Letestu or Lander down the road.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    The only reason Brown even gets hits is beacuse the LA Kings slow the game down to a snails crawl most of the time.

    I wouldn’t take him if he does become available, and I doubt he’d come here anyway.

  • Semenko27

    What is the correct spelling of the name of the Isles D man we want so much. This article has multiple versions. Gotta get it correct if he will be in the line-up.

    • camdog

      If you are going to call out the writers for their spelling you have to copy and past the section in doubt, otherwise they will just edit the blog and make you look bad.

  • Ed in Edmonton 1

    The Isles/Panthers series is the first time I have had a look at Hamonic. He is a prototypical top pairing stay at home dman. I now hope that PC finds way of getting him hear.

    A 1st pair of Hamonic and Klef world be the best combo since Pronger left town. A 2nd pairng of Sekera and right hand dman #2 with Davidson and Fayne as a 3rd pair makes me giddy.

  • vetinari

    I think that the lesson on taking defencemen is let them develop the first two or three season in the minors and the AHL and let them work out the kinks before bringing them to the NHL.

    If you start them too early in the NHL, they get shelled, become waiver eligible earlier and then kept on the roster instead of seasoned in the AHL.

  • hockey1099

    I have no desire for brown at all. lucic on a three year contract would be acceptable. The islanders may have defensive depth but no one is deep enough to give up a guy eating 30minutes a night for a forward. Snow will get a serviceable d man plus for hamonic.

  • @Hallsy4

    I am actually very excited to see the first member of the old core traded. The years of losing has finally made me lose my mind. Legitimately can’t wait for the press conference of them leaving town. Shame on them. Watching playoffs is very frustrating, thinking about how fun it would be to watch the Oil if they could ever make it. #TRADETHEMALL

    • hockey1099

      Watching the playoffs shows how far the oilers are from being a contender. I don’t see them competing in anyway against anyone save maybe Dallas in some barn burner series. No I don’t think the oilers would win but I think that’s the only type of series they could win as currently constructed. The oilers are too soft, too small and don’t do enough of the little things (i.e. Blocking shots, hitting, cycling). We are not contending against the Sharks, ducks, preds, blues, or Hawks until we make major changes.

  • ubermiguel

    For all the obvious reasons I’d hate to give up Nuge for Hamonic. I would hope Eberle + a defence prospect (e.g.: Oesterle, Davidson, Clendening) would be sufficient.

    • Keepyourstickontheice

      I agree with the principle put forward, but why do people keep suggesting including Clendening as a “defensive prospect”. We got this guy off of waivers, I don’t think teams would view his inclusion in a trade as a sweetener as much as a favour to the oilers.

      • ubermiguel

        Based on Clendening’s age and ok showing this year I put him in the “might not be done developing could be good in a few years” category, but you’re correct his trade value is probably not huge. Although where was our waiver claim at the time? Maybe there were a few other teams that put in claims but due to our usual sucking we got him.

    • JimmyV1965

      I’m not throwing in Davidson in any deal. He may be the most underrated player on the team. I would rather trade Klef because he has more value. I’d probably trade Klef for Hamonic, maybe throw in a late draft pick. Not sure if that deal makes us better though. Just changes LD to RD, which is good I suppose.

  • JimmyV1965

    Definitely don’t want Brown at $2.5 million. Kassian is a better player and the most he’s worth is $2 million. Would love to get Hamonic, but I think RNH is an overpay. I don’t want to come across as a homer who totally overvalues our local players. If Ebs doesn’t get the deal done, move on to the next guy. Snow is the guy trading from a position of weakness.

  • Welcome to the T.Hamonic train! Living in Oklahoma, I have the chance to watch the early 6pm (central) games. I have watched the Islanders for the last 3 1/2 years on NHL Centre Ice and T.Hamonic always stood out. I mentioned weeks ago when the Hamonic rumors started that he is the main guy to trade for. Just his $$$/Term is worth it, but his top 2, right hand shot makes it almost a dream for any club. Would I trade RNH for him? In a heart beat…

  • Boom or Bust

    If Harmonic is really this good. Then lets get him then.Trade a forward not named Connor.I love all our core too…but we need that D piece for the next year..get him and be done with it!!

  • hockey1099

    If Johanaen = jones does nuge = hamonic? It could be argued that hamonic is the better of the two Dmen. He certainly has the better contract as his hit is 3.8 and I doubt jones signs for less than 5.5 this summer. He is more proven yet still very young for a defencemen and he actually wants to play in western Canada.

    based on the above I’d do nuge for hamonic. I just don’t think snow will.

  • Frank Rizza

    I suspect that if Eberle was enough to get Hamonic, it would have been done at the deadline. I think Nuge would get it done but it would be so hard to give up Nuge right now, not only is he my favourite Player but Chiarelli better have another experienced centre that’s big and can play defense against the best players. Otherwise your top 2 centres have less than 160 career games and we all know what happens when u go in to a season with 3 nhl centres.

    Anyway, I’m definitely on the Hamonic bandwagon, I have been for awhile. It’s been said above but I think he is a prototypical #2 dman. I just don’t know if I could give up Nuge. Im glad I’m not the GM, because that’s a tough call

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Hamonic reminds me of Pronger before his Hart year. Middling points but if you watch him play you see a hell of a lot more.

    I’d prefer almost anything to messing with the three centres. They all might not be here forever but I’d rather start ’17 with depth at centre and sacrifice scoring on the wings.

  • LaRock

    I was chatting with a Isle fan on another site, he is in the NYC area and is fairly level headed.

    I asked what he truly thought it would take to get Hamonic.

    Eberle and a 2nd was the reply.

    Snow wanted an equal based Dman initially because it was in the season and he didn’t want to derail a whole season.

    The off season will be different, especially depending on how they do in the playoffs.

    I would do that trade.

    I also would NOT do any trade that revolved around losing center depth.

    • JimmyV1965

      This sums it up well. The Isles have Pulock at D now and he’s the real deal. If they lose Okposo, replacing his production would become a top priority.

      • CLubhouse

        Id do that trade as well but would ask for Okposo week early signing too.

        Snow will know if they have a chance to sign him if they don’t what’s it matter to him throw it in.

    • ziyan94

      We have multiple 3rds this year, hopefully Chia can grind the asking price down, seeing as Hamonic made the request. Wouldn’t mind Eberle and Pittsburgh’s 3rd (From Schultz trade).

  • madjam

    Would be nice to do a multi player deal with Isles (one stop shopping) and get Hamonic and Okposo . What might it cost ? I’d be tempted to move even Sekara if necessary . Another big defenseman i’d like to see is Gudbranson , although he is not a top 2-3 defenseman at this stage .