Since Islanders top 4 right-shot d-man Travis Hamonic requested a trade to Western Canada for personal reasons, trade speculation has been all over the map.
First the Jordan Eberle trade rumours amped up again. After being injured for a pile of games and since coming back, while it took him some games to get going, he appears to be back to his old scoring self. Also keep in mind he hasn't played with McDavid yet--something I think we all want to see.
Then over the weekend, we heard talk that because centre/winger Neon Leon Dr. Drai Draisaitl was lighting it up with by far the best points per game in the league at 1.70ppg playing both winger and centre with Hall, that when McDavid returns, the Oilers will have an abundance of top 6 centres and the odd-man out in order to trade for a top d-man will be Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
What a ridiculous notion. Why? Many reasons:
- Pundits trying to draw attention for viewership, so much so, I'm not gonna quote them
- Nuge is by far the best two-way player on the team
- Nuge has not peaked--he has huge upside potential
- Nuge has many years left on his contract at $6m/per, a great deal if you look at it
- Nuge makes players around him better
If any trade is going to happen, look no further than:
- Nikita Nikitin, Ben Scrivens, Anton Lander, blah blah blah
- Nail Yakupov -- he only plays better with a good centre. Even coach McLellan said Yak needs to create his own chances and not just rely on a good centre like Roy last year or McDavid. He's a winger. Generally, centres can play wing. Wingers can't play centre. His value is under $3m.
- Teddy Purcell -- since Adam Oates told him to cut his stick by 4 inches (there's a joke in there somewhere, you rascals!) he's been on a 1ppg pace, which only ups his value. He's $4.5m/year and some have suggested resigning him, but he's a third-line winger.
- Justin Schultz -- I think he's reached a ceiling in his development. He's on a one year like Yak. Many don't think he has the force to be an all-round top 4 defender.
Maybe Chiarelli has offered Yakupov and Schultz to Garth Snow in a package with picks for Travis Hamonic. I think it's worth it as Hamonic solves a lot of issues in our top 4 defense right-side. Is he the all-elusive top 2 guy we all crave? No, but it's a big improvement as far as solid defense.
As far as the top 9 healthy forwards for now, think of three interchangeable scoring lines with pairs and a checker.
Hall - Draisaitl - Purcell
Hendricks - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle
Pouliot - McDavid - Yakupov
Korpikoski - Letestu - Klinkhammer
Out: Pakarinen, Gazdic, Lander, Slepyshev
So, trade the Nuge? Not when you can have that top 9 for a couple more seasons.