I’m flabbergasted by the amount of news coming out of the mainstream media this past couple days about the Edmonton Oilers willingness to deal Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. It’s overwhelming to be honest. From Jim Matheson to Pierre LeBrun to Ryan Rishaug, there are some pretty big names talking about the Oilers making a huge splash to try and shake this team up.
If you were Chiarelli would you consider an Eberle for Jonas Brodin trade? Just throwing it out there. Klefbom's best buddy is Minny D man
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) December 1, 2015
Is this Chiarelli’s way of trying to send a message to his young stars or is this a message from the media that enough is enough? The Oilers are stuck in Auston Matthews land and it seems as if they’re going to be there for some time. But you have to know as a fan that the Oilers would never win that lottery pick if they finished in last place. So they’d have to settle for Jakob Chychrun… A potential franchise defenseman… Ouch!
IMO only untouchables are McDavid, Hall, Nurse and Draisaitl, everyone else can be moved. 93 and 14 among them if return is right.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) December 1, 2015
Now if we’re talking about actually trading Nugent-Hopkins, which I think is a horrible idea UNLESS the team gets back a young two-way center who’s ceiling is that of a 2nd line center, help in the bottom six and a top four or near top four defenseman OR a top pairing defenseman (aka the oft mentioned Seth Jones). For example:
Mika Zibanejad, Curtis Lazar, and Cody Ceci/Patrick Wiercioch.
I think a player like Marc Methot would serve the team better but unlikely to be moved given his playing relationship with Erik Karlsson.
PC likes a strong, hard team, and this group is anything but. Only so much room for softer skill, so changes will be made.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) December 1, 2015
I like Zibanejad’s and Lazar’s physical game when they’re not producing offense and their versatility when it come to positional play. I’m not sure why Nuge falls into that newly-formed category of “soft skilled” given his eagerness to grind down low and get to the puck first on a forecheck but Mark Spector is the fella that labeled him, so I guess we’d have to ask him.
I can’t imagine the Senators being willing to give up so many assets for one player but Nugent-Hopkins isn’t just any player. He’ll be one of the best two-way centers in the league inside 3 years and having a Turris/RNH combo down the middle would be a fine proposition.
I don’t reckon the Oilers need to trade Nugent-Hopkins because I think he’s just going through a tough spell comparable to that of say Sidney Crosby from 2 weeks ago or Claude Giroux from a couple of seasons ago. Players go though peaks and valleys. It happens. Get over it. Move on. You don’t see Pittsburgh or Philly entertaining offers on their top players do you?
As for Eberle, I’m fine with dealing him. Trading Ebs and Justin Schultz to get that upgrade on defence to me sounds like a sound plan. Jultz will never be worth what he’s going to be asking for this summer so it’s best to cut bait and move on. Elliotte Friedman eluded to a 3-way deal that has since collapsed between St.Louis, the Islanders, and the Oilers in today’s 30 Thoughts. If we are the speculating kind, and we are, I’d say the major names involved there were Shattenkirk, Hamonic and Eberle.
But for me, trading Eberle had better bring back a solid NHLer with experience. I’d want him to be a ‘hard’ player as Todd McLellan likes his players to be but I wouldn’t want him to be Colton Teubert or Andy Sutton, even though Sutton was pure entertainment when he played in Edmonton. You definitely want a Travis Hamonic/Dougie Hamilton type player if you’re trading Eberle. You also want said player to be right-handed.
Who’d I target of Hamonic wasn’t in the plans? I think I’d look to Florida. I’d suss out Erik Gudbranson’s availability. I think he’s on par with Hamilton and Hamonic but not as good offensively.
Edmonton needs a player of Gudbranson’s ilk. A pure shutdown defensive defender who’s a killer and from all accounts a wonderful locker room guy. Standing 6’5″ and weighing in at 220… Tell me you wouldn’t want a guy like that on the Oilers blue line. He’ll bring you zero offense if you’re wondering but that’s not his game.
Would the Panthers be keen on this sort of deal? Well, I’d say no at first glance because Gudbranson and Willie Mitchell are the Panthers shutdown pairing. But with that said, the team has Alex Petrovic and Dmitri Kulikov out with injury right now. I reckon Petrovic would be a prime candidate to take Gudbranson’s spot if a deal could be made. Mike Matheson and Ian McCoshen are also on their way up and apart from Kulikov, they’re lacking an offensive blueliner like Justin Schultz.
I believe they have Jussi Jokinen playing a tad high in the lineup and perhaps they’d like to see Jonathan Huberdeau playing left wing. Also, they have zero depth on the RW…
I don’t think you deal Eberle and Schultz for Gudbranson alone but I think it’s a helluva starting point.
So how would you feel if the Oilers parted with 93, 19 and 14 but brought in Zibanejad, Lazar, Ceci, and Gudbranson, etc? Let me know in the comments below!
I’ll leave you with this quote from the beloved Lowetide:
If Peter Chiarelli trades Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, that will probably be the thing we remember him for, and it will not be a good memory. A trade of RNH leaves the team (once again) completely vulnerable at center, with two extremely young men on skill lines. I would suggest to you if Nuge leaves, a (bigger) center should be the return. I do not see the wisdom in robbing Peter to pay Paul.
There’s something happening here.