Just like the news anchors on election night …Dead Cat Bouncing is calling the Edmonton Oilers rebuild an epic fail.
For several years, the Oilers have been drafting skilled wingers, then a centre, then some D, all the while ignoring the maxim that anyone who has any credibility in the hockey world has always insisted the only way to build a winning NHL team is from the back end out and down the middle.
Here we are in year 8/9 of the rebuild and the Oilers don’t have reliable goaltending, even ONE top pairing D, nor ONE #1C never mind the 5 or 6 centres most teams can trot out on a regular basis.
Considering how often the Oilers have drafted in the top 10 since 2006, this is unforgivable.
And, now, the only course going forward is going to be moving some of the 1st overall picks they’ve pissed away hoping they can return enough value to build a competitive team.
Problem is…they don’t.
Let’s start with Nail Yakupov who is so close to “bust” you can feel Patrik Stefan’s breath on the back of your neck. But more than anyone, Yakupov reminds me of this guy:
Pat Falloon, 1991 No. 2 Overall Pick, San Jose Sharks
Going into the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, everyone in San Jose was excited about having a team in the NHL in the 1991-92 season as the San Jose Sharks.
Unfortunately, the franchise did not get off to a great start in drafting Pat Falloon with the second overall pick. While he got off to a decent start with 25 goals as a rookie and leading the team in points, this would end up being the best season of his NHL career.
Falloon would spend the rest of his career bouncing around the league for the next decade with the likes of the Philadelphia Flyers, Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins before retiring after the 1999-2000 season. Falloon finished his career with 143 goals and 179 assists for 322 points in 575 career games.
Like Falloon, Yakupov rode a ridiculous shooting percentage to a decent rookie season but since…crickets.
I doubt Yakupov ends up being a gypsy in the NHL…I’d wager he may end up in the KHL as early as next season and based on recent performance…the Oilers won’t miss him a bit.
Ryan Nugent Hopkins is a very nice 2 way player but he is NOT a #1C on a good team. He just doesn’t produce enough offence.
Hopkins is currently the 41st ranked centre scorer in the league with only 5 goals and 14 points. His PTS/60 5V5 is 38th among league centres and his 5V4/60 scoring puts him in 113th spot. That’s hardly befitting a #1 overall pick….especially one with a $6M cap hit.
Which brings us to Taylor Hall.
Anyone who has been paying close attention and isn’t a dreadful homer, will have noted Tyler Seguin has blown by Hall in terms of performance and value.
Seguin is on pace for a 63 goal 105 point season…Taylor Hall will be lucky to get 30 goals and 60 points.
I know Hall missed a few games but here are the numbers /60:
And yet, Taylor Hall is the Oilers most valuable asset…or is he?
Perhaps the Oilers most valuable asset is the next #1 pick. It appears the Oilers will be one of the worst 4 teams in the league standings (they’re currently tied with Buffalo for the worst win percentage at .318) but Columbus and Carolina are within hailing distance.
Since there are 2 “can’t miss” #1C prospects in McDavid and Eichel and a definite #1D prospect in Noah Hannifin in the draft, the Oilers are almost assured of snagging one of them. But is there anything pro-active they can do to accelerate the infinite-build they are in the throes of?
I think there might be.
The Arizona Coyotes, who are likely to be picking top 10 in the draft could desperately use a player that they can market to put bums in the seats. Since it’s unlikely they will be picking top 5, I think they might be convinced to consider an alternate reality….and here it is.
The Edmonton Oilers trade Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov and Jeff Petry (expiring contract) to the Arizona Coyotes for Oliver Ekman-Larssen, Antoine Vermette (expiring contract) and Arizona’s 1st round pick in 2015.
The Oilers get a #1D, one of the best 2nd line centres in the league and an opportunity to draft Hannifin, Strome, Zacha, Barzal or Kylington.
Centre depth of McDavid/Eichel, RNH, Vermette, Gordon would be among the best in the league and failing MacDavid/Eichel, they would have 2 shots at Strome or Barzal (or both)
The Coyotes get a marketable player in Hall, some hope in Yakupov, and a decent RH defenseman.
You would have to involve some conditional draft picks to balance the expiring contracts but I believe this is a trade that would meet the long term needs of both franchises.