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Wednesday Round Table with the Copper & Blue

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With training camp underway, a few of our writers sat down to answer some of the pressing questions on the minds of Oilers fans.

Calgary Flames v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

1) Jacob Trouba wants out of Winnipeg (of course he does), what would you give up to bring him to Edmonton?

Jeff: I'm in on Trouba. The start-stop begins when Cheveldayoff says he wants a one-for-one. Assuming he wants a right-handed defenceman of equal value, the Oilers don't have one of those to give up and take on a big contract. Start me at Nurse plus Reinhart. C'mon, Kevin. You know you like this cake.

Zsolt: Trouba is a tough one because he is a RFA and is obviously looking for a raise. He has also requested a trade so that should lower his trade value a little bit. I hate looking like the crazy Oilers fan that shouts out Lander's or Pakarinen's name because we know that's not gonna happen. The player that makes the most sense is Darnell Nurse but as we know Nurse is quickly becoming the next Justin Schultz so trading him isn't an option either. Some have suggested Klefbom, who has the potential to be a top pairing guy but his perpetual injury situation scares the crap out of me. All the rest of the defensemen are either on NMC/NTC, over paid, "retired" or Davidson. That makes it quite tough. That brings us to forwards and after losing Hall this summer that top 6 needs to stick together for a while or its gonna be a whole lot of trouble. In the bottom 6 there is only one name that carries any value, Hendricks. So if we are talking about a straight up trade it would have to be one of Nurse or Klefbom, if we are talking pieces then Hendricks and a prospect. Other than that it is going to be tough to make this trade happen.

Alan: Darnell Nurse and a secondary asset...think a 3rd round pick or mid-range prospect...If they wanted something different, I'd listen. Nothing elite like a Draisaitl or RNH though, that's ridiculous. I don't see them wanting Davidson instead but I'd be open to that as well. I could actually see them having some interest in Fayne (likely if EDM ate salary) as a good complement to Buff and Myers on that right side, but that would be in addition to a guy like Nurse...not instead of. Bottom line is I don't think he's coming to EDM and I kind of have the impression he wants to play in the US though I don't know why. I think he ends up in Boston, Detroit, St. Louis or Arizona. If the ask was Klefbom, I'd consider it as long as Trouba agreed to a deal at less than $5M long-term so the cost certainty remains reasonably consistent. Right-side guy is so important and w/ Sekera, Nurse, Davidson, Reinhart, they'd survive it.

Corey: I'm a big Trouba fan, of course he's going to want a huge contract soon, so take that into consideration. My ideal package would be Nurse +. I know the Jets want another young d-man in return. I see Nurse's ceiling being something similar to what Trouba already is (which would be great), but who knows if he'll ever develop a defensive acumen to go along with his elite potential. I hope I'm wrong.

Ryan: If you’re willing to make the Hall/Larsson deal, a deal to me that points to a management group that is desperate to see the team start winning games this season, I don’t see how you’re not pushing hard for a guy like Trouba, a player who is ready to take on a big minute role at a position where the Oilers need a player who can do just that. He’s requested a trade, and to some that means you try to land him for three sticks of gum and an old hockey stick, but I think we need to be realistic, and realistic starts with Nurse and you figure out the rest from there.

2) When the dust settles on training camp, do you see Kris Versteeg sticking with the team?

Jeff: I think Versteeg is a shoo-in. He's a veteran with two Stanley Cups. That doesn't mean anything to me, but I'll bet you a doughnut it does to management. What matters is Versteeg can easily play bottom six minutes and I think he gives the club an option if Jesse Puljujärvi doesn't start the season with the Oilers in a couple weeks.

Zsolt: The short answer is I hope he does. Once again the bottom 6 is weak, Versteeg gives the Oilers a little more depth and he has played both sides of the ice in the past so it also gives them options. If he does get a contract out of this, I really hope it is a "show me" contract and not a "save us" contract.

Alan: I feel like this question is ridiculous though I know it's not. He should absolutely make the team and it isn't even close. He's immediately the team's 2nd most proven right winger. He's a versatile guy who can move up and down the line-up, he's a strong possession player on a team that doesn't have many and he gives them the option of moving Yak (which I still think they want to do) or keeping Puljujärvi in the AHL for 40 games to slow his accrual to UFA status and kill his bonuses (which they should do but probably won't). Versteeg making this team was a no-brainer from the second he agreed to the PTO as long as he doesn't get hurt and they don't do something stupid.

Corey: I see Versteeg sticking around, simply because I think he can still play, and because I believe (or at least hope) that McLellan is willing to play talented players in the bottom six, even if they aren't traditional 3rd/4th line types.

Ryan: I wouldn’t have bother with the PTO, I would have gone straight to a one-year deal, so I certainly hope he does. And really I would be surprised if he didn’t stick with the team. He can play in the middle six, would give the team some depth on the right side, and likely isn’t going to cost much. In a league with a salary cap, I don’t know how you pass that up.

3) Prediction time: Do the Oilers make the playoffs this season? Next season? At some point in your lifetime?

Jeff: Not unless McDavid scores 140 points. Maybe Probably not. I'm dyin’ over here, ferchrissakes.

Zsolt: After last season and the events of this off season I have decided to start predicting the Oilers playoff hopes 5 years out. I say that the Oilers make the playoffs within 5 years and I will continue to roll 5 years out every year from here on out. The best thing about this prediction is if they do make the playoffs within 5 years I can say "see I predicted it". If they don't well its 5 years away nobody is gonna remember my prediction from 5 years ago. Count the hits, ignore the misses.

Alan: Nope. Nope, nope, nope. They have one-line driver (McDavid) and nobody else who is proven in their ability to carry a line to strong results by any metric you want to consider...Corsi, GF%...whatever. Losing Hall made this team a lot shallower in the top six. That sounds absurd because of their skill, but it's true in this sense: They now need RNH, Draisaitl, Eberle or Yakupov to do something they've never done before, which is to carry the ball and drive the play as the focal point of a successful line instead of as a complimentary player. (Or Puljujärvi I guess, that's a lot to ask at 18) They have a deep top 9, but they are asking A LOT of people to be more than they've ever shown to be before (without any help that is). I suspect some will come through, but not all of them.

Ultimately, they're likely better than Vancouver and legitimately could be ahead of Calgary and Phoenix, though that's less certain. With the depth of the Central it is almost a given that both wildcards will come from that division (STL,CHI, NSH, DAL, are all really good, WPG should bounce back, COL might be better w/o Roy and don't forget MIN is now coached by Bruce "I always win my division in the regular season" Boudreau) so EDM likely has to outpace one of the California teams to make the playoffs. It's possible that ANA and LA both take steps back as ANA doesn't have Lindholm signed, they are getting old and they traded Boudreau for Carlyle and LA is getting older too, but to pass those two you are asking EDM to net +32 or +33 standings points (between EDM's improvement & the other team's drop-off) in order to qualify. That's an enormous task for a team that hasn't finished above 23rd in like 8 seasons. I have them around 80-82 points. Better but not really in contention beyond January.

Corey: I don't see it this season, maybe if the Hall trade had never happened. I give 2017-18 a 50/50 chance (which basically means I have no clue). Beyond that, we're due for a good team at some point, right?

Ryan: With the defence they have right now, the answer is no. If everything breaks right for them – they stay healthy, everyone that’s supposed to take a step forward does, and the goaltending holds up – they could end up with a point total in the mid-80s but that’s the best I see for them, and it won’t be enough to keep the team from setting a new NHL record by missing the playoffs for an eleventh straight season.

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