Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Nuge: Odds favor Arizona

If Peter Chiarelli stays true to form, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be traded the week of June 24-30, 2018. How do I know this? Following the rule of ‘Steve Austin exits’ it only makes sense:

  • June 29, 2016: Traded Taylor Hall to New Jersey Devils for Adam Larsson.
  • June 22, 2017: Traded Jordan Eberle to NY Islanders for Ryan Strome.

It follows that the Nuge, final Austin, will be dealt sometime final week of June, 2018. We should also be aware the window for a trade may open shortly after Leon Draisaitl signs later this summer. Why can we be so sure of Nuge being dealt? Edmonton has to reduce the cap by next summer, when Connor McDavid’s long-term deal kicks in. Trading Milan Lucic, Andrej Sekera or Cam Talbot isn’t possible (various no movement clauses), but the Nuge has no trade restrictions. Source: NHL Numbers.

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The most likely trade destination based on Peter Chiarelli’s Edmonton transaction history? Arizona. Edmonton has made three deals with the Coyotes since Chiarelli arrived:

  1. June 30, 2015: Traded Boyd Gordon to Arizona Coyotes for L Lauri Korpikoski.
  2. February 1, 2017: Traded Mitchell Moroz to the Arizona Coyotes for Henrik Samuelsson.
  3. June 24, 2017: Traded No. 82 (Cameron Crotty) pick and No. 126 (Michael Karow) to Arizona Coyotes for No. 78 (Stuart Skinner), all picks in 2017 draft.

Another team Chiarelli has used quite a lot since arriving with the Oilers? The New York Islanders. Fans may not want to see another deal between the two teams based on early returns:

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  1. June 26, 2015: Traded No. 16 (Mathew Barzal) and No. 33 (Mitchell Stephens) to the NY Islanders for D Griffin Reinhart.
  2. June 22, 2017: Traded Jordan Eberle to NY Islanders for Ryan Strome.
OEG pushing safety and player experience in bid to be an NHL hub city


A lot can change over a year and in the case of the New York Islanders, John Tavares is a free agent next summer. Garth Snow appears locked and loaded on getting him to re-sign, and one could guess Matt Duchene is the backup plan (although Joe Sakic is giving new meaning to the word aloof this summer).

If the situation reaches critical in Brooklyn, and the Tavares deal doesn’t happen, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins could be an option. Although Nuge isn’t in the same range as Tavares offensively, he might play a more prominent role on the power play (something RNH was very effective in when given lots of playing time). Possible returns might be youngsters like Ryan Pulock, Josh Ho-Sang or Anthony Beauvillier (remember, Edmonton will need to lose cap dollars on the deal).


Since the Coyotes like to do business with Peter Chiarelli, maybe there’s a fit there. I doubt Dylan Strome is leaving the desert, he is a lottery pick and Arizona is still in development mode. Christian Dvorak is an intriguing player, wonder if Arizona might be willing to move him so early in his career. One player I would love to see in Edmonton: Jakob Chychrun, a young and impressive defender.


Unless you can figure out a way to deal Andrej Sekera or Milan Lucic and email the winning idea to Peter Chiarelli, suspect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is spending his last summer as an Oiler. Where do you think he’ll go? What would you like to see in return?

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#NationSims2 Playoff Live Stream Sim: Round 2 - Game 6 – Coyotes vs Oilers 3pm MT



      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        and i wish fans would stop with the Rieder stuff. talent wise he’s not on the same level as Leon. just because he’s German like Leon doesn’t mean there’s a scorer if he were to ever get to play with Leon.

      • 2centz

        I encourage Oiler fans to watch some highlights of Ryan Strome. He has speed,super slick hands,and can unleash the one timer,from either side of the ice. Strome wasn’t simply a throw in,on a salary dump. He was selected 5th overall,right after Adam Larsson,for a reason. Here’s to hoping his situation in NY was an anomaly,and that he finds traction playing with his little brothers best bud. Also worth noting,we now have the 1st,4th and 5th picks from the 2011 draft. I seem to believe that having 60% of the top 5 picks from any year,can’t be a terribly bad thing?

        • Samesame

          He hasn’t proven he’s anywhere near the scorer eberle is. People can say what they like about ebs, but he’s scored at like 60 pts per 82gp as a career average. Those are not only true first line numbers, they’re among the top scoring right wingers for like half a decade. Until he is, strome isn’t isnt close and the trade was a cap dump

          • 2centz

            Agreed,and here’s to hoping it was more situational,than ability based… I for one,am excited to see what Strome does in Edmonton. With the dollars that went out with Ebs,we were able to resign Russell,who fits in the room and on our team,with really limited pickings,in terms of replacing him via free agency. We also added Jokinen,who could have a large return for money spent,as well as Ryan Strome. If Strome finds his groove,we are money,and he becomes another asset. If he’s a bust,he’ll still bring more effort and care each shift,than Eberle ever did.

          • Samesame

            Who cares about perceived effort if he doesn’t produce as much? I for one think the whole effort thing with ebs is greatly exaggerated. He’s a pretty typical perimeter scorer with elite hands. It can be frustrating, but it’s how many of them play. But more to the point, lots of guys can try hard and not actually accomplish anything (ie; nail yakupov) but I’ll take the guy that puts up the results

          • Leichs

            I agree with you. Playing with Connor and a competent coach, I wont be at all surprised to see him break 20 goals. If Connor can do that for a 29 year old Maroon, I see no reason why a young healthy Strome cant have a career year. Im not saying 30 goals but I definitely think 20 is reasonable. No career years for Ebs playing with Connor, in fact it was just the opposite career lows.

    • Mitch92

      The only way that Arizona trades Chychrun is if they feel he is not going to live up to the hype. Remember he dropped significantly in his draft year after being touted as a top three pick the year leading up to his draft. Personally I don’t see a potential stud there. I see a decent complimentary piece. He scored one highlight reel goal during junior and everybody jumped on the bandwagon. Not enough to impress me.

      • Yelak

        Scoring goals isn’t really the thing that is impressive about Chychrun. I would hate to see Nuge traded, but if his value was high and it involved a package that included Chychrun I could stomach that.

  • The Whispererer

    Remember when we traded Rieder to Arizona for knuckle dragger Kale Kessy because apparently Reider wasn’t going to sign with the Oilers and would re-enter the draft ?
    If Nuge goes to Arizona i would like to see Christian Fischer as part of the return. A RW with size and a knack for being able to put the puck in the net…40 goals in 66 games in his final season of junior; 20 goals in 57 games in Tucson and 3 in 7 games with the Coyotes in his rookie season.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      and let’s not forget that Rieder could see the writing on the wall at the time because he was behind Nail, Ebs and Hemmer at RW and likely wouldn’t have gotten much ice time.

  • madjam

    I don’t see the Hopkins contract amount as being a problem after next year , unless his production is down again . Did Chia not say one 6M was/might be in jeopardy when McDavid’s took effect . Eberle has already been sacrificed early , so why the hoopla about Hopkins now ? Oilers had for years traded away their top 3 scoring forwards only to help us remain out of playoffs , and hope cheaper fill ins could do the job along with rookies . Needless to say it was disasterous for years on end . We got to win better trades and get away from downgrading .

    • Mitch92

      Moving Nuge to open a spot in the middle for Drai is not a downgrade at the center position. It is an upgrade. That is why acquiring Strome was so important. It allows Drai to play second line center to give the Oilers two offensive power lines. A top six of CMD, Maroon, Puljujarvi, Lucic, Drai and Strome is an improvement from last year. I predict that our Goal Differential will improve this year whether we score more or not.

      • madjam

        Moving Leon to second line then creates a worse downgrade overall , because no one comes close to being as effective as Leon on the first line . Can Jesse and Strome be expected to produce more than Pouliot and Eberle ? Doubt it ,and losing Hopkins just magnifies it if he dealt for a downgrade . Hopkins is generally top 6 material , but same may not necessarily be for Jesse as yet , or maybe even Strome . If Leon is moved to second line , I suspect he will be playing with Hopkins (2C option) and perhaps Lucic , which stands a good chance for Hopkins to have a banner year over playing mainly with Pouliot and Eberle a ggood portion of his career . He did well with Hall as I recall , and should replicate that with Leon if given the chance . Relying on question marks like Strome and Jesse unlikely to be as effective as having Hopkins as major piece in top 6 , and also be better with goal differential as well .

        • Mitch92

          I disagree that moving Drai off of Connor’s line hurts our overall offense. Connor’s line will continue to produce regardless of who he is passing to. The production of the second line will improve greatly with Drai in the middle, enough to offset any reduction of offense from the top line in Drai’s absence. I also believe Jesse Puljujarvi can handle the top six responsibilities. If Jesse and Connor develop some chemistry watch out!

        • Glencontrolurstik

          Can Jesse and Strome be expected to produce more than Pouliot and Eberle ?
          Of course they can,… By far… Add Josi to that line & it’ll become a primo 3rd line.
          Nuge should play RW with Drai & Looch…

  • ScottyPrime

    Only thing I think is fair to mention is that if Vegas is, in fact, a top 5ish team for sales this year then the cap is going to go up by more than the expected 1-2mil next summer. People have talked like adding a new revenue generator is balanced out by the fact that that’s one more team to split revenue with, but if Vegas is making money at a Rangers/Oilers/Bruins kind of pace then it creates a more positive effect than negative and its pull on the salary cap with not be neutral. If the cap jumps 4ish mil or even more then the need to move out Nuge will be considerably lessened, pending a whole lot of things that could easily change between now and then.

    • ed from edmonton

      The C$ has increased by about 10% over the last 6 weeks. That alone will have an impact on the cap. So there is a good chance that the cap will get a pretty good bump next year. However the question will still remain whether $6M for a 3rd liner is sustainable.

      • madjam

        Ed -you over assume Chia will use Hopkins as a third line center or winger . Pretty sure Chia would have traded him by now if he felt he was a bottom six player . Keep him in top 6 and get his value up is still best scenario .

    • ed from edmonton

      It hasn’t been one bad season, its been a series of middling seasons and RNH is now in a spot where he will likely be a 3rd liner. No team can sustain a $6M third line player.

      • Big Nuggets

        Nuge was matched up against the top lines of San Jose and Anaheim in the playoffs. You can argue that Getzlaf won that match-up, but Getzlaf will win almost any match-up. Also we almost won that series. Now, you can argue that if Nuge would have put up a little offense we would have one that series, but the same goes if McDavid could have scored at a point per game clip as expected. So Getzlaf won his match-up and McDavid did not win his match-up against Kesler(note: Kesler makes more money than.Nuge). Draisaitl was the wildcard that almost won the series for us, but that performance was in the context of line juggling made possible by the established line match-ups. Draisaitl as of now does not have dominant numbers as a centerman. He will one day, but right now he is not a defensive player. The coach is still going to try to get Draisaitl into positions to score, not to shut down other top centermen. All you people that think Nuge has now been rendered redundent because of Draidsaitl are getting ahead of yourselves. Maybe Draisaitl becomes a dominant centerman this season, but the step from putting up regular season points to being matched up against the most elite centers in a 7 game playoff series is a big one.
        Also everyone gets hung up on this Nuge is a 3rd line center mentality. My guess is even if Nuge is taking defensive zone assignments at center, the coach is still going to find ways to incorporate him into important minutes in important games. If he is third on the depth chart at center but still is in the top 6 in minutes played every night, what’s the difference?

  • Spydyr

    Before sending Nuge down the road how about trying him on McDavid’s wing. This is something I have been mentioning since early last season. I am not sure why the coaching staff is hesitant to give this a try. Nuge is defensively sound has a good quick shot and is smart enough to play with Connor.

    • Mitch92

      My choice for Connors right hand man would be Puljujarvi. He is big, strong on the puck and happy to feed Connor all day. Puljujarvi loves to feed his teammates. With Connor he would also receive his share of scoring opportunities. This option allows Drai to centre Looch and Strome. Drai will benefit from facing secondary defenders while CMD, Maroon and Puljujarvi eat up the league.

      • Spydyr

        Sure, in a few years but from what Puljujarvi showed last season he is not there yet. IMO he has a chance to be Connor’s winger for years but he has to earn it.

        • Mitch92

          Puljujarvi could have played the whole season up last year if he wasn’t hampered by his language issues and adjusting to a new life in a new country in a new continent at the tender age of 18. It the Oilers handle Jesse properly and it looks like they are with the signing of Jussi Jokinen, he will develop into the stud we all want him to.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Huge ifs but:

    If Nuge bounces back and plays closer to what he looked like in his rookie season and…

    If the Oilers win the Cup…

    I think there is enough wiggle room to work with and keep him on this team for the remainder of his deal. The following year options open to move out players so 2019 might be a retooling year (see: 2011 Blackhawks) but if Nuge gives Chiarelli reason to keep him I think he will.

    • Dan 1919

      Yeah, it looks like they’ll need to find say $4-6mill in cap space. If Nuge proves he’s worth keeping I think they will be able to figure it out too. I hope he rebounds and that’s the case but I kind of think what we see is what we get with him. A good player but not a great player that can drive his own line.

  • Bills Bills

    I don’t want to talk about trading Nuge. I think there is room on this team for him. What I think is truly going to be a deciding factor, is the season Patrick Maroon has and what a 30 year old Maroon will want for dollars. Something tells me he will want to cash in on what would likely be his last chance to sign big dollar contract. If that is the case and PC wants to reward him, then Nuge will need to be sacrificed. Personally I would rather see him walk. Other than that I see no reason they can’t fit RNH under the cap. Besides if the is one of the Austin players you want to keep. It is RNH. He is too smart, skilled and versatile to trade for a depth player just to save a few bucks.

  • oldTymeOilerfan

    RNH is “hiding in plain sight”:
    I think Nuge may be the RW the Oilers are searching for (i.e. for McD). Imagine Nuge setting up behind the goal line (a la Gretzky) while McD “tries” to get open in front. It could be a thing of beauty – with great odds for lighting the lamp. Take your pick:
    1. McD gets open
    2. McD draws double or triple coverage
    3. RNH walks out from behind the net
    4. RNH passes to a trailing D man
    Nuge has some Gretzky in him, or at least he did in his rookie season. Maybe it’s still in there?

  • NealH

    You know, it’s really going to depend on Nuge. It’ll be what he does this year that determines his future here. Everybody knows he’s smart enough; it will be whether he can actually, physically, dominate the play and produce. I for one sincerely hope he’s successful.

  • nuge2drai

    Do not trade Nuge.

    How long did it take for the pens to win a cup after they traded Staal.

    They could not win until they got a solid replacement in Bonino.

    Centre depth is what all good teams have. Trade the wingers or trade Sekera but Nuge is too valuable to lose.

  • Loading...

    Something I would like to happen is Nuge to the NYR. How about for Skjei + Pick/Prospect? The Rangers are in need of a centermen after trading Stepan, and we could use the offensive defenseman

  • Jay (not J)

    You know I’ve been saying all summer that TM should put Nuge on the wing and I’m started to get a little irked that he’s STILL ignoring me (who does this guy think he is?). You’d think he thinks he knows something I don’t or something.

      • Bills Bills

        Nuge played center because he was their best defensive center. CMD can’t play the whole game. With Drai showing what he did in the playoffs and if he can carry that into next season, it gives TM an opportunity to try different things. Provided the back end holds together without Sekera

  • Chiarelli also dealt Hall and Eberle to the East, so Arizona is way out of the equation. I think a right-shot defensive prospect and a first round draft pick would be the deal in order to shed most of Nuge’s cap. Look for an Eastern team rebuilding with cap space that is between 18th and 26th place who needs a young veteran centreman. Maybe Buffalo or yes, New Jersey.