The Edmonton Oilers were at the centre of many different trade and roster change chatter this season. And while the 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 focus has been on making sure it will not happen again next season.
Earlier last week, Sportsnet senior write Mike Spector said that the Oilers' main trade bait, forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was now auditing for the Ottawa Senators. 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.
On Friday morning, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch denied that rumor by pouring cold water all over it. But it hasn't reassured fans and NHL insiders are still talking about a potential trade involving RNH happening this summer. As Jonathan Willis of The Athletic reports, Oilers fans are more than leery about the rumour of pushing Nugent-Hopkins out the door. However, he also understands why general manager Peter Chiarelli is considering this option.
"Edmonton cannot afford to bleed any more talent than it already has; if the team were to deal Nugent-Hopkins it would need to get full value back. Yet listening on offers only makes sense," Willis writes.
"That kind of trade isn’t likely to be the result of aggressively shopping a player. To land a premium, the Oilers need to be okay with the idea of not making any trade at all involving Nugent-Hopkins. They need to be comfortable with the alternative of just keeping him on the roster. They should be."
Fans will be relieved to read that Willis wants to see the versatile centre to remain in Edmonton, as Chiarelli has been getting a lot of heat, especially on social media, when it comes to trading Nugent-Hopkins.
Edmonton Oilers team president Bob Nicholson made comments suggesting that things are about to change drastically in Edmonton.
“We have a plan and we are going to get it right,” “There will be some change, but we are not going to make those until the end of the year,” “I think we want to make sure that we get the right culture in the dressing room,” said Nicholson as per Sportsnet.
“Fans will buy in if they can understand the plan once we make the changes.”
Does it mean that the plan is to move RNH this summer? The reality of the situation is that Chiarelli has to know that his job is in serious jeopardy at this stage of the season, and maybe he knows he won't make it to the start of next season if something drastic doesn't change between now and then. Could the troubled general manager be looking to make this controversial trade to save his job in Edmonton?
Fans, are you buying what Nicholson said last week yet?