As the Edmonton Oilers bid farewell to Rexall Place, here’s the latest collection of Oilers-related rumors from the several days.
EDMONTON SUN: After yet another miserable season for the Oilers, Robert Tychkowski believes big changes are coming this summer. He believes rookie Connor McDavid is the only untouchable forward. Looking at the club’s poor performance over the last three season, Tychkowski believes Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins failed to make their case to stay.
TSN: (via TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Bob McKenzie also believes the “damaged” Oilers need to be “radically altered” after this season. “Outside of Connor McDavid, and probably Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse – there’s probably no option on the table that shouldn’t be considered – at least considered if you’re Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan,” said McKenzie.
McKenzie’s colleague Darren Dreger reports the message he got back from speaking with Oilers brass is Connor McDavid is untouchable, while Taylor Hall is “close to untouchable.” He feels it would take a “monstrous type of deal” to pry Hall away from the Oilers.
SPORTSNET: Judging by the size of the players added to the Oilers roster over the past year by GM Peter Chiarelli, Jonathan Willis believes he wants to make them a physical club akin to the roster he built for the Boston Bruins several years ago. He notes Chiarelli also significantly reworked the Bruins blueline and will attempt to do the same with the Oilers. Willis also wonders if Chiarelli will carry over his penchant for dealing away gifted young forwards, citing the mixed results from the Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin trades. He notes Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were trade rumor fodder throughout this season, while Nail Yakupov is all but certain to be deal this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid’s not going anywhere and I doubt Draisaitl, Nurse and Oscar Klefbom will be moved. Hall could be traded, but I concur with Dreger that the return must be huge. As in superstar number-one defenseman huge. Otherwise, they’re better off keeping Hall. Shipping him out leaves a big hole at left wing. With Yakupov on his way out, I can’t see Eberle moving too, unless they swing a separate deal for a top-six right wing.
I still believe Nugent-Hopkins is the most likely of their notable young forwards to be dealt. There was talk back in January he was offered up to the Nashville Predators for Seth Jones prior to Jones’ trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets for center Ryan Johansen. Nugent-Hopkins on his own won’t land a top-two defenseman and bundling him with Yakupov won’t help.
Packaging RNH with their 2016 first-round pick, especially if they win the draft lottery again (and piss off fans and owners of rival teams in the process), might do the trick. They could also retain that pick, select Auston Matthews and bundle up RNH and maybe Draisaitl for a top blueliner. Of course, I’m merely spitballing here. We don’t know what Chiarelli has in store, but it’s safe to say one of those good young forwards not named McDavid will be moving out this summer.