THE NUGE - STAYING THE COURSE | - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours


The Edmonton Oilers should not trade Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Not for Codi Ceci, not for Matt Dumba, not even for Tyson Barrie.

There becomes a point where trading from a position of strength to fill a position of weakness makes sense. That said, it only makes sense, when in doing so, you do not create a new position of weakness.

As much as it strains people to say it, Taylor Hall was a tradable asset. No, there wasn't a left-wing on the Oilers that pushed the river the way Hall did; or one that will replace Hall's offense, but with Maroon, Pouliot, and Lucic, the Oilers weren't hurting for players of skill who could play on a top line with Connor McDavid. That meant the Oilers could target a player - one that was traditionally harder to obtain in the NHL - and attempt to fill a major position of weakness in their top-four defense by moving from a position where they had a ton of backup.  Moving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is not the same thing.

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Free agency tends to make decent left-wingers available. Look around the current market and you'll see a number of offensive and skilled left-wing options are available to the Oilers, should they need to add one prior to the start of this season. Centers are not as easy to find.

Despite the depth that it appears the Oilers have, one injury could mean big problems. Both Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are going to be big-time players in the NHL - McDavid likely already there. But, having only those two as your center options, at their age, is a lot to ask. Nugent-Hopkins brings some experience, defensive, two-way awareness and the ability to be flexible in your line combinations that removing him from the equation does not.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is also clearly a gifted offensive weapon. With two fifty-plus point seasons under his belt, last year was an anomaly. His low point totals had more to do with being unhealthy than it did any sort of step-back in skill. He wasn't right with injuries and when he was playing, was often asked to take a more defensive role, to which he became a much more well-rounded player.

His ability to play the penalty kill and the powerplay is a unique skill for most centers. He's the type of center the Oilers don't have two of. Trading him means opening a crater-sized hole when some powerplay defensive help is available on the market. That powerplay point-man may not be a permanent solution, but I don't sacrifice my center depth to make a move I can repair in other ways. I also don't sell Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at his lowest value, which he currently is.

Trading Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Matt Dumba, Codi Ceci or any other one-dimensional defenceman is not the right move. I'd have more of an issue with it than I did the trade of Hall for Larsson. At least in that scenario, I understood the rationale.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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