With the Edmonton Oilers mired in the midst of an AWFUL start to the 2017-18 campaign, there are throngs of fans begging for the team to make a change. Bring in some scoring, add a top-four defenseman… ANYTHING to give this team some life. Well… those fans may get their wishes fulfilled if Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli manages to pull the trigger on a rumored Ryan Nugent-Hopkins deal.
Finally providing the Oilers with some offensive production, the 24-year-old Nugent-Hopkins has 17 points in 23 games and is finally starting to fulfill on the promise he showed early on in his career. Drafted 1st overall in 2011, The Nuge topped out at 24 goals and 56 points in 2014-15, but hasn’t come close to 50 points since then. If he keeps things up this season however, he could establish a new career high. His $6 million annual salary makes him a difficult trade chip to move, but Sportsnet reporter and NHL insider Nick Kypreos claims there are teams interested in acquiring Nugent-Hopkins via trade.
Last week there were reports that the Columbus Blue Jackets had inquired, offering up defenseman Ryan Murray as a possible return. Last night, Kypreos reported that the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers both have significant interest. While no other names have been announced in trade speculation, there looks to be a match for both teams. With Patrice Bergeron playing top line center in Boston and Aleksander Barkov holding down the same duties in Florida, Nugent-Hopkins could make the perfect #2 center on either squad.
Nothing imminent just yet, but don’t be surprised if things heat up on the Oilers and Nugent-Hopkins if the team continues its slide in the standings.