Oilers Mailbag: Trade Darnell Nurse for Erik Karlsson? No way

Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse. (CP)

EDMONTON — It’s Mailbag Friday, and we have some beauties. 

So far, folks are trading Darnell Nurse, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Philip Broberg and Jack Campbell. And Kailer Yamamoto. 

I’m not sure we’ll see that much action, but we asked for your questions, and we got them. 

Let’s get started. 

“Hey Spec, would a trade around Darnell Nurse for Erik Karlsson make the Oilers defence better? The money is close, Oilers would have to add. If they are going all in, why not grab the best offensive defenseman?” — @Hitthenet1 

Newsflash: The Oilers did not lose in Round 2 because they averaged 3.67 goals per game (second in the playoffs to Boston). They lost because they couldn’t hold a lead, couldn’t allow two goals or less, couldn’t make three goals stand up on any given night. 

If I’m trading Nurse — and I am not — I’m bringing back a player like Adam Larsson or Brayden McNabb. Maybe a Jonas Brodin, or a Mattias Ekholm clone. 

I repeat: I’m not trading Nurse. But if I did, it would not be for an offence-man like Karlsson. 

Just as we said at the trade deadline, when folks wanted Karlsson and Jakob Chychrun, this kind of defenceman is the last thing Edmonton needs. 

“What would you think of Corey Perry coming in on a cheap 1-year deal for the Bottom 6? Guy still has game left, and can play his role very well.” — @OILfaninCowtown

Who wouldn’t have Perry in their Bottom 6 if they were hunting for a Cup? There aren’t many years left there, but there is at least one, for sure. Perry could play for my team every day. 

“Hey Mark, is Edmonton ever going to win a Cup with McDavid and Draisaitl? Or are they condemned to constant playoff exits, because the NHL has made it very hard for Canadian teams to be successful?” — @Alclembee 

How has the NHL “made it very hard” for Canadian teams, Al? Edmonton has more financial resources than 90 per cent of the U.S.-based teams. They also received four No. 1 overall picks in a six-year span — one named McDavid. 

When they joined the NHL they got to keep Wayne Gretzky — against the wishes of all many American owners. 

Canadian fans show up and spend their money, win or lose. Not like in Denver or San Jose. Canadian cities (outside Toronto) have zero competition from NBA, MLB, college sports, etc. They’re one-horse towns when it comes to the sports dollar, with apologies to the CFL and MLS. 

If the Oilers can’t win a Cup with McDavid and Draisaitl, it’s on the Oilers. Not the NHL. 

“Do either Lucic or Puljujarvi even get a PTO somewhere in the NHL?” — @Dven99 

Milan Lucic will have a few teams to choose from this summer, and will sign a one-year deal in the $1-million range. He is a viable fourth-line NHL winger and makes your team better. 

Jesse Puljujarvi? It’s 50/50 for me whether he finds a one-year deal, or goes to someone’s camp on a PTO. A return to Finland — or perhaps a league like the Swiss League — is a viable option as well, and one he has opted for in the past. 

One is a bonafide NHL player, while the jury is still out on the other, at age 25. As Craig MacTavish once said, “If you’re asking the question, then you likely know the answer.” 

“Do you believe your harsh treatment of players when they are not performing at their best actually helps them or does more harm?” — @The­_BeardedBrad 

Here’s a scoop: players, coaches and GMs couldn’t care less what Mark Spector says about their work. And if they do — if it affects their performance in a negative way — then you don’t want them around anyhow. 

Because winning is a lot tougher than dealing with a journalist. If you can’t handle me, you’re going to be useless in the third period of Game 7. 

“Broberg’s future? He needs opportunity as he’s proven good in a sheltered 3rd pair role… They have to consider moving him, no? Can’t have him as 7D again.” — @RangerBob94

Philip Broberg will be 22 in a month. He’s played four seasons of pro hockey — two in Sweden, two here — but only 38 games in the AH and 69 in the NHL. He was thrust into a bad position when Nurse was suspended versus Vegas, and Broberg was not up to the task. Injuries have slowed him as well. 

If I’m Ken Holland come training camp, I tell Broberg, “You’re going to Bakersfield until Jan. 1, and you’re going to play the right side more than the left. If you’re killing it down there, we’ll give you a shot in Edmonton in the second half. By the trade deadline, we’ll make a decision on whether you are a Top 6 defenceman for a Cup contender, a guy who still needs more seasoning as a No. 7, or perhaps a player who needs a second chance elsewhere.” 

He has played only 107 professional games in North America, and less than 10 minutes in many of those. Patience. 

“Why would you keep RNH (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins)? No results except on the PP with Connor. Too much money for what he brings.” — @Randyhorst3 

Well, Randy, 104 points for a cap hit of $5.125 million is actually nearly twice as much value than what Nugent-Hopkins is being paid. 

Many NHL folks would say a 10-point player gets roughly $1 million, a 50-point player is worth $5 million, etc. I was disappointed with Nugent-Hopkins’ work in the post-season, and I know that Oilers management — and very possibly his teammates — were too. 

He wasn’t nearly good enough, and got pushed out of the playoffs by L.A. and Vegas. 

But you need players to get you to the playoffs, and very few across the NHL punched above their weight last season the way RNH did. 

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