Monday Mailbag – Where does Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fit on the Oilers’ all-time list?
Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
By baggedmilk7 months ago
Happy Monday, Internet, and welcome to another fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and break down all things Edmonton Oilers. This week we’re looking at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ incredible year, Jack Campbell, Ken Holland, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Mar 30, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers Celebrate a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
1) Stephen H. asks – Are the Oilers officially the scariest team in the league, and the team that nobody wants to face in the playoffs now? When I scan the internet for articles about this, I cannot find any journalists talking about how dangerous this team is. Do you think this is the NHL team that makes all other teams most nervous right now?
I’ve seen many mention it, but I don’t recall a large amount of “scariest teams” to face last season. The Oilers are well respected around the NHL. People know they are good. But you couldn’t say they are scarier to face than Boston at this point. Edmonton is a legit Cup contender. A legit one. I’d have Edmonton, Boston, Colorado, and the Rangers as my top four, in no specific order.
No. Real contenders don’t get nervous. They get ready. The Oilers won’t sneak up on anybody with the late-season roll they’re on.
Well, we’ve been talking about it here. They should be considered one of those teams simply because of their high-end skill. No one has the top-end talent to match McDavid and Draisaitl. With Ekholm, the blueline looks much better and Stuart Skinner is a very solid goalie. There aren’t that many holes in this roster. Teams should fear the Oilers.
I think other teams around the league will fear the idea of playing Edmonton in the playoffs. The Oilers’ attack is like no other and Connor McDavid alone can take over a game if he needs to. I do believe the Oilers need to build more of a reputation in the playoffs before they become the most feared, however. Teams in the east I think have that reputation right now like the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Yes, they’re the scariest team in the league. Not only do they have the two best players, but now they’ve also got a viking overlord patrolling the blue line that will take you out if necessary. The Oilers fear no one.
Mar 1, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) fights Toronto Maple Leafs defensemen Justin Holl (3) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2) James in Peterborough asks – Collectively, I think Oilers fans are simply ecstatic about the season the Nuge has had for so many reasons. Where does he sit on the all-time list of Oilers for all of you? He has to be Top 10, right?
I don’t have him in the top-10 best Oilers… In no particular order, Gretzky, Kurri, Coffey, Messier, Fuhr, Anderson, Lowe, Ranford, Smyth, Weight, McDavid and Draisaitl would be ahead of him, and maybe a few others. I think he’d be in top 10 of fan favourites though.
I’m not sure about him being top 10, but that’s not a knock considering how many truly great players have been here. Off the top of my head, I’d put Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey, Anderson, Smyth, Weight, McDavid, Draisaitl, Lowe and Fuhr ahead of him. Lots more Stanley Cup rings in Edmonton’s alumni as well. Not just looking at GP or points.
It’s tough because the Oilers have had so many HHOFers roll through town, but if we’re just talking about their Oilers tenures, then yes, he’s probably top ten. There’s something meaningful about having a guy commit to spending his entire career in Edmonton. That’s never happened before and he deserves a lot of love for that.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Nuge is already a top 10 Oiler ever. He has been through thick and thin with this franchise and has now chosen to be an Oiler for life. Statistically, he is top 10 in points (9th), assists (9th) and goals (8th) for the Oilers all time, and has already passed some elite names.
I can’t wait see him lift Lord Stanley.
Arguably number one. Who else would come before him? No names that I’ve heard of anyway.
Apr 1, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) celebrates with goaltender Jack Campbell (36) after his 6-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The win was goaltender Jack Campbell (36) first shout-out as an Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
3) @ford_ford074 asks – With Jack Campbell’s recent play, would you test his playoff readiness against the Avalanche to see if he’s “back’” or still Skinner?
Why? Skinner is your starter. He plays v. the Avalanche as I want my starter ready. I don’t know many other teams who focus on their backup being playoff ready.
I’d play Skinner. Get the win and then say, “See you later.”
No, I keep rolling with Stuart Skinner. That’s a game I want him to have so he can face some tough competition ahead of the playoffs.
Absolutely not! Jay Woodcroft needs to play Stuart Skinner because he has earned the trust to start that game. No need to play mind games at this point in the season.
Nah, Stu is rolling right now, he’s our guy for the playoffs, and I’d prefer Woodcroft keep him sharp ahead of the postseason.
Apr 7, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Derek Ryan (10 skates with the puck against the LA Kings in the third period at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
4) @NickSports84 asks – Assuming you can only bring one back, would you bring Derek Ryan or Nick Bjugstad back?
Ryan will be much cheaper. Bjugstad will cost much more, so on sheer cost it would be Ryan. But Bjugstad brings more. He’s the one I’d prefer to sign, but he might price himself out of Edmonton.
I’d bring Bjugstad back, He’s a better player, a lot younger and has a lot more NHL runway left in his career.
I would probably choose Bjugstad but he’ll be more expensive. If they can afford it, then he’s the choice but if he prices himself out of the market, then Derek Ryan is a guy I would look at on a cheap, $950k deal.
I will bring back Long Derek Ryan (Bjudstad) because he is younger and also provides more on a nightly basis. I am not sure how much more you are going to get from Derek Ryan at this point in his career. However, I think the question is do you bring back Ryan or Devin Shore?
Interesting question. I would prefer Bjugstad probably because he’s bigger and has a little more offensive touch, but I’d also agree with Gregor that Derek Ryan would be cheaper. The Oilers won’t have much cap space so that makes it seem more like that Ryan would come back.
5) Ed asks – Should Holland with the Jim Gregory (GM of the Year) award this year?
He’s added Janmark, Kostin, Ekholm, Bjugstad, and Campbell from the start of the season (July). Solid moves that will put him in the conversation.
He’s got a shot with the additions he’s made, most notably Ekholm. He was fourth last season. Voting is done after the second round of the playoffs, so if the Oilers remain in the mix then, why not?
Between the Ekholm deal and how well he’s locked up UFA forwards like Nugent-Hopkins, Hyman, and Kane, he’s certainly made his fair share of impactful moves. I think he has a very good case and I could see the fellow GMs wanting to give him the award as they did with Lou Lamiorello a few years back.
Yes, the Oilers could potentially finish first in the Western Conference and are already a Stanley Cup contender. Additionally, the contracts Holland has given players have been bargains for the team – Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Evander Kane for example. Yes, Jack Campbell has not been great but show me on a team in the NHL with 23 perfect contracts.
Holland deserves to be shown more respect for what he has done.
I could see Holland getting a nomination, especially after the Ekholm monster trade he pulled off at the deadline.
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