Edmonton Oilers: 3 Teams Who Need Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 3: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
EDMONTON, AB - MARCH 3: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins /

We’ll be taking a look at what teams would be interested in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and if the Edmonton Oilers would part ways with him.

Last week’s 31 Thoughts podcast had an interesting little segment on the Edmonton Oilers and who was more valuable, Oscar Klefbom or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?

Here is a transcript of the segment.

It got me thinking about if the Oilers could win a trade by dealing Nugent-Hopkins. And at first glance, I think it’s pretty impossible to win on the short-term because there’s not much of a chance the Oilers will get back a player as well-rounded, young, and as smart as RNH.

The only way that the Edmonton Oilers could win the deal is if the players that they got in return could do the following things:

  • Salary cap friendly going forward
  • Be a scoring winger
  • Get a defenseman who is right-handed and a PP specialist

I think most of the Oilers fanbase is pretty scared of what they believe Peter Chiarelli is going to do and that’s fair. He hasn’t exactly won them over in his time with the Oilers either. But there are going to be teams who will miss the playoffs or lose out in the first round who will be in the market for a centre like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and there’s a great opportunity for Peter Chiarelli to gain back some of the fans trust with a solid hockey trade this summer.

And one last caveat being Nugent-Hopkins has only two years left on his deal after this season. If he’s not dealt this summer, he will be at some point in the next two seasons, and the Oilers will not lose him for anything as an unrestricted free agent.

As far as getting the most value for a player, typically you’d want to do that when he has a career year which this year is for the former 1st overall selection.


We know that the Sens GM has been watching the Edmonton Oilers and we also know he’s shopping some notable names from that club. If you can tell me right now who their No.2 centre is, you’re a better man than I because I can’t. All I know is that Matt Duchene is running the show over there right now and he could use some help.

If we’re using the acquisition template above (scoring winger/PP D-Man), is there a fit with the Senators to make a deal for RNH that would benefit Edmonton? I think so, and that’s because Sens GM Pierre Dorion is behind the 8-ball a bit in Ottawa. The owner wants a rebuild and fast. He doesn’t want to pay anybody, so taking back minimum salary long-term is the goal there but taking money on in the short time is acceptable.

So why not a deal that would send winger Mike Hoffman, Mike Condon, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau to the Oilers for Nugent-Hopkins, Al Montoya, and Anton Slepyshev?

Edmonton would get their scoring winger, a backup to push Talbot, and a great (and pesky) centre for their bottom-6 and PK. Ottawa would get their top-6 centre, an emerging and skilled RWer (inconsistent albeit) and cap relief because that’s really what they’re looking for right? They’re not looking to compete for the next three years if the owner is saying tear it down.


I think that the Golden Knights are going to go all out in an attempt to secure a significant name this summer. Surely they know that the clock is going to hit midnight at some point and their carriage is going to turn back into a pumpkin and so to extend their Cinderella time a bit they’ll need to add legitimate NHL stars like Nugent-Hopkins or Erik Karlsson.

At the moment, their top centre is William Karlsson who is shooting the lights out this year. It’s quite a fantastic story, and the kid should get some Hart votes in my opinion but his shooting percentage is over 20%, and that’s insane. It’ll come down next season.

So they’ll need a proven centre. Enter The Nuge.

They’ve got prospects and draft picks to give up, and the Edmonton Oilers would sure like to get their hands on some of those, but that would only satisfy the long-term, and perhaps that should be the goal anyhow. For this exercise though, I want to address short-term in addition to the long-term if possible.

What about a trade like this:

Vegas sends Erik Haula and Reilly Smith to the Oilers for RNH and Matthew Benning

Next season the Golden Knights will have Luca Sbisa and Clayton Stoner coming off of the books. Colin Miller and Shea Theodore are RFAs that will most likely be re-signed, and Matt Benning is sure to be a very affordable re-signing for whatever team he’s with.

As for their forwards, I can see one of Cody Glass or Nick Suzuki making a case to play the year in Vegas AND being productive. By moving out Haula and Smith, they’d open up even more cap space to sign someone like John Tavares or Joe Thornton for example. And as we know, teams who have strong spines are more likely to be successful than not. You add Nuge to a roster that includes Karlsson, Tavares (hypothetically), and Cody Eakin and you’ve got yourself a heck of a base to work from.

If you remember, Reilly Smith was part of the Tyler Seguin trade, and now he’s a 50 point winger making $5M per year in Vegas. How times have changed: Erik Haula would be perfect for the Oilers latest team transformation as well. He’s a rocket out there, and the Oilers could use both a scoring winger and an upgrade in the speed and tenacity department.


The Hurricanes are under new ownership and looking to change the direction of their team with a new GM but are finding it difficult to hire someone who’s willing to work with an owner who wants to be involved in the decision-making…


Tom Dundon wants his team to be a playoff contender and now. It makes the Hurricanes a good possibility for franchisees wanting to make a deal with them in the same way that the Oilers were back when Peter Chiarelli took over and made changes almost instantly. Big Changes.

The story is that Carolina is in search of a No.1 centre and the Edmonton Oilers are in need of a right-handed defenseman to run QB on their PP.

Straight up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Justin Faulk.

Everyone gets their man. It’s a win for both teams in my opinion because the Oilers have much more depth at centre now with JJ Khaira and Ryan Strome showing they can handle the 3rd and 4th lines on their own and the Hurricanes have Jake Bean, Haydn Fleury, and Roland McKeown developing well. Two out of those three players should be full-time NHLers next season.

But if I were the Oilers GM, I would try to find a way to get the Hurricanes to take Andrej Sekera back by selling Carolina on the fact that their defense is still too young and needs a veteran to help stabilize things on their back-end. Maybe asking for a prospect like Janne Kuokkanen, Aleksi Saarela, or Lucas Wallmark to even the deal out a bit.

Next: Ethan Bear Showing Well in NHL Audition

I am sure more teams could use a two-way talent like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but the reality is the team that needs him the most is the Edmonton Oilers. As fun as it is to speculate on the return that we’d want Edmonton to get in a trade for RNH, it’s more fun to imagine Nuge hoisting the Cup with the oil drop on his chest.

Thanks for reading and you can catch up with me on Twitter @holtzpelle!