Before the beginning of the 2017-2018 NHL season, many people (including myself) considered the Edmonton Oilers to be serious Stanley Cup contenders. After all, they finally broke into the playoffs in 2017, led by captain Connor McDavid, though they were eliminated in the second round by the Anaheim Ducks.
Over the summer, they lost Jordan Eberle, which left a hole in the squad. It also freed up cap space for an eventual huge contract for Connor McDavid. Though expectations were high, a little over 20 games into the season the Oilers are in 28th place in the NHL, just five points up from last (31st) place. The team is facing a variety of problems, and the solutions aren’t clear. But, one possible way to fix these issues could be a trade.
One of the names being thrown around the league right now is that of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. So far this season, the 24-year-old has eight goals and nine assists for a total of 17 points in 24 games played so far this season. This is a pretty solid pace and puts the center on track for just under 60 points if he plays in all 82 games. These numbers make him a perfect piece of trade bait that a number of teams could latch on to. According to Nick Kypreos of Hockey Night in Canada, two possible destinations for Nugent-Hopkins could be either Boston, where the Bruins are “kicking tires”, or Florida, where the Panthers are looking for a top-six player.
Nugent-Hopkins could be a perfect fit, a former first overall pick (2011) with just two years left on his current contract. Both Boston and Florida have a lot of options to potentially exchange for Nugent-Hopkins, like Nick Bjugstad and Frank Vatrano. The three teams could even all be involved in one deal, similar to that of the Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators in the Matt Duchene-Kyle Turris-draft picks/prospects trade earlier this season.
The main problem with trying to shop Nugent-Hopkins is that his salary happens to be a little high for most teams’ liking at 6 million dollars. But, regardless, the constantly struggling Edmonton Oilers need something good going for them right now, whether it’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the always talented Connor McDavid, or the heating up of Ryan Strome.
Will “Nuge” leave Edmonton? Will he stay? Will the Oilers improve? All we can do as fans is sit back and wait to see what happens.
What do you think will come of this Ryan Nugent-Hopkins situation? Let us know by sounding off on Twitter and tweeting us @PuckItUpBlog!
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