Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Trading RNH for Rasmus Ristolainen would be a terrible idea

When Brendan Gallagher fired the puck past Carter Hutton to give the Canadiens a 5-3 lead over the Sabres on Saturday night, Rasmus Ristolainen was tagged with yet another minus. He would finish the night with a minus-three rating, extending his league-worst plus/minus to -42 on the season.

Plus/minus is very far from a perfect stat. Players will get frequently a plus for a play they weren’t involved in and they’ll get a minus when they didn’t do anything wrong. Bus riders on good teams will be the benefactors of their teammates’ strong play and those who play on bad teams will be punished for the opposite. But, in the case of Ristolainen, his league-leading -42 rating is an indicator of how much value he bleeds defensively.

Rumours have been swirling all year around Buffalo’s so-called No. 1 defenceman. He was a prime candidate to get moved at the deadline, and now his name is showing up in rumours in Edmonton as the Oilers seek a top-pairing defender who can produce offence.

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I know this is Jim Matheson just spitballing so this isn’t a legitimate rumour or anything, but the idea of the Oilers acquiring Ristolainen is something I’ve seen thrown out there way too many times. Many suggest he’s the top-pairing, right-handed, offence-producing, defenceman the Oilers need. He’s two of those things, right-handed and offence-producing, but he isn’t a top-pairing defender.

Ristolainen was selected eighth overall by the Sabres in the 2013 draft, one spot behind Darnell Nurse. He broke into the league quickly, splitting his post-draft season with the Sabres and their AHL team in Rochester. In his third professional season, Ristolainen put up 41 points in 81 games for the Sabres while averaging 25 minutes per game. It was good enough to warrant the team signing him to a six-year deal worth $5.4 million annually, signalling that he was the Sabres’ No. 1 defenceman moving forward.

At a glance, you can easily see why the Sabres viewed him as that guy. He’s big, he skates well, he has a booming shot from the point, he’s got a mean streak and isn’t afraid to throw a hit, and he puts up points and munches big minutes. All of the traditional boxes are checked off. But if you dig a little deeper, you see something completely different.

The Sabres have routinely been a better team throughout Ristolainen’s career when he watches from the bench than when he’s on the ice. The difference this season is particularly dramatic. The Sabres have a positive shot attempt and goal differential at even strength with Ristolainen on the bench and the numbers completely torpedo with him on the ice.

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Information courtesy of Travis Yost. Source.

Of course, this doesn’t all mean that Ristolainen is a terrible, useless player. We have a similar situation here with Kris Russell. If Russell is playing on the team’s top pair, getting fed 22 minutes a night against top competition, he’s going to get buried. But if he’s on the third pair, playing 17 or 18 minutes a game, he’s just fine. Ristolainen is a player playing over his head and his underlying numbers reflect that.

So if the Oilers were to trade a player like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to acquire Ristolainen, they wouldn’t be filling the hole on the right side of the top pair. Realistically, they would be acquiring a second-pairing defenceman who could play on their power play.

I honestly don’t hate the idea of going after Ristolainen. As I said above, he’s got the tools, but he’s in over his head in his current top-pairing role. While his $5.4 million annual price tag is a little steep for his ideal role as a second-pairing guy, he’s actually a good buy-low option given the miserable season he’s had. Still, this isn’t the type of player you trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for.

While Ristolainen is in the midst of putting up the worst plus/minus in the NHL, Nugent-Hopkins is having the best season of his career. With a goal against the Blue Jackets last week, Nugent-Hopkins set a new career-high with 25 goals on the season. He also set a new career high earlier this year with 61 points. In his eighth NHL season, the former first-overall pick is finally becoming that excellent two-way centre who got compared to the likes of Pavel Datsyuk when he was drafted.

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There’s no doubt the Oilers have a need for a right-shot defender who can produce offence. They also have a need for high-quality forwards and Nugent-Hopkins is one of three they actually have on their roster. If the Oilers are going to trade one of those three forwards (I can tell you Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl aren’t going to be moved), they better be getting somebody much, much better than Rasmus Ristolainen back. This organization can’t afford another Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson deal.

  • Jason Gregor

    RNH is also a career-worst -15. Yet he is having a career-best offensive season. What does it mean? Is it possible for a player to be good offensively, not terrible defensively, yet still have a bad +/-?

    RNH is a team worst -15 among forwards and second worst on team behind Larsson. I’d be leery of +/-, and Ristolainen plays more minutes than other Sabres the past four years, by a long shot. He had to face top players more often. Many things to consider, but I wouldn’t see this deal even close to Hall/Larsson. RNH isn’t as good as Hall and Ristolainen is better than Larsson. I wouldn’t see a trade involving these two being one-for-one, I would see it as a package deal. Something along lines of what Carolina/Calgary did last year.

      • Jason Gregor

        You do realize RNH’s most common linemate this year was Connor McDavid. He played 374 minutes with him. 100 more than any other player. He played 35% of his 5×5 minutes with McDavid. And teams trade good players all the time. Hamilton, Jones, Weber, Subban, Seguin, Hall, etc.

        • Towers-of-dub

          I like articles like this. 2 lousy teams trading players to each other without considering that those players may well be part of the reason the teams have been lousy since they entered the league.

        • AJ88

          On your annual trade RNH possibility again. You’ve been doing the same commentary every year the Oilers are out of the playoffs. Maybe give the same space for Lucic and his great stats.

    • Gravis82

      a cheaper way to get a top pairing D man who will be ready when the team is ready is to just draft one, or draft a forward and trade them later for D. Lets look back to 2015 NHL draft….barzal, chabot, connor, beauviller, Konecny, Aho…still all on the board, and picked either at or not soon after,each of the Oilers picks (which they traded). How many of those are *already* nhl all stars? The answer is 4.

      Debrincat was also on the board in the second round of 2016, and was , oh, just Connor McDavids linemate in junior. Passed on that one as well. Circle back three years later and he has 28 goals last year and 36 this year.

      Any of those players could not be traded for a very very good defenseman.

      I think I found the problem.

      Thomas Chabot was the pick that year for us and they blew it. There is no choice but to restart the process one last time.

      • Arfguy

        I would not do that trade. If you are trading RNH, you should not add anything else. Ristolainen is not worth a one-for-one for RNH and never has been. The Oilers need cap space, so adding Ristolainen’s cap hit and Reinhart’s $3.65 million AAV while also trading a first round is just poor asset management.

    • CaptainCanada94

      Cannot trash this comment enough. RNH is a sure thing, bonafide two way center. Ristolainen is a crap shoot that maybe he’s top pairing, maybe he is second pairing. Did we not learn from the Hall trade? It would be an absolute shame for the Oilers to trade Hall+RNH for 2 fringe top pairing defencemen. Oilers sure like to gamble on long-shots… #smartestguysintheroom

      • Glencontrolurstik

        I whole heartedly agree 100%. We keep RNH, full-stop. If for nothing more than his work ethic, attitude on & off the ice in the community. And the biggest reason, the Oilers owe it to him. I believe we are closer than most people think & RNH has gone through hell & back for this team with nary a complaint… There is a ton of value in that for a team that is trying to get back on track. Nuge is not part of the problem here. We have other things of value that could be released, but not Nuge, please. Plus, would what the Oilers get for Nuge really beat the value he gives the team?

        • CaptainCanada94

          Any trade involving RNH needs to be a slam-dunk/ homerun. Risto is the furthest thing from that. AKA find a GM desperate like Chiarelli was for us. Sabres GM should be in a position of zero leverage…

        • Glencontrolurstik

          Yeah, looking past just the points, Lucic’s optics on the Oilers are 2X what Hall ever brought… Plus, if we ever made the playoffs, we would all see more value in his play. (the Leafs are gonna wish they had a Lucic type on their team this post season.)
          The area that Lucic hurts this team is his salary. But even in this area, I’d much rather have Looch, than “me-me” Hall on my team at the same money.

          • Arfguy

            Lucic does not add anything to the Oilers anymore. His play overall is ineffective, regardless of his salary.

            Name me one game where Lucic was the difference maker. If you want to say the game where Lucic scored two against the Buffalo Sabres in a 7-2 victory, I would like to remind you that Zack Kassian scored the winning goal and Connor McDavid added the insurance to make it 4-2 at that point.

    • nbandito

      Nuge has even more value to us than simply carrying the second line and playing against top opposition every night. He is effective on the PK, fierce on the PP and invaluable in OT. You do not trade a player like that unless it’s a for a ‘guarantee’ player. The Nuge is far too valuable to us.

    • aspin

      Jason, let’s look at this objectively. Does Risto play defence alone against many of the top players? He is -42. the next lowest plus/minus on defence is -13. That is pretty telling. 5 x 5 he is giving up 42 goals more goals when he is on the ice than he is generating. It obviously is happening no matter who he plays with and it would be really interesting to dig into if the players he has played with are doing significantly better without him as opposed to with him. At first glance based on the +/- it would indicated yes and by a wide wide margin. As I stated below, if we trade Nuge for a defenceman we have 2 forwards signed that have more than 14 goals. Ouch. Really? We want to deplete 20 goal scorers for defencemen? Who would the defenceman pass it to that can actually pick up a pass? It blows my mind that we would take an organizational weakness (forwards) to add to an organizational strength (defence) and a significantly overpaid defenceman that has the same amount of points of Darnell Nurse who brings many more assets to the rink than Risto does and makes a portion of the salary that Risto does. Not to mention Bouchard and Jones waiting in the wings.

      Also, as mentioned, we look at the depth of centre as a bad thing until one of Draisaitl or McDavid goes down for a number of weeks. Who would be the second line centre? They don’t even have a third line centre. That would be the season right there. Just one more season down the drain and watching Risto set all time highs in minus.

      • Arfguy

        Bravo @aspin. Thank you for taking at least an objective look at this completely ridiculous suggestion.

        Under no circumstances should we consider trading RNH. Draisaitl and McDavid are locks, just like RNH should be. Going forward, the core should be McDavid, Draisaitl, RNH and Nurse.

    • Anton CP

      Just read through the replies to you…what I read is bunch of the Oilers fans overrating their beloved player again. You are right about the truth of RNH that he in fact holds very little value in the league.

      What I am looking for from this trade has nothing to do with players values since they are about equal, I am looking at if Ristolainen will help to solve the issue with the Oilers. I don’t think that Ristolainen will help the Oilers because of his play style.

  • The Oilers have three forwards that consistently score I don’t know how trading one of them is even remotely an option. It doesn’t make any sense, but then again, this is the Oilers. The focus should be to clear cap space to bring in more skill, not steal from Peter to pay Paul.

    • Jason Gregor

      They need to improve their puck moving on backend. They give up way too many goals. They spend too much time in their own zone. New GM can’t be fearful of trading away a good player. He just has to be astute enough to ensure he is bringing in an equally good player, or hopefully a few times, one who is slightly better.

        • Jason Gregor

          Be aware. Don’t be fearful or nothing will happen. I’m not saying you trade RNH away for a bad player, but if the right deal presents itself I’d strongly look at it. If he can get you a solid puck moving RD I’d do it.

          • Rock11

            Theoretically I agree but isn’t Risto just an older, more expensive version of Evan Bouchard. Why would you trade one of the only scoring forwards you have when just last year you used your first round pick on exactly the player you would now be acquiring. If significant cap relief or other asset was coming back in the deal I might be convinced otherwise but right now the organizational strength(if there is one) is on D. This team will not be a cup contender next year so lets please not try and rush the developmental curve again or we may end up with another Reinhart deal.

          • rnj

            Gregor you mentioned wanting a 3rd C and skilled winger for Nuge, who did you have in mind? It seems teams who trade a more skilled player for several less skilled players seem to lose by diluting talent

          • The voice of reason

            If you trade away reliable 2-way C then you should expect to get not only a struggling Risto but in addition at least a very decent winger. The only reason why the Oilers should even faintly cosnider this is because they already have two strong C’s – but still please make the other GM pay for what he gets !

          • aspin

            Chia’s famous last words before the Hall trade, Lucic signing, Eberle trade, Strome trade, etc. If you trade RNH for Risto we then have 20 players signed who have more than 14 goals. The Oilers need to add forwards not subtract from the core they have. The other point a lot of people forget is that it looks all rosie to have 3 centres but the ability to move a centre to wing is a lot better than having two centres and having one of them down for a significant portion of the year and not have anyone who would be a top 9 player playing centre.

          • Gravis82

            You cannot trade your good players. Pretty simple to see that you need them. You trade them only when you have too many in one area. We absolutely do not have too many, in any area. You have to draft them, and then keep them if they are NHL players. When you find better players, push them down the lineup. Add free agents at the very end when you have won your division without them. If you cant draft your core you dont deserve to win a cup anyway. Oilers need to draft two all start in the next 5 years or they never win with McDavid, and that is the brutal reality. They already missed out on 3 fantastic players in the last two drafts that are now all starts or 1st line players.

      • Gravis82

        This kind of panic mentality got us here in the first place. Teams dont trade those defenseman. You just have to draft them. Or you need to use analytics to find D like this who are extremely good at moving the put but are undervalued because they simply cannot score. These players should be on your bottom pair as the limit the damage of poor 3rd line and 4line players

  • Gary Chalmers

    The minute you trade RNH, you will have to find a replacement. I’m sick and tired if the talk of the Oilers needing a top pairing defenseman, they dont, Klefbom and Larsson, when healthy have proven they are capable. Dont make a overreactionary Chiarelli type of trade and hand cuff the organization even more then it is.

    • TKB2677

      For the record, I am a Nuge fan but I am also a bigger Oilers fan and want them to get better. Nuge is having a career year which is amazing. So that means his value is at an all time high. Nuge is not a 1st line center, he’s a decent second line center on a lot of teams. If the Oilers had decent wingers, Nuge would be on the 3rd line because he is the Oilers, 3rd best center. For a guy who’s supposed to be a good “2 way center” he’s STILL lousy at faceoffs. For a guy who’s this good “2 way center” he’s typically always a minus player. For a guy who’s this good “2 way center” how many times do we see Nuge standing there watching his man fire a puck in the goal. For a guy who’s supposed to be this good “2 way center” it sure doesn’t translate to the PK a place he plays a ton on and a special team that has SUCKED for years. As Gregor said, he’s played a TON with McDavid. If McDavid can make Kassian look like a 20+ goal man, what do you think he could do with Nuge?

      The Oilers need puck moving, speed , PP running ability and offense from their defense, preferably from a right shot guy. Ristolainen is going to score over 40 pts this year AGAIN on Buffalo. What could he do if he had McDavid or Leon, both 100 pts players to take his passes from or have either of them feeding him pucks on the PP? Does the +/- concern me a bit, yes. But could that be corrected? He’s not even 25 so he hasn’t peaked yet and with good coaching, the right partner and a better system, that could be easily changed around. Cap hit wise, they’d be trimming 600k. So if you could get a dman who checks off basically every box the Oilers need, you have to look at it.

      Plus if the Oilers get a few wingers, all of a sudden, Nuge is on your 3rd line and you can most definitely replace a 3rd line center.

      • rnj

        “Nuge is a decent second line center”

        He’s 30th in points for centers. He’s a good second line center on any team.

        I get that people say he’s played with McDavid, career year etc. He’s also never had quality wingers on his own line. When he has played center he’s always been competitive in terms of point production, being between 31st – 61st in points.

        This year the majority of his starts are in the defensive zone for the first time in his career and is still putting up great numbers.

        His faceoffs are garbage, fair point there. If you get rid of him though think about the depth on wing.

        Lucic, Khaira, Benson, Kassian, Gagner.. it’s already bad but it would be absolute trash

        • aspin

          Very flawed logic here unfortunately. Risto is playing with a significantly higher caliber of forwards in Buffalo than he will in Edmonton. Without Nuge we have 2 players signed that have over 14 goals. Who is he going to pass to? Where are “all these wingers” going to come from? Having Nuge on the third line is bad? First of all, we are not going to get 4 quality top 6 wingers to fill the first two lines this year. Just not gonna happen. And, if Draisaitl or McDavid go down for a few weeks then what? We don’t even have a third line centre let alone someone to play second line centre. The luxury of having three centres and moving one to wing is not something we can give up. It makes no sense at all. See above, Nurse has the same amount of points as Risto, plays the body, is going on an upward tradgectory whereas Risto started off fast but is not progressing. Nurse is making a fraction of what Risto is making. In a years time we are trying to then get a player of Nuge’s caliber for one of our defencemen and we will not be able to do so. Tell me how many centres of Nuge’s caliber are available out there for a 2nd line defenceman. Not a wise decision at all especially with Bouchard and Jones going to challenge this year and Nurse taking another step, having Sekera for a full year wit a training camp, etc.

      • rnj

        “Nuge is a decent second line center”

        He’s 30th in points for centers. He’s a good second line center on any team.

        I get that people say he’s played with McDavid, career year etc. He’s also never had quality wingers on his own line. When he has played center he’s always been competitive in terms of point production, being between 31st – 61st in points.

        This year the majority of his starts are in the defensive zone for the first time in his career and is still putting up great numbers.

        His faceoffs are garbage, fair point there. If you get rid of him though think about the depth on wing.

        Lucic, Khaira, Benson, Kassian, Gagner.. it’s already bad but it would be absolute trash

  • lee

    I think trading him for Nurse would make sense. The team has 8 d on the big team and 3-4 trending d on the farm plus Buchard and the kid in Sweden. If you look at Sekera and Russel who probably cant be traded and lets be honest, trading you 6/7/8 d man is hardly going to bring back a kings ransom. Then its either Larsson, Klefbom or Nurse. The Oiler’s need skilled wingers that can score are young and are not being paid 6-7 million.
    I think that trading RNH for a player like Galchenyuk and either a solid prospect or a 1 st round pick would be something the team could look at.
    Or RNH plus Lucic and their second round pick for Galchenyuk and the coyotes 3rd round pick. The coyotes are always looking for players to reach the min cap and this way they get their 1st or 2 line center and a really expensive 4th line player that gets them to the floor.

  • QuitForRealThisTime

    The Oilers have 3 good forwards, maybe we should not trade one of them. Find other ways to build your team, like maybe draft and develop. Not going to help you today but ask yourself. If the Oilers trade RNH for a Risto does that move make the Oilers a Stanley cup contender? I would easily answer no. So don’t trade a good, loyal, fan loved player for a guy that is good but not going to push the Oilers over the hump to be a contender.

    • TKB2677

      You are 100% correct. The Oilers have 3 very good forwards.They have 2 elite forwards and 1 very good forward. They have 2 elite forwards who are both going to score 100 pts and a very good forward who might get mid 60’s in pts. The problem is they have nothing behind them. But the way I look at it is, while I do not want to trade Nuge, if you can turn 1 player into a high end dman which they could sorely use or you can turn Nuge into 2 decent forwards, are they not better off?

      If the Oilers had a few more wingers, Nuge would be a 6 mill 3rd line center scoring you 45 pts, half of which would be from the PP. He wouldn’t be playing with McDavid 5 on 5 which adds 20+ to his totals. So if you can get a really good dman that addresses major needs for your team or you can get a couple of decent forwards that improves your teams depth because the teams lack of depth is why they are where they are, then I think that makes you better off.

      You can go out and get yourself a good 3rd line center that doesn’t cost you 6 mill. Maybe he’s not as good as Nuge but no team has a 3rd line center as good as Nuge.

      • nbandito

        If you could get a few more wingers Nuge would score even more for us. There is an entire roster to point fingers at for better cap management, Nuge is not one of them.

  • Heschultzhescores

    RNH is a great all around player. Get a grip! He’s smart, skilled, skates well, handles the puck well. How about we just wait for our guys to develop. Bouchard and Jones will be mentored just fine if Sekera can stay healthy. Klef and Nurse keep getting better. No panic moves, there are no quick fixes, only quick F-ups.

    • BobbyCanuck

      Hmmm, I hear the word loyalty being bandied about…
      How about Oiler Mgmt loyalty to its players, by making sure they ice the best team possible

      Since RNH became an Oiler, he has face years and years of mgmt. ineptitude, an ineptitude that shows zero signs of abating, no they want new hires to fit the Mgmt culture?

      RNH is UFA in 2 yrs, he will want $8M/yr, at that point we will still have 1 or 2 years of cap hell left, where are we going to find the money to pay him?

      Will he take a home team discount? Remember, RNH was scholastic athlete of the year, he is no dummy. He is from the Vancouver area….

      He will get traded this off season or next

  • rondelo

    it all depends on how quick the team wants to be a contender,if they want to contend in the next year or two then making good trades is the way to go,if the team wants to wait to develop the draft picks then it will be 3 to 5 years ,how ever by that time Conner mites say im outta here

  • OilersBro

    Here’s the thing, trading Nuge for a Rasmus would make us still worse defensively. We have Bouchard coming up and Benning just played the best 20 game stretch of his career.
    Nuge is our best 2 way forward and trading him for an offensively minded defensemen makes no sense. Nuge is so much more than a 50 point centre – he’s a centre that shuts down elite forwards, kills penalties, and has proven success on the wing as well. Keep Nuge for gords sake.

    • TKB2677

      I keep hearing that Nuge is the best 2 way forward we have. Based on what evidence?

      McDavid is a +6, Nuge is a -15. Nuge has played with McDavid A LOT this year yet he’s still a minus. Nuge has been minus almost every season he’s been in the league. He’s a career -47.

      Nuge is a career 44% on faceoffs. He’s 45.88% this season. He’s NEVER been over 50%. How can you be considered a good 2 way center if you suck at faceoffs? If you look at all of the centers who are considered real good 2 way players, they are good at faceoffs as well.

      He shuts down elite players. How do you figure that? HOw many times do you see the opposition firing the puck into the net and guess who’s in chase position or guess who’s standing their watching him fire it in a lot?

      He’s big on the PK. Where is the Oilers PK this year? 30th. They were 25th last year. It was 17th the year before. It was 18th the year before. The Oilers PK for years hasn’t been good. Nuge has been a part of it. Is it all his fault? No but he’s been part of it. They have swapped out coaches, did different styles yet it still sucks. So what’s next to change? The players on the PK.

  • dsanchez1973

    “While Ristolainen is in the midst of putting up the worst plus/minus in the NHL, Nugent-Hopkins is having the best season of his career.”

    But is he really? He’s still a sub50% possession player, a negative relative possession player even on a crap team like the Oilers and with plenty of McDavid time. He has a career high in points, but it’s being powered by power play production (24 of his 61 points have come on the PP, a career high), where he’s clearly the #3 option. At 5v5, he had 36 points last year and has 34 this year.

    I’m not advocating trading RNH for Ristolainen, but we also need to not sit here and think of Nuge as some elite untouchable piece who has suddenly hit a new level in his career. He’s playing about the same, and getting a PP hot streak points boost.

  • rnj

    Trading RNH for Risto is a terrible idea. Trading RNH at all is a bad idea. If you move him it has to be for a true top dman, no more trading A+ forwards for B+ defence. Imagine if Chiarelli did two top picks and Hall for Karlsson instead of Reinhart and Larsson?

  • CMG30

    Well this sounds like exactly the kind of trade the Oilers are looking for. But If they pull the trigger then it’s another step backwards. We have a competent top line 2 way center who can also play wing for what is realistically a 2nd line D man who’s big and mean and can shoot the puck. The holes are top line D and forwards who can produce. RR doesn’t actually fill the hole on D and losing RNH opens yet another hole up front and costs versatility and depth down the center. Go after RR if you want but probably cost you nurse or Larsson.

  • camdog

    Oilers should bring up Ethan Bear for a few games. They never seem to know how good an Oesterle or anybody else is until they are on another team. I believe the Oilers have The defenceman in the system, I do not believe they have the forwards. If RnH is the guy getting traded I’m trading him for a right shot centre. People can say Leon shouldn’t play wing, reality is he is an elite winger. Is he really an elite centre? Do we know that yet?

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    No way am I doing this deal. RNH isn’t deterimental to the team and now we would end up trading out a guy who does well in most of the situation he is put in PP PK fort a guy thatcould be good on defence for the OIL. the Oil have some good prospects on defence coming along, They are not going to be NO1 ‘s right off the hop but the potential is there, so I would say wait on that. We need forwards more than defencemen and we have enough defencemen kicking around right now.

    Losing 30 plus points a guy can contribute would kill us, havent we learned that already. Chia traded away guys that were putting up points and replaced them with guy who couldnt put up points and this is one of the reason the oilers have only a handful of guys putting up points and that is a problem, we arent going to fix it by trading the teams 3rd best point producer

  • percy

    I don’t agree with selling the farm for a #1 Dman. We are looking good with our prospects on D. Finding a vet Dman for leadership works for me. A gritty winger who can put up points and search out a #1goalie . This team needs to add grit on the wings, I’ll take grit over speed at this time. This team is to soft in a lot of areas.

    • Rock11

      OMG! 2013 flashbacks. Need Grit? Too Soft? That is the line of thinking that got Hall sent out of town for Larsson, signed Lucic to a brutal contract, turned Eberle into Samwise, and generally destroyed all the potential this team ever had. Soft? What a joke. What this team needs is talent. Pure and simple. They need players who can keep up with 97 and score. Grit? $^$&^ ridiculous. Is that you Chiarelli?

      • percy

        No klowe it’s not. What we need are players that can put the puck in the net and goalies that can stop the other team from putting the puck in the net, you see, that’s how you get to the playoffs. Get it. I am talking about the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines, the lines that Mcdavid dosnt play on. Oh by the way the Hall and Larsson trade is long over, get over it will ya. Da

  • Alberta Ice

    On a bright note, the Oilers are comparable to the Lightning. They are the only two teams that now have two or more 90 point goal scorers in the whole NHL this year.

  • Wesley41

    Or if Buffalo has soured on Rasmus what about Russel and a draft pic (2nd or 3rd)I know it’s not a balanced trade for both teams but they get a serviceable NHL dman with cap relief and as someone said your not robbing Peter to pay Paul for about 1million extra cap hit and you can shuffle that money out another way!

      • BobbyCanuck

        Well, someone did say we need veteran D-Men for our kids to learn from, I think the forgot about Russel and Sekera being on the team.

        A veteran 2 time Stanley Cup Champ in Schultz, glad Chia is gone

    • Beer_League_Ringer

      We have a Ristolainen. His name is Darnell. What we won’t have is an RNH if we trade him. What is it about another Hall for Larsson-type deal that Oilers fans don’t understand? Keep good players. Period. D help is coming, but we need to be patient.

    • aspin

      So how do we fill out the other 5 to 6 top 9 forward positions? Seriously? We have McDavid, Draisaitl and Kassian (maybe) that would be top 9 forwards on any other team? How do we fill that out? Why trade from a spot of weakness (forwards) for strength (defence) given that Sekera will have a training camp and whole year and Bouchard and Jones will be challenging. We are way way more in need on forward than on D. Just silliness. Who would Risto pass to?

  • ellebee

    There shouldn’t be ANY trade talks, considerations or rumors until there is a GM. If Bob & Keith are cooking something up they need to stop & put their energy back into finding somebody more qualified than they are to make those decisions

  • the reasonable person

    If we can get a GM with a clue, there is a serious decision to make on Nuge this offseason.

    The way I see it, he is not really that effective defensively (he sucks at faceoffs, minus player, no signs of being a good PKer, with the eye test I often see him losing his man who is left alone to score). He is decent offensively but is absolutely not worth more than 6 mil a year. We’re talking about a guy who never put up more than 56 points before this year and he’s gonna get what, 65-68 this year because he played with McDavid a lot?

    As we’ve seen often lately, waiting until a player is almost a UFA means getting a tragic return in a trade, no matter how good the player.

    First the team needs to get a clue where they’re going but I say trade him this off season. Appropriate return will depend on what a competent architect has in mind.

    Had we made all our 2015 selections and not thrown away Eberle, we’d be enjoying the best center trio in the league. I don’t see this being reality now. We are building for 2022, or should be, just as we should have been building for 2018 in 2015.

    • rnj

      Who do you try to get with Nuge? I’ve heard a few people say trading him is a good idea but for a defender absolutely not. I think it would have to be a 2nd line winger and 3rd line center, I just can’t imagine getting good enough players back in terms of skill and salary that it would be worth it

      • the reasonable person

        It depends on what the end goal is. The end goal should be to properly rebuild, not compete now. With that in mind I’d need to know what he commands but I would find out this summer (while he still has 2 years of term). I’d be looking for high draft picks and top end scoring prospects. I have trouble seeing how you don’t at least look (when his value is superficially high) when the alternative is to give him a raise with likely long term. He might want 8 mil a year long term. If that’s the case, you gotta move on when you have 2 far superior centers.

  • TKB2677

    What blows me away about this team when it comes to the fans and some media types, excluding Gregor, is on a team that has been as bad as it has been, there sure are a lot of untouchables.

    According to most. You can’t trade Nuge or Klefbom or Nurse, Larsson or Puljujarvi. Everyone wants to trade the crap players.

    I would LOVE to keep all the players I listed and magically trade all the crap guys. But that isn’t realistic. From my perspective the only untouchables on this team should be McDavid and Leon. That’s it. Everyone else can be had for a price.

    • aspin

      Not saying Nuge is untouchable but sure not trading him for a defenceman and then the hopes of getting 3-4 20+ goals wingers. Do you realize that? When trading Nuge we have maybe 3 players on the team that are top 9 forwards on any other team. How do you fill another 5 or 6 spots?

    • rnj

      I’d do Russell + Puljujarvi + 2nd rounder for Parayko.

      Nuge isn’t untouchable, but I expect he’ll make 5-6M when he resigns and that’s good value for what he brings.

      Nurse is way too good to trade. He’s close to 0.5 PPG right now, physical, great skater, great contract, fights, plays huge minutes, hardly ever hurt.

      Klefbom I wouldn’t want to trade but he’s not untouchable.

      Larsson is good but not great. Tradeable.

      McDavid + Leon + Nurse is the core, hopefully we can add a few names to that list over the next couple of seasons.

      • Oiler Al

        Nurse is a good comparison, but he is a lefty.Klef is the closest righty, but is not as tough as Ritsolenin, and often hurt.Klef could have more points if could hit the net.Our future top pair should be Bouchard and Nurse[2020] and the Klef and jones.Trade Nuge for a couple of scoring wingers.

  • toprightcorner

    If the new GM beleives that in order for the Oilers to be successful that McDavid and Draisaitl need to center their own lines (which would be accurate) than that makes Nuge a winger as there is nowhere near enough winger depth for him to have any success centering a 3rd line. Nuge is a decent top 6 winger, but not a great one by any means. That puts his value to other teams a lot higher that to the Oilers.

    I am not saying that Nuge should be traded, but with the right plan in place, I can see it as a part of a bigger plan to turn the team around. Nuge would have to be replaced with an equal or better winger before you could trade him.

    If Nuge was to be traded for a dman, I would be shooting higher than Ristolainen and target a player like Dumba or Trouba, players that are stuck behind better players but could play top pairing with Klefbom.

    The Oilers could then trade Nurse to replace Nuge with an even better winger. Nurses value will never be higher because of his inflated offense due to Klefbom injury. He is an RFA after next year and will be looking for over $6 mill, way too much for a guy who can’t pass or move the puck up ice. Some GMs could see Nurse as a #2 if they have a high end #1.

    Wingers you may be able to get for Nurse include Conner, Gallager, Elhers, Meier, Schenn, Athenasiou, Kreider, Schwartz, Trochek or Konecny.

    Would you trade out Nuge and Nurse (maybe some sweetners) and end up with Dumba and Gallager? I know I would do that in a heartbeat. Your defence gets significantly better and you add a legit top line winger that bits better on the wing than Nuge. At worst, Gallager and Nuge would be a wash for wingers, but the significance of adding Dumba would be well worth it.

  • OilCan2

    No trade for Nuge. Not now. This season is done barring a miracle. Our only hope is the future and the Condors look good. Let’s get ready for the draft and sort out the coaches and management this summer. I say Bouchard, Lagesson and Jones are ALL going to be more attractive $$$ wise in a season or two while Risto is BIG $$$ & term.

  • Derzie

    Plus/minus is a great stat to use as long as it is qualified. Need to consider team standings, team average plus/minus, position, deployment, quality of competition etc.. Guys on the shutdown line/d-pairing are carry a heavy load. RNH is one of those guys.

    Also, I think the Oilers & Sabres have so many flaws that no one stat is meaningful on it’s own (beyond points and goal differential, which includes special teams. Plus/minus does not)

  • Arfguy

    I think a much better play would be Ristolainen for Oscar Klefbom…one-for-one. If the Oilers seriously want to go after Ristolainen, this is about as fair a trade as I can think of. Buffalo already has right-shot defencemen like Brandon Montour and Zach Bogosian. If they are looking for a defenceman that is sound defensively and can eat a lot of minutes, Klefbom is it. The Oilers need more production from their defence, so Ristolainen is it.

    It seems fair to me. Do. Not. Trade! Ryan Nugent-Hopkins FFS!

  • Free Bird

    It’s an incomplete analysis to quote plus/minus or relative Corsi without putting it in context with deployment stats (e.g. ice time, zone starts and strength of opposition). It’s normal for the most heavily played d-men on non-playoff teams to be heavy in the minus column.

    Regardless, a trade like this makes no sense when the Oilers are so completely devoid of depth up front. There are only three consistently productive forwards, so scoring forwards are the main point of weakness of this team, and therefore it would make no sense to trade one of the three to shore up the defence. On paper, this is the same defence from 2016-17, when the team finished with 103 points and made it to game 7 of round 2, albeit with a healthy Sekera and Klefbom. A team this short of talent has to play out the offseason and see if Sekera and Klefbom can come back to their 2016-17 form, then expend what few trade chips are left to shore up the top 6 scoring forwards.