Constant Craving

K.D. Lang Makes Her Debut Performance In "After Midnight"


Although it seems like forever…it was about 3 seasons ago I identified the Oilers major needs as:

1) An above average NHL goaltender.

2) TWO top pairing defensemen

3) A #1/#2 C

Well, here we are and the needs are exactly the same and the Oilers are no closer to getting this pieces than they were then.

The bet that Craig MacTavish made on the Scrivens/Fasth combo has turned out pretty much like then you go all in with a pair of 8s before the flop. Boom!

In similar fashion, MacT bet on a bevy of journeymen defensemen who didn’t really fill much of a need since the team was already chok a block with bottom 4 D…they just have more of them now.

I like Ryan Nugent Hopkins as a hockey player but anyone who is being honest with themselves would have to concede he does produce offence befitting a #1C taken 1st overall the draft…he just doesn’t.

Here’s a look at the production in year four of #1C’s taken 1st overall in the past 10 years:

2005 – Sidney Crosby – 1.34 PPG

2008 – Steven Stamkos – 1.18 PPG

2009 – John Tavares – .979

2010  – Tyler Seguin – 1.05 (Seguin wasn’t selected 1st overall but he should have been)

2011 – Ryan Nugent Hopkins – .736

There are those Hopkins apologists who will try and tell you that he can’t produce at a higher level because the Oilers are so bad or because they don’t have a D corp that can move the puck but that could also have been an excuse for some of the others noted above.

At this point in his career, Hopkins is an exceptional 2 way second line centre who may find another gear but if the Oilers are to be successful, he is going to have to score at the same rate as the other big centres in the Pacific Division and he has a very long way to go:

P/60 5V5

Seguin – 2.58

Schwartz – 2.58

Getzlaf – 2.50

Toews – 2.50

Carter – 2.39

Ribiero – 2.34

Backes – 2.34

Thornton – 2.30

Duchene – 2.27

Steen – 2.17

Wilson – 2.17

Bouma – 2.13

Bonino – 2.13

Fisher – 2.05

Couture – 2.01

Sedin – 2.00

Nugent Hopkins – 1.85

Can Hopkins improve on those number? Sure he can when the Oilers are a better team and he is sharing some of the load with another centre but it should also be remembered he is getting a huge Ozone push (63%) and is not currently delivering the goods based on his draft pedigree and 4 years experience.

For comparisons sake…Sean Monahan in Calgary is scoring slightly less than Hopkins at evens but he is only starting 46% of the time in the offensive zone. (and he just turned 20)


Craig MacTavish says he’s likely going to bring in a defenseman next season but I’m not sure he will get what the Oilers really need…at least one top pairing D. They just aren’t easily available and, unless you think Nurse or Klefbom is going to turn into one if the next 3 seasons, we may be having this same conversation in 2018.

The only answer is a trade of one of Hall, Hopkins or Eberle in a package to attain one and I don’t think he’s prepared to do that.



4 thoughts on “Constant Craving

  1. My guess is that if Mac T is not prepared to trade something substantial then they are looking at the same result ( insert definition of insanity …..doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result) or they truly are looking long term and hope that Nurse/Klefbom and Mr Norris step up and deliver top 4 performances.

    My belief is that Mac T he will continue to get what he currently has ….aka Nikitin in an overpay situation.


  2. According to Matty, the Oil will take either Hanifin or Provorov if they pick third (or fourth, presumably.) The problem is that now you have an insurmountable gap between your forward “core” and your hopefully stud defencemen. It is generally true that defencemen take about 300 pro games to fully develop. (exceptions include Doughty) That is a good four years. Hall will be 24 next year, Eberle 25, this is the prime of their careers. Time will run out on their forwards before the defence is ready. They either need to sacrifice the future to get the defence, centre and goalie help they need now or admit that this rebuild is a dismal failure and build around Nurse, Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, the pick and what they can get for their “stars.”
    I would not be optimistic with the first scenario. Oiler brass and most fans vastly overrate Hall’s and Eberle’s contributions. (For a realistic view of Hall’s defensive abilities, see the ON wrapup of the Kings game. To paraphrase, many times both L.A. defencemen beat Hall to the Oilers zone.) Building around a flawed core is a fool’s game.
    Of course, neither option will be followed by the Oiler brass. If they had any foresight, they would not be in this mess to begin with.


    1. As you may know…I’ve been saying the Oilers’ rebuild was done ass backwards for a very long time.

      They are only now addressing the conventional wisdom that you build from the back end out and down the middle and, if you don’t do that, you have to be prepared to fix it by moving your most valuable asset(s) to accomplish that goal.

      As you say, though, the clock is ticking and they essentially have to start over especially since the you starts really aren’t that good.


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