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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Should Oilers sell high on Nuge or Nurse?

Greetings, Nation compadres! It’s Monday morning and, as always, that means it’s Mailbag time again. Every week, I’ve taken your questions and sent them off to our panel of geniuses to assess and pass along some hot wisdom that you’ll be able to carry forward with you for the rest of your life. With that in mind, I need questions for next week, so open up your internet machines and send me any query you may have about the Oilers or life in general. You can get them to me through email or on Twitter — I’m good like that. Until then, it’s time to learn something. Enjoy.

1) Philip B. asks – Is this the year that the Oilers should actually look to sell high on a few players ( Nurse & RNH)? Both of these players’ value has rarely been higher with each coming off career years. If you truly want significant positive change to the roster, aren’t these the players you’ll need to move to get it.

Jason Gregor:

So trade two of your top-five players will make significant positive change? I don’t see that being the best strategy. Anyone can be traded, but this off-season I’d look at other people to trade.

Robin Brownlee:

If you truly want significant positive change you don’t send away your best players. Trading a player who just enjoyed a one-off kind of year is selling high. Trading away one of your best three forwards or top two D-men who are consistently good/improving isn’t selling high, it’s selling stupid.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’m really against trading Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. If you have him on your second line, then you can afford to keep McDavid and Draisaitl together. If you lose him, then you’re weakening your top line and have to break up the NHL’s most dangerous duo. Keep RNH, it’s that simple. As for Nurse, I’d be more open to dealing him. He’ll be an RFA next summer and I could see a scenario where they trade Nurse for a good top-six forward and then deal some future assets (Jesse Puljujarvi, a second-round pick, Ethan Bear) for a more offensive defenseman to slide into Nurse’s spot. Still, I would be hesitant to move either. I think their best years are ahead of them.

Christian Pagnani:

I would consider moving anyone except Connor McDavid and maybe Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers aren’t good, so it’s always interesting to see this huge list of ‘untouchable’ players. The Oilers have sold low on players for far too long. I’d absolutely consider trading Darnell Nurse or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. If they weren’t considering it, I’d be disappointed. Doesn’t mean they’re 100% gone, but this team shouldn’t be limiting their options to get better.

Chris the Intern:

I think Nurse and Nuge are going to be the reason we find success over the next few years. Sure their value is high right now, but that’s not a good enough reason to see them go. As far as future salary goes, I think there are other significant areas of the organization where you can relocate salary to try save some money.

Baggedmilk:

Personally, I think the Oilers are in need of more good players not less. To me, the goal should be to get rid of the guys that are not producing to clear space for guys that can. The Oilers need cap space, the Oilers need a bottom nine (outside of Nuge) that can contribute. Trading RNH or Nurse, at this point, is stealing from Peter to pay Paul.

2) Jesse asks – I find it interesting that some writers are now talking about moving Kris Russell because of his cap hit when they were convincing us that he is part of the solution. What changed?

Jason Gregor:

I can only speak for myself. I’ve never felt Russell was nearly as bad as his “haters” claimed. It isn’t his fault he has had to play his off-side the majority of the time here because management was incapable of acquiring right shot defenders. Simple truth is the Oilers have to clear salary, and if they acquire a RD, then having Sekera and Russell as third pair LD is not ideal at the cap hit. But I’d keep Russell over Sekera, because he can play both sides and his $1.5m cheaper.

Robin Brownlee:

Talk about moving Russell is more about circumstances than cap hit. He’s a good player. Needs change.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I don’t think anything changed. I like Russell and think he makes a positive impact on the Oilers but he’s not worth $4 million, he’s worth half of that. He’s overpaid and the Oilers need to free up cap space. He would have some value on the trade market and you wouldn’t have to package an asset with him just to get rid of his contract. In fact, you might be able to get a decent piece in return for him. So if they can lose the $4 million and bring back a decent asset, I think they should do it.

Christian Pagnani:

I wrote about not signing Kris Russell prior to his four-year extension. I thought you can find someone else fairly easily and signing him would lead to a Ladislav Smid/Andrew Ference/Mark Fayne scenario where he makes too much money for a third-pairing guy and you’d be looking to move him shortly after signing him. I think people saw him playing big minutes on a team that went to the second round and thought you can’t let a guy who helped get you there walk. That was more on Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, and Adam Larsson. I bet some team takes him at his full salary, though. I don’t know how he got four times four and a no-move clause. Chiarelli, man. Whoever is the next GM needs to stop handing out bad contracts to depth players.

Chris the Intern:

I was never an individual who said Russell is part of the solution. I think he’s a great player and he’s an asset to our team, however, due to his salary and some upcoming defensive prospects of ours, I would feel okay if we moved him to relieve cap space.

Baggedmilk:

I know what you mean and I think it’s kinda funny. If Kris Russell made $2 million and not $4 million then I don’t think we’re talking about this right now, but the Oilers need cap space and moving the cowboy out of town would save them a fair chunk. Personally, I’d much rather see the team trade Russell than Sekera at this point.

3) Harold M. asks – I’ve never heard a player speak so glowingly about a division rival as we heard from Milan Lucic when talking about the Vancouver Canucks last week. Do you think there’s a real chance that he gets moved this summer?

Jason Gregor:

I think he would be open to it, but I doubt there is a long list of teams who will acquire him. The best chance of him being moved would be in a three-way deal where each team is retaining some of his salary. The new GM will need to be creative.

Robin Brownlee:

Small chance. Oilers would have to take Loui Eriksson. They’d save a year on the contracts, but Eriksson doesn’t score much anymore either and brings no other elements.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

The interview in Vancouver was weird and honestly, made me think that there is a real chance that we see him moved this summer. There are rumours that a team called about him at the deadline too. I would still say there’s like a 10% chance he’s not here next September. If they deal him, it would likely involve a bad contract coming back and if they deal him to Vancouver it would probably be Loui Eriksson. I would be all over that. Eriksson can actually score goals and he came out and said that he “doesn’t get on 100%” with Head Coach Travis Green. I think an Eriksson for Lucic swap makes sense.

Christian Pagnani:

It’s strange, but I don’t mind it. I appreciate Lucic’s honesty compared to saying he’s ‘all-in’ on the Oilers and turning it around here. We know he asked for a trade last summer and probably will do so again this year, so this is some rare honesty from an NHL player. There’s a chance he gets moved. They need to figure out a resolution to the Lucic situation. You can’t have him back as a third/fourth-line player with the attention it brings.

Chris the Intern:

It’s easy for us to run with his comments and speculate all summer long. I think our new GM will look into trying to move Lucic, however finding the right deal for him might be challenging. Lucic easily could have been speaking about playing for Vancouver much further down the road than next season.

Baggedmilk:

The only way the Oilers are going to move Lucic is if they take a horrible contract back in return and Loui Eriksson would certainly qualify. Just this week, Eriksson was complaining about his usage in Vancouver and Lucic was talking about how much he loves the place so I can see a scenario where something gets done there. Then again, I also thought Lucic might get moved last summer and we all know how that went.

4) Stephen asks – If you had your pick, who would you target to be the Oilers’ backup goalie next season? Looking at the upcoming UFAs, there aren’t many names on the list that really inspire so the Oilers might have to get creative. What does everyone think?

Jason Gregor:

McElhinney on a one-year deal…If you can get Varlamov on a decent deal, I’d look at him as well. I don’t see him getting starter’s money and if he’d take a  one-year deal I’d sign him. Then they have a healthy competition.

Robin Brownlee:

Petr Mrazek is the best of the bunch, but why would he come here?

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think they need to go the trade route for their next backup. I wrote about this not too long ago, but I really like Tristan Jarry. He’s coming off a really good year in the AHL and has a little bit of NHL experience as well. The Penguins have three goalies so I think Jarry would be available this summer. He’s young, can play in the NHL, and there’s room for growth. He also has a low cap hit.

Christian Pagnani:

There are some interesting options. Tristan Jarry and Eric Comrie require waivers next season. They’re young and inexperienced, but could develop into more than a backup goalie as well. I wonder if the Islanders would part with Thomas Greiss.

Chris the Intern:

There are quite a few goalies that will be available in free agency. If we’re able to afford one, I’d be happy to pick up one of them for a one year deal. Lehner and Mrazek are two possibilities.

Baggedmilk:

I don’t think free agency is going to solve it. I think that the Oilers are going to look at making a trade. As for who that is? That’s anyone’s guess right now. We’ll have to wait and see how Holland plays this thing out.

5) David O. asks – Of the Oilers main core of players, the only ones who have zero fighting majors in their career are Klefbom, Draisaitl, and McDavid. Will any of them have a fight next year (disregard whether they should, which they shouldn’t)? Who do you think will be the first to get in a fight?

Jason Gregor:

McDavid. He fought in junior. Crosby has seven NHL fights, and I could see McDavid getting frustrated with someone hacking or whacking him.

Robin Brownlee:

Draisaitl.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I will say both of McDavid and Draisaitl get into a fight next season. I would say Draisaitl is more likely but I think both guys will eventually get super pissed off at someone. As long as they don’t get hurt, I’m cool with it.

Christian Pagnani:

I’m putting my money on Draisaitl.

Chris the Intern:

Out of those three players, I think Draisaitl will be the first to fight. He seems to have an angry side to him and he plays pretty aggressively. He might be able to hold his own in a fight in my opinion.

Baggedmilk:

I can definitely see Connor getting into a scrap because he’s finally had enough. That dude takes more shit on the ice than anyone else in the league and I could certainly understand how he’d reach a breaking point.

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  • Serious Gord

    1. Trading peak value assets for undervalued assets is the key to any successful business. RNH is gone after the next two years. The oil aren’t going to be competing for the cup in that time period. Of course you trade him for younger cheaper wingers who will still be here longer than two seasons.

    This is not without precedent – most famously sinden trading away Phil Esposito.

    2. Russell is overpaid and also won’t be here/useful beyond two seasons. If we can find another team desperate for what he offers – trade him.

    3. Lucic might the most untradeable player in the league. He will be an albatross on any teams roster for the next four years. Only a team looking to get to the salary floor and with little hope of being a cup competitor is a good fit – Read: Ottawa.

    Erickson is only a three year burn so van trading him doesn’t make sense unless I’m missing something.

    4. Sadly the goaltending issue is too far down the list to spend money on so they have to get someone cheap for next season and try and do something with kosk a year from now.

    • CMG30

      You’re missing the same reason the Oilers acquired him and the same reason there’s still so many fans in Edmonton who think that he’s the missing ingredient: his reputation. People and organizations often get stuck in the trap of looking backwards instead of what’s in front of their face. Lucic was a great player on Boston and there is no question he brings intimidation. Vancouver may also be thinking he will be a mentor ‘in the room’ more than on the ice. Anyway slice it, you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. If we can start to work out of his boat anchor contract we need to do it.

    • TKB2677

      Question for you. It’s pretty clear that you see Lucic is borderline useless. At 6 mill, I agree with you BUT what’s the difference between Lucic and Ryan Reeves on Vegas?

      Vegas was a brand new team. Had no contracts to worry about and was allowed to sit back for over a year and watch how the NHL was going. So they got to see how the league was getting faster and leaning towards skill. Their first year in the league as they are crushing teams playing fast, puck moving hockey, they go out and trade for Reeves, a career GOON. Then they resign him for 2 years at 2.75 mill. He’s a goon. Been a goon his whole career. He scored a career high 9 goals, 20 pts this year. He’s already 32. Lucic has been awful for 2 yrs as an Oiler. Easily one of the worst, if not the worst contracts in the league. Lucic is almost 2 yrs younger, can do everything that Reeves can do and is a better overall player than Reeves. Over the next 4 yrs, I would get that Lucic will outscore Reeves. So if Reeves is worth almost 3 mill, why wouldn’t another team bring in Lucic for similar money if the Oilers retain?

      • RJ

        The biggest difference is the term and the NMC.

        The Knights can walk away from him next season if they choose. The Oilers are stuck with Lucic at $6m and have to protect him at the expansion draft instead of one of their better players.

        Also, given how badly Lucic has eroded over the past two years, do you really expect him to rebound?

  • Ass Eatn Szn 69

    Trading Nurse makes sense, he is over valued by the Oilers, and is going to further kill the cap next contract. Calgary traded a very good player in a shake up and it did good for them. But hey lets continue to ice the same team again. Sekera Nurse Jones Russel Klefbom is a lot of Lefties and you can say Russell plays right but Bear, Perssons and Bouchard are ready to push through.

    The oilers are not super wealthy on Defense but they have way too many 3-6s and trading one when value is high for the right value would be good asset management.

    Trading Nuge is not a good idea.

  • CMG30

    ENG is now entering his prime years and you will not be able to replace him for less money elsewhere. It would only be selling high if you don’t think he will continue to produce. Nurse is the same thing. One of the many mistakes that the Oilers can’t seem to stop making is cashing in on talent when they’ve got no way to replace it.

      • Big Nuggets

        Nuge is hitting his prime and will be easy to resign. He is also vital to the team as it allows Drai to play with McDavid and offers the versatility to shuffle things around when needed. We aren’t going to get an equal center back in a trade for Nuge, and if we trade him for a winger our biggest need will immediately be another center.

        • JimmyV1965

          If this team continues to suck, RNH is all but gone. No one has put up with more crap in this team than RNH. If he plays with fourth liners again next year, I see no reason why he would resign here. My preference of course would be actually acquiring a legit top six winger and give RNH a reason to resign here.

          • Glencontrolurstik

            RNH is at his prime salary now… Next contract will be the same or less.
            And I want his performance leading up to his next contract on this team now.
            Give him some complimentary players & help him succeed. Why trade away something that you know is great & getting better? Doesn’t make sense.

  • Ass Eatn Szn 69

    Robin what other elements does Lucic still bring. Hitting? that all well and good but that means his team doesnt have the puck. The only element he brings is pulling down his linemates. Also why the hell is he still wearing an “A”

    • Ass Eatn Szn 69

      Similar to why Russel is blocking shots all the time. His team is not transitioning the puck out the zone. And when your killing penalties I would rather have my defence standing up clearing pucks away from the net than putting his team in a 5 on 3 around the net

  • Ass Eatn Szn 69

    Also lets stop calling Russell a great of good player. He is not. He is a bottom NHL player. When we speak of quality of a player in the NHL the reference is the NHL. If Russell was a good NHL player we wouldnt be having the talk about 4M. Good NHL players need to be in the top half of the league at their position minimum.

    When Arch said he wasnt that good at hockey and the media crapped their pants, Arch was referencing his ability to play in the NHL and not in general. We all know he is a better player than us.

  • percy

    The only 2 moves I would make at this point is finding a #1 goalie, and a better goalie coach to help bring Kosk along. And maybe a second line winger, Finding a new home for Benning,Looch or Russell and clear some cap space would work for me.I wouldn’t trade any of our top 3 D just yet, see how things go for the first part of the season.With the right goalie between the pipes I think we have enough scoring power to win games. Then we can start fine tuning our defence.

  • HelpMeBabyJesus

    Yes to trading both. Please wake up people…we are in cap hell and the only way to eliminate the pain is to make good business decisions for the team. Yes, I know everyone loves nuge and Connor has a man crush on Nurse but don’t you think he’d like to play for a winning, playoff bound team more? Nuge has been a real soldier on this team and selling him after a career high makes sense for both the team and him. We get potential assists to improve top 6 scoring/balance and nuge gets a fresh start on a team that may have already figured out how to win. Nurse is also a great candidate to sell because…he is expendable and I believe, has reached his peak. The guy has tons of physical talent but doesn’t have the hockey sense to go with it. Sell now before the entire league figures it out as well. Oh, and trade Kleffbom while you are at it…he isn’t going to get any better on this team. Holland can’t stand pat…Connor and the fans can’t wait that long. He simply is going to have to make lemonade from the lemons he has and then he is going to have to set up a stand and sell some!

    • Jaxon

      Nurse has reached his peak?! He’s only 24. Many D don’t even make the NHL until they’re 24 and then have a few years to work on it. I’d say D usually peak in the 27-year range, so maybe let’s slow down on the Nurse is all downhill from here talk. He is 10th in the NHL in 5-on-5 scoring over his last 177 games. 10th! Also, Russell hasn’t been the greatest right side partner, either. Nurse is a big part of the solution and should not be traded.

  • TKB2677

    I am not advocating to trade Nuge nor do I want them too but if you are going to trade Nuge, now is the time. As much of a Nuge fan as I am, I don’t think Nuge scores this high ever again. He played a lot with McDavid and playing with McDavid elevates your points. If you think about Nuge, he had Hall and Eberle as his wingers for YEARS and his career high was 56 pts. The Oilers wing depth isn’t good enough right now but you don’t get any better of a winger than Hall and all Nuge could do was 56 pts.

    I think they would be foolish to trade Nurse. The Oilers need more speed and offense on defense so trading away one of the few guys they have that can skate and bring some offense especially when he is only 24 ,makes no sense.

    • Glencontrolurstik

      I think Nuge is just hitting his prime with confidence. I believe that if the team shows him some promise with complimentary wingers & the whole team gains some success this will continue to develop RNH. He is only 24 years old? That’s mind-boggling, as it seems like he’s been here forever.
      But he’s a 24 year old veteran, that is just hitting his potential. Most of the points he got on the first line were on the PP. He’s more can capable of running his own line. The team just needs to give him some talent to play with… We owe him that. He’s stuck with this through thick & thin… The Oiler way would be to trade him and then he’d develop into a #1 power forward..

  • Armchair genius

    No in regards to Nurse and maybe with RNH, if you get the right deal. Would need to get a quality replacement plus picks and/or prospects. And when I say that I mean a quality 2 way centerman in the 40 point range, otherwise whats the point. If Nuge lights it up for the next 2 years we cant afford him but get 2 years of production, what we were lacking all year, and a beauty trade chip at the deadline 2 years from now. If he muddles along we still have a quality 3rd line 2 way center that we can resign for less. JMO

  • JimmyV1965

    Trading good players like RNH and Nurse should not be an option next year. I’ll add one caveat. If this team decides on a slow rebuild and doesn’t make any moves to significantly improve the roster, I would trade RNH while he still has two years on his contract. If the team decides to put two fourth liners on his line again next year, I can’t see him resigning here so I would trade him with two years on his contract, rather than waiting until he only has one year left.

      • Glencontrolurstik

        Slow DEVELOPMENT… Smart use of assets. Trade the mediocre, develop the prospects & complement the strengths… RNH is a strength. If it happens fast, great. But it’s more than likely a slower process. But to re-build when we have got to this point is asinine. This team is not as bad as you make it out to be.
        A few tweaks here and there, but you have to keep “the good ones”. It’s not as far away as a complete re-build.

      • Joy S. Lee

        Referring to Holland’s favorite word: Stability – not a ‘slow’ rebuild – is the only sane option, but achieving it as fast as possible is the goal. This team has Connor McDavid on it. They could win at any time. You build stability into the mix but you do it purposely and progressively by regularly improving McDavid’s supporting cast in any way possible. Tanking is no longer an option.

  • Ass Eatn Szn 69

    Here is the theory on trading nurse.

    Lets rank each oilers dman out of 10 with ten being the best dman the oiler have. You may not agree with this but thats beside the point on what people believing we should trade nurse are saying.

    Klefbom 10 Larsson 6
    Nurse 8 Benning 4
    Sekera 6 Russell 3 on Right side 5 on left

    For the next batch let say

    Jones 4 Bouchard 4
    Laggeson 3 Persson 3
    Gravel 3 Bear 3

    Lets trade Nurse for a downgrade by one point on the right side. Lets say Sverson (not implying that would happen) and move russel back to left side.

    The team now looks like this

    Klefbom 10 Sverson 7
    Sekera 6 Larsson 6
    Russel 5 Bouchard 4

    This is a better left right balance, overall D squad and we will not have to deal with the long term bloated contract nurse will want. As Jones, Bouchard, Perssons, Lagesson, Bear and Samurokov conitinue to grow you start trading the more established players for prospects and picks to off set the huge costs coming. However you dont trade anyone that is a superstar or elite. Nurse to me is a star but not superstar. Can he be. Maybe. But I would rather save that money for elite players. Now Im not sure if Bouchard will be come elite or the player we get this june. But asset management isnt just the key to winning a cup great asset management can win multiples. And Chia has allready flushed away 7 years of tanking assets for a bunch of crap.

  • Jeff Petry

    Best way to get rid of Lucic? 3 team deal with Ottawa. We throw them a pick and Lucic and retain 1MM. Ottawa retains 2MM or so in salary so they can reach the floor without spending money. Then they flip Lucic to whoever… Vancouver? Would they want him for 3MM?

    • Benning has a habit of going with what he’s familiar with, sadly I could see him doing it. Personally, I wouldn’t. But if Benning did, I would expect him to do at least the following: retained salary transaction on Lucic (ideally 50%), someone has to take Eriksson, we get an asset for taking Lucic, and Lucic must waive his NMC for expansion draft flexibility.

  • Fireball

    Here is what people are missing on a lucic for Eriksson trade. ( I’m not defending or promoting either player ) Eriksson is three years older than Lucic with one less year on his contract. Lucic will have 1 year left by the time he’s Erikssons age today. Eriksson has the potential to rebound and score in a top 6 role in Etown but Hasn’t been a scorer for more than 3 years. Lucic has scored more points in that three years but had less last year. Lucic hasn’t been hurt much at all since being in Edmonton. He is a Iron man. Eriksson has been hurt for a large chunk of the last 3 years. Here’s where things get interesting beyond scoring. Lucic has been in the top 3 in checking for all of his time in Etown. Eriksson does not check at all. Lucic does take draws, last year around 45 and won 55% when the centre is tossed. Eriksson do not take or win draws. They both aren’t really shot blockers 20-30 per year each. From what I can see if Eriksson doesn’t score he’s really not very affective in any other role. His chances of scoring are likely even at best with Lucic as he didn’t score for longer and is older. He is not a fighter and offers zero intimidation factor. ( I know everyone will say that isn’t a factor anymore but they probably forget everyone coming to Etown running everyone like it’s a free for all ). If neither scores lucic can still be a effective NHL grinder. You still have a player. If Eriksson continues on his route he’s not top 6 and even if he scores 10 goals he’s a soft soft bottom 6 guy who don’t hit. So today player for player Lucic is more effective NHLer. Please look for another garbage for garbage trade.

    • Eriksson does not check at all. That’s hilarious. You clearly don’t watch Canuck games.
      Eriksson is a good defensive player and plays significant minutes on our PK. Since both contracts were signed, Eriksson has played 300+ PK minutes whereas Lucic has played less than 2 PK minutes. If he can’t check, how is it he is one of our go-to penalty killers? 5v5, Eriksson can hold his own. Our beef with Eriksson is that he doesn’t score at a rate worthy of $6M per year. If he was paid half of what he gets, no one would be complaining.

  • TKB2677

    If Lucic was making 3-3.5 mill, while people still wouldn’t be too happy about it, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal.
    If Lucic was making 3-3.5 mill, I think he would be playing better because he wouldn’t have the weight of the contract over his head nor would the media be beating him over the head with his contract as much.
    If Lucic was making 3-3.5 mill, I think you could trade him. Teams value what he does and I keep saying it. If Ryan Reeves, a GOON, can make 2.75 mill and no one says much about it, Lucic at 3 mill, who’s a WAY better player than Reeves is fine.

    So given what I said. If the Oilers retain 2-3 mill, I think they could trade him. You won’t get anything and maybe you have to throw in a token draft pick but I think you could trade him. Then you take the 2-3 mill you save on Lucic and go sign yourself a couple of bottom 6 players. The Oilers found Chiasson for 650 K and he scored 22 goals. They are out there.

    • IRONman

      Keep Nurse and put with Bouchard. Trade old guys. Nuge can and will sign for less cash. He wants to stay and win with McDavid. If the GM gets the team going on positive path

    • Hemmercules

      I like this idea. I think retaining salary is the only way you get Lucic deal done. Buyout is stupid. Have to give up a good player/draft pick or take back garbage to make a trade happen. The key is finding a couple players for 3 mil. Can likely find a guy that does what Looch does for 2 mil and hope for a Chiasson type pick up with the remain million.

  • 24_McClelland

    Regarding trading Nuge…if Nuge’s $6million contract is off the team for what you’re getting, and the Lucic contract is still on the team, it’s an inauspicious beginning to the tenure of Ken Holland, unless he works a miracle. I thought a couple years ago that Nuge could eventually be traded as Leon developed…but that was before Hall and Eberle were turned into Larsson and….Gagner (now). That was also before Nuge became a better and more valuable player. I don’t see any reason for it to happen, as Draisaitl is a better player for the Oilers at 1W than 2C, and I don’t see that fact changing any time soon. Is it more about keeping a players under reasonable contracts that are valuable players, than rolling the dice on anything less than a sure thing coming back, and creating more holes in the roster?

    As for who fights next season, I think Leon should. I think the upside is there for Leon to round his game out more….not to drop his gloves all the time, but to get himself more room by giving in to the anger at least once in awhile. He’s a bigger guy and needs to play a bit bigger. If he’s a bit more aggressive, it makes him more of a force….there’s more there. McDavid, I don’t know, just don’t want to see the injury, he busted a hand or a wrist in junior when he missed someone’s face and punched the boards or the glass, so just him being a bit more dirty or nasty would suffice.

  • OriginalPouzar

    If we are going to go with an established goalie based on AHL success, why wouldn’t we go with Starrett instead of giving up assets to acquire Jarry?

  • Joy S. Lee

    Nurse’s development has been steady. If you think he’s hit his ceiling, you’d be way wrong. No way we trade that guy. Nuge, we may have to, but it would be preferable to find a workaround. They are pretty experienced for young players.

    Sacrifice may be required, but NOT Nurse… he will be too important to every future run this team makes. I think his ceiling is very high, as he is a rare combination with a warrior mindset. So long as he’s continually evolving – and he has consistently been doing that year in and year out – you won’t get back what you give up in that deal until you know what you’ve given up. Which would be about the time we all see Darnell Nurse become a regularly dominant force.

    Trading guys for LESS than what they will become equates to their winning best-of-the-year trophies elsewhere. In other words, the ROI had better be worth it.