The trade rumor was alive and well for a day or two, but it seems it will not live any longer. However, all the elements were there. First, the Edmonton Oilers have had an extremely embarrassing season and one in which they have drastically regressed from the previous season in which they looked like a legitimate playoff contender.
The majority of the blame has fallen on the head of general manager Peter Chiarelli, who has orchestrated a series of trades and contract signings that have baffled fans and pundits alike. But he may be looking for a way to make it up to the team and fans with an upcoming big trade. According to a report from Sportsnet senior columnist Mark Spector, Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion was spotted scouting the Oilers in person for the second consecutive night in a row.
That was nothing to get on your high horse, but then, Spector went further by saying that the main trade bait, forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was now auditing for the Senators. Of course, the player himself would prefer to remain in Edmonton. But if he gets a chance to land a bigger role in Ottawa, then, why not show the Sens what you are made of? The potential deal would be something like this: move RNH to Ottawa in return for winger Mike Hoffman, who has found himself on the trade block since the start of the season, but did not end up moving by the trade deadline.
And the need for a scoring winger in Edmonton is there. No doubt. Oilers captain and superstar Connor McDavid needs a winger that shoots. Hoffman has averaged 222 shots per season and 27 goals a year for the past three seasons. The Senators ending up moving centre Derick Brassard in a complex three-team trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins ahead of the deadline, and that shows that they need to fill the void down the middle even more before the start of next season.
However, Spector wondered:
"But do you ever trade a well-rounded centreman like Nugent-Hopkins for a winger in Hoffman? That’s a tough deal to swallow for Edmonton — unless you get a little something more in the deal and Hoffman comes in and scores 35."
That was enough for another insider and team beat writer to pour cold water on the trade rumor. The Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch denied the notion of the Senators shipping Hoffman this summer to the Oilers for RNH.
"Indications are the rumoured deal was never discussed, and it’s highly doubtful the Senators would move Hoffman after resisting offers to trade him at the Feb. 26 trade deadline because he’d developed such strong scoring chemistry with centre Matt Duchene."
Garrioch goes on to explain that Dorion’s presence at two recent Oilers games was merely part of his Western scouting trip. Dorion has a scouting background and went to see some college games, the Western Hockey League and pro games in San Jose and Calgary as his staff prepares for the 2018 NHL Draft (June 22-23) in Dallas.
So there. We apparently need to forget about this one, although Oilers team president Bob Nicholson made comments this week suggesting that things are about to change drastically in Edmonton. But the Hoffman plan does not seem to be an option...
It was fun while it lasted!