3 replacements for tankers if Nugent-Hopkins walks in free agency
If the Edmonton Oilers choose to let Ryan Nugent-Hopkins go in free agency, the decision will not sit well with much of the team’s fan base. That said, if one learns that he wants more than he’s potentially worth, what the Oilers do with the $ 6 million space cap could quite quickly topple those who disagree with it. decision.
As Elliotte Friedman pointed out during a spot on SN960, it’s not necessarily a bad thing in this fixed-cap market if Edmonton can find a better use of that money. The Oilers will be challenged to have to find two first six lefties in a single offseason, but there are a few options.
With players like Blake Coleman, Jaden Schwartz, Taylor Hall and Alex Galchenyuk, here are some names the Oilers should keep an eye out for.
Upbid Toronto for Zach Hyman
Friedman was on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer last Friday and Stauffer said he could see a scenario where Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman would get $ 6 million over six years from another team. If this is the case for Hyman, Toronto must either make a few moves to free up the money or let it walk.
During his 31 Thoughts podcast, Friedman has repeatedly said he wouldn’t be surprised if one of the teams running at Hyman is the Oilers. If Edmonton doesn’t sign Nugent-Hopkins again, one of the arguments put forward by Oilers fans is that GM Ken Holland will have to immediately find a player like Nugent-Hopkins if they run out of Nugent-Hopkins. Hyman is about as close as it gets.
He’s a penalty killing machine and a solid two-way street player. It is excellent in 5×5 and larger grinding situations than Nugent-Hopkins. He could find a chemistry with Connor McDavid that Nuge doesn’t seem to find on the top line, or Hyman can be effective in any top nine role on the left.
$ 6 million is a huge increase on his current salary, but he could be the most wanted free agent in the market if he makes it.
Related: History of the Oil Tankers: The Day Edmonton Saved the Franchise
Trade for Jake Guentzel
With a possible change of direction ahead for the Pittsburgh Penguins and more focused on the physical game, TribLive.com’s Mark Madden notes that there is a chance that GM Ron Hextall and president of hockey operations Brian Burke are considering an exchange that would move Jake Guentzel forward. .
The core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are likely to stick together, so Madden suggests that a Guentzel trade could spell a good comeback for the Penguins, while moving the club to players who won’t be beaten and beaten for. the playoffs. . It seems incredible that the Penguins are open to negotiating such a strong scoring threat, but if that comes to pass, the Oilers should make a phone call.
Guentzel is 26, a gifted offensive talent and his cap reaches a similar $ 6 million. This season, he has scored 23 goals and 57 points in 56 games. The previous season, he had 43 points and 20 goals in 39 games. In 2018-19, he scored 40 goals and 76 points in 82 games. He is a player who is a lock to produce his salary and always more efficient than Nugent-Hopkins. If Holland wants a ‘sure thing’, it’s this guy.
The problem here will be what the Oilers will have to give up to get it. It’s one thing to replace Nugent-Hopkins with another free agent, but losing a player and then having to trade a number of assets to get a top left winger means potentially massive turnover. Remember, this is probably not a trade where the Penguins only want futures or draft picks. They want physical players and the Oilers aren’t exactly swimming in excess resistance.
Sign a motivated Tomas Tatar
Tomas Tatar is highly unlikely to be back with the Montreal Canadiens next season. The team will have a lot of work to do on their salary cap and Tatar is a pending UFA who takes up too much salary cap space for a team that will not be able to sign him and have not used him consistently.
Back in February 2020, there were reports in Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts column that the Oilers had already kicked Tatar. He wrote:
I think the Oilers have, at the very least, looked at Tomas Tatar. (Pittsburgh would be another interested team.) GM Ken Holland knows him very well. Once again, however, Montreal feels that injuries have derailed their season and want to be competitive in 2020-21. So you really have to move the needle to get the attention of Canadians.
Jason Gregor recently wrote on Oilers Nation that Tatar, “would be ideal for a one-year demo contract. Noting that he has scored 20-29 goals in six of the past seven seasons, his 5 × 5 production is what really stands out. He was able to be productive without stars like Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl and he is probably ready to sign a shorter term contract.
If he accepts a year between $ 3.5 million and $ 4 million – and he could play with some top talent – the Oilers would still have $ 2 million to go out and try to find a suitable third-row center – assuming that they don’t. I think Ryan McLeod is quite ready for this role.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and articles on news and rumors here at The Hockey Writers.
You can also catch him writing on NHLtradetalk.com, The Sportster and hosting weekly video castings, THW News and Rumors Rundown, as well as Oilers Overtime.
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