Edmonton Oilers Rumor: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Nashville


This morning there was an interesting bit of news on the Edmonton Oilers trade front, breaking from TSN, the Edmonton Journal and other places: A trade rumour regarding shipping Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the Nashville Predators.

The Potential Trade

Today on TSN.ca from Frank Seravalli:

"The Nashville Predators were one of the teams who inquired with Edmonton about the price of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins prior to the roster freeze. For Nashville, it’s the same story: the Preds are a gifted defensive team, but thin up front and down the middle. If the Stanley Cup playoffs began today, Nashville would face Dallas in the first round. That probably wouldn’t end well for them. Life is about to get tougher for the sputtering Predators, too. It’s been more than a month since Nashville won back-to-back games – and the Predators have enjoyed the NHL’s fifth-easiest schedule this season, according to hockey-reference.com. Starting on Dec. 29, nine of Nashville’s next 14 games will be against Central division opponents. They are 8-9-4 since playing their first divisional game on Nov. 5."

Also featured on Lowetide’s article was a tweet mentioning Elliot Friedman specifically talking about a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Nashville trade for young defenceman, Seth Jones.

The Skinny on Seth Jones: He’s a big (6’4) Right handed shot defenceman with draft pedigree (drafted 4th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft). Jones is one of the very few defenceman to make the jump to the NHL as an 18 year old and has been with the big club ever since.

In the past three seasons, Jones has been playing lower minutes, due to the impressive and ridiculous depth on the back end, playing behind guys like Shea Weber, Ryan Ellis.

This from Mark Harris of Today’s Slap shot:

"While he continues to be labeled as a third-pairing defenseman playing alongside the stay-at-home Barret Jackman, he is averaging the third-most minutes among Predators per game with 20:18. Jones has scored just once this season but has nine helpers through 20 games this season putting him on pace for a 40-point year.His possession numbers have skyrocketed this season as he’s skating with a Corsi For percentage of 60.78 percent — the second best on the team behind none other than his playing partner Jackman at 62.65 percent. To go along with his impressive Corsi, he is leading the Predators with 20 giveaways.Jones turned 21 in October, and he is still maturing and developing on the ice. It’s easy to forget while looking at the big-bodied blueliner as he’s already been a part of over two seasons in Nashville. One thing is for certain: numbers do not lie. Jones’ offensive game has improved, he has been given more ice time in all situations showing the coaching staff’s trust in him, and he is driving the puck with remarkable possession numbers"

A strong possession player on the back end? One that is very young? That’s very pretty. The one thing I’ll disagree with is that his production has been low: so far this season he has 10 points in 33 games. Then again, the whole team seems to be struggling as of late.

Pros and Cons

I asked Twitter if they would do the trade and there was a pretty big split between yes and no.

More from Oilers News

In Favour of the Trade: If the Edmonton Oilers traded Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, they instantly get a Young right handed shot defenceman that can actually play. He would likely immediately get better minutes than playing with Barret Jackman, and could probably play with one of Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom or Brandon Davidson. I think Jones would give the Oilers a legitimate top pairing defenceman, and even if he’s not there yet, a legitimate top four threat. Down the road, Nugent-Hopkins 6 million a year contract could be problematic with guys like McDavid and Draisaitl eventually needing new contracts, but that’s very far down the road.

Imagine the pairings:



Darnell NurseEric Gryba

Yes, I’ve removed Justin Schultz and put Davidson in a right handed spot. Your mileage will vary.

Against the Trade: Losing Nugent-Hopkins right now, would be a blow. Sure, he has not played as well as he normally has. That said, if you trade Nugent-Hopkins, before McDavid is back from injury, your new number two centre is a struggling Mark Letestu. Yikes. Even then, many have argued, what’s the problem with having three scoring lines? For the first time in a very long time, the Edmonton Oilers will finally have centre depth.

Even if you trade Nugent-Hopkins away, You have a 19 year old and a 20 year old as your top two centers. That’s a pretty young top two line.

Would I do it? Yes. I would do it. I think the Oilers need that top end right handed shot and Jones is a perfect target. He’s on a much friendlier contract and younger than Shea Weber and you’d have to pay an arm and a leg for Roman Josi at this point.

The point is: in order for the Edmonton Oilers to acquire a good piece, sometimes you need to pay a good price. I think it would be a fair trade for both teams. There’s some risk in Jones (he’s only 21!) but I think he’d be worth biting the bullet for.