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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Who will be the Fernando Pisani of 2020?

Happy Monday, Nation! Once again, our panel of championship bloggers dove into the depths of their brains to give you every nugget of wisdom they could muster and all for the low low price of absolutely nothing at all. As always, this feature depends on you guys so I need you to submit your questions. If you have something you’d like to know you can always email me, or DM me on Twitter. With that out of the way, it’s time to learn something. Enjoy.

Jan 31, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) and St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais (9) battle along the boards for a loose puck during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

1) Scott asks – I have a sinking feeling in my gut that Nuge may be moved at the draft. With three teams desperate for a #1 centre in Detroit, Ottawa and Montreal, all three having an abundance of draft picks, plus a flat cap moving forward. Anyone else feeling this is a real possibility?

Robin Brownlee:

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Always a possibility, but I’m not sure Holland will move RNH if he’s willing to sign a reasonable contract. RNH is a handy player to have around and unless he’s looking for a home run contract wise, I’d keep him.

Jason Gregor:

I see very little chance this happens, and no way it happens for draft picks. Edmonton is looking to become a Cup contender in the next few years, and trading away a proven top-six forward for a pick, or picks, would set them back. The Oilers can afford to re-sign RNH, because he won’t be in a spot to ask for much of a raise.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

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No, I really don’t think that’s a possibility. The Oilers need more top six players, not less. If a team made a crazy offer, then you obviously consider it, but I don’t see that happening.

Nation Dan:

Baggedmilk has had a tough time already, and he doesn’t need this pain in his life right now. Nope, Nuge is a part of this team’s plans going forward. The only way that even becomes a chance, if we win the lottery and Lafrenière is in our laps, but we’d have to lose to Chicago and that’s not happening.

Zach Laing:

Sure, it’s a possibility. You should listen to calls on anyone if you’re a GM. Is there a realistic package somebody could offer? Sure. Will that happen? I doubt it. Nugent-Hopkins is a big part of this team and should be for a long, long time. Also, #KeepNugeForever.

Baggedmilk:

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#KeepNugeForever. That’s it. That’s the answer.

2) Danger Pay asks – There’s plenty of chatter re: flat cap with no free buyouts. With Seattle entering the league soon and bringing in another $81.5 worth of salary cap, is there any way that Mr. Holland could use Seattle’s cap space to improve the team?

Robin Brownlee:

Might look at James Neal in regard to Seattle, and the flat cap is an issue, but I don’t like moving out guys who are guaranteed 20-goal scorers.

Jason Gregor:

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I think GMs will learn from the mistakes of 2017, when GMs gave up a lot to Vegas to not draft a certain player. I don’t see Seattle taking James Neal, since he is only player with a big cap hit, who Oilers would be interested in moving, unless Edmonton gives them a really good prospect or a high pick.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I’m sure he could look into moving a player like James Neal to Seattle but the problem is that every team will be trying to do that. It won’t be easy, but I’m sure Holland will try.

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Nation Dan:

I think Holland doesn’t bother. He was savvy enough to let Vegas take a good player in Nosek with no backroom deals made and the teams that did make deals did not often come out on top.

Zach Laing:

Yeah, I think Holland needs to find a way to get Seattle to take Neal in some way shape or form. Neal is the only one that really makes sense.

Baggedmilk:

I could see Holland flipping a pick or prospect to Seattle if it meant that they would take James Neal as part of the deal. That would certainly be a solid way to use their space.

Dec 31, 2019; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers left winger James Neal (18) is seen out on the ice skating past the Oilers players bench as the New York Rangers take on the Edmonton Oilers during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

3) Blake asks – Will the Oilers be allowed to use their own dressing room for the playoffs? If so, do you believe that will be any kind of advantage?

Robin Brownlee:

The Oilers won’t have exclusive use of their dressing room during play-ins and playoffs. There will be designated home and away teams. I don’t see any kind of advantage or disadvantage to who gets what room. Everything is different under the protocols in place and use of rooms is just one of many changes.

Jason Gregor:

Yes, they will use their own. Right now the conversation is whether they will have to share it with another team. I know the Oilers would prefer no one else uses the room, but as of writing this (Friday), the dressing room allocation has yet to be decided.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I believe they’ll only be allowed to use it for games in which they’re the home team. I suppose being in your own room is an advantage but I don’t view it as a massive one.

Nation Dan:

Having never seen inside of the bowels of Rogers I have only heard that the Oilers/Oil Kings each have some pretty good digs. I imagine the players will get “dressed” in the hotel in a common area, that they then head to the arena and finish getting ready in either the Oilers/Oil Kings rooms depending on seed maybe? Just a guess though.

Zach Laing:

As far as I know, they get access when they’re the home team but that’s it.

Baggedmilk:

The only answer is to have everyone get dressed in Ford Hall and have their dads carry them into the arena like they’re all back in Novice.

4) Sara asks – Is anyone else surprised to see the NHL and NHLPA come together to work towards not only getting back on the ice this summer but also a new CBA?

Robin Brownlee:

A bit. The sides clearly worked toward a common goal and that’s not always the case in negotiations. When you look through the protocols for the return to play, the details are extensive. That took a lot of work.

Jason Gregor:

Even prior to Covid, there was positive talks on both sides and it seemed less combative than in previous years, but considering the NHL and NHLPA have had three work stoppages in the last 25 years I am pleasantly surprised they reached a new agreement. Thankfully.

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Tyler Yaremchuk:

Very surprised. I don’t remember the last time they worked so well together. It’s even more surprising considering how much got done in this CBA extension. Olympics are back and they didn’t let anything like revenue sharing or the salary cap get in the way of things. The NHL and the PA both deserve a lot of credit for this going as smoothly as it did.

Nation Dan:

This pandemic has allowed a lot of situations to play out in a really interesting way. The CBA is a real signal that both the league and the PA are both worried about and planning for the future of the game. That’s a huge positive.

Zach Laing:

I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the league and NHLPA were able to bang something like this out and honestly, they did a damn fine job of it.

Baggedmilk:

I love it. The NHL and players clearly took a look at the situation and realized that they needed to make a move to ensure the health of the league moving forward. The best way to do that was to work together.

5) Taylor asks – If you had to pick an Oilers player that you feel could be the 2020 version of Fernando Pisani, who would it be and why?

Robin Brownlee:

I’m not sure I see a Pisani if you’re talking about the kind of unexpected production he provided, but I could see James Neal providing that kind of punch. He can get hot and go on a streak, and that’s exactly what Fernando did in 2006.

Jason Gregor:

I assume you just mean a player who will get hot, that people are expecting to score a lot, so I’m not including 97, 29, 93 and 56 considering we expect them to produce somewhat. I will go with James Neal. He is a streaky scorer, and if he gets a goal early he could ride a wave of momentum.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I think it could be Tyler Ennis. He has a nose for the net and could get a look next to Connor McDavid. I could also see a guy like Josh Archibald finding a way to score a big goal or two. Just a gut feeling.

Nation Dan:

It’s Josh Archibald, right? A guy who has shown flashes of being clutch and is an exciting player on the ice. Archie is the one for me to watch.

Zach Laing:

Yaremchuk stole my original answer, so I’m going to go with Alex Chiasson. I’ve always been a fan of his game and I think he could have a real breakout performance this postseason.

Baggedmilk:

Joakim Nygard is going to surprise everybody. You’ll see. You’ll all see.

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