As long as there has been hockey, there has been new shiny toys and fans, media and sometimes even decision makers angling to cull still useful players.
I realize this is old news… but Mark Spector reported some time ago that RNH was maybe discussed in a potential Seth Jones trade. Based on this scant actual reporting… the following implication was levied:
What it tells us is that Chiarelli sees Nugent-Hopkins as the one player from the Oilers former core that can command the greatest return — yet at the same time is expendable.
The argument out there is that with McDavid and Draisaitl, the Oilers are locked and loaded in all the skill spots on the center roster.
This argument is stupid for a variety of reasons.
McDavid and Draisaitl are 19 and 20 respectively.
RNH is only 22 Damn you!
The NHL is hard damn league to play center in.
Injuries (as this year aptly demonstrates) happen.
McLellan loves centers on his wings.
Who says you can only have two skilled centers anyway?
So… Don’t let fans and reporters, eyes all damp with gooey affection for shiny new things, tell you the bona fide players are expendable.
Which brings me to my favorite hit Oilers’ media hit piece, Terry Jones on Tom Poti, in which the faithful are told:
Maybe they’ll miss his minutes (24:32 a game). But not for long. The Oilers have young defensive talents coming up and just traded penalty-prone press-box regular Sean Brown to Boston for another one in Bobby Allen.
Ahh… young talents coming up! Of course… if only the Oilers tried that sometime between 2002 and now!