The drawback to trading Jordan Eberle is that once he’s gone
your team doesn’t have Jordan Eberle anymore. Specifically, you don’t have a
right-shooting, elite level offensive right winger who can play with the
talented young Connor McDavid. He won’t be easy to replace, but neither will
any of the $6 million dollar men. Taylor Halls and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins don’t grow
on trees either. That said, there isn’t a replacement for them about to enter
free agency either.

There happens to be an offensively minded right-shooting
right winger with a history of playing with an elite centerman who is going to
be an unrestricted free agent this July in Kyle Okposo. There’s still time for
New York Islanders GM Garth Snow to come to a deal with his 2nd
leading scorer, but when he appears on radio then says things like this:

“We’re just in a situation with the salary cap that you
really have to analyze where you are today and where you’re going to be five
years from now,” Snow said. “There’s always tough decisions. We’re
not the only team that has tough decisions to make and potentially could lose
free agents on July 1.

“Kyle is a great person and has been a terrific player
for this organization. I wish him nothing but the best.”


Well, those words don’t strike a lot of confidence in the prospect
of resigning the pending free agent. There’s more than enough time for a sudden
change of heart, but wishing someone nothing but the best sure feels like there’s
a parting of ways about to happen.

Okposo might be the kind of player that could make an Eberle
trade palatable. In the list of scoring righties, he shows up early. NHL scoring
from 2012 to 2016 Eberle ranks seventh among RWs with 212 points in 278
games. Okposo is 9th with 208 points in 258 games. Over that same
timespan Eberle is 37th among NHL forwards with 1.98 Points per 60
minutes. Okposo is 26th with 2.08 Points per 60 minutes.

These are comparable players when it comes to offensive
production. We know that Eberle has played with the best linemates Edmonton has
had available since he joined the club. He can play with talent like Hall and
McDavid and he gels well with them. Okposo has been playing with John Tavares
for years. He knows how to play with elite thinkers in the game as well.

Okposo isn’t just an Eberle replacement. I think to many
Oiler fans he might be an Eberle improvement. In addition to the points, he
plays a much more physical game, and at 6′ feet and 217 pounds he also brings a
heaviness that Eberle does not. That’s something that Oiler GM Peter Chiarelli
might also be looking for as he quests to make Edmonton a heavier club.

With things like hits as a proxy for grittiness (which we
know isn’t perfect at all) we can see that Okposo has 50% more hits than Eberle
over the last four years. The Islander forward has 258 hits to Eberle’s 172. PIM’s show a similar story when it comes to a willingness to mix it up. He’s a comparable scorer with a much more noted physical edge.

The draw back to a player like Okposo is that as a UFA he’s
already 28-years old and looking to maximize his next contract. I think he’ll
sign in the $6 million dollar range but it’s really hard to pin down his asking
price. With the Cap not moving and a lot of teams in dire straights, there’s a
chance we are over-valuing players like Okposo, but I think he’s earned his
pay. The one thing the Oilers have that nobody else in the NHL does, is Connor
McDavid. He’s the draw. He’s the carrot (and a massive pay increase) that the
Oilers dangle to anyone.

Trading Jordan Eberle for a defenseman in a market that
seems to be drying up by the day will be tough to swallow. He might score 35
goals and 65-70 points alongside McDavid next year. Okposo might not score as
many goals, but he can pick up a lot of slack in the offensive zone and he
costs only money. It might take an asset like Eberle to net a defender and then the Oilers will have to replace their top RW. Okposo can be that guy.

  • oilbaron

    Why no talk about going after Stamkos? Signing him would make RNH/Hall expendable and we could use them in a trade to land a RHD. Gregor just wrote an article about offer sheets, so basically throwing a 7+ million dollar offer to land an RFA Dman which would cost allot of future picks. Instead of doing that, package Hall/RNH + Klefbom + yak + #4 to MTL for Subban and #9. Is it an overpay, YES. But we free up cap space, we strengthen our D because we’re already deep on LHD, klefbom isn’t that big of a loss considering you still have Sekera,nurse,Davidson,Reinhardt, and we sign a superstar LW/C in Stamkos that can play with Mcdavid for years to come.
    Allot of dead money is coming off the books next year when Draisitle is due for a raise (bridge him) and sign Mcdavid long term. Does MTL turn down that offer?
    Think about it before you roast me. The chance is there to do something extremely beneficial!

  • McReek

    Chemistry is an important thing in hockey and I believe that Ebs and Mcdavid have that so I don’t think it would be wise to trade ebs but if we can get okposo and keep ebs then i’m all for it

  • billythebullet


    Pou and yak are the trades for d. Not going to get a stud but could still upgrade one spot. Sign a couple older free agents for 3rd line. Lots of good names being said. Our forward group isn’t that bad off.

  • DoubleJ

    If you got Hamonic and Faulk? You are laughing. Even if it cost you Hall and Eberle. First that would be one of the cheapest top four d in the league. And a legit top four.
    You have Nurse and Davidson and Rienhart learning the ropes on 3rd pair. One of the best d groups in the league.
    Your saving 2-3 million in cap space. You can find wingers way easier then 1 paring dmen. You can grab a few RW at ufa that would do great with those forwards. We’re decent on LW even with out Hall. Plus just draft Tkachuk. Get by this year with pouliot and maroon plus the Russian and caggulia.

    No issues what so ever if we lose Hall and Eberle to get those two dmen.

  • madjam

    My target is S.Weber : Trade Yakupov ,Pouliot and Reinhart or Nurse to get him .At his salary hit not to many are going to offer a lot for him or can open up the cap space to accommodate such a contract . Let’s set our quest high like we did with Pronger .

    Juolevi might look good beside Weber .

  • pty142

    My Advice is to pay for rarity. For example: Ottawa should of kept Chara over Redden, as talented, physical 6 foot 9 defensemen are extremely rare.

    That money needs to go to McDavid. As good as Eberle is with McDavid, I believe that McDavid can get a lot out of whatever is given to him (see Yakapov). For the Oilers to have sustained success, the Oilers need to have inexpensive wingers to play with him.

    As well, since the Oilers have done such a lousy job of developing and drafting D-men, they will have to pay a premium to make up for the deficiency. They need to Maximize the McDavid window, which means they should aim to make the playoffs this coming year. This year proved that the current team structure isn’t good enough to make the playoffs. Make a change so that you have a quality R handed D-man! If it means Free-Agency or Trade Eberle, so be it. They have their elite Centre and they may have a starting goalie (probably need a back up). Just get that R handed D-Man. If they don’t get one, there better be a good reason….

    Also, I’d like to point out that I believe that Wingers are the easiest position to add via trade. (see Kessel trade)