Two questions for the mailbag this week. As always, use the widget on the right to send us questions for the mailbag.
Rangers West asks: What would it take to get Darnell Nurse and Jesse Puljujarvi from Edmonton? Would some combination of Pionk, DeAngelo, Vesey, Namestnikov, and Shattenkirk get it done?
Before unpacking what would land them, let’s look at the players. Puljujarvi is Edmonton’s 4th overall pick in 2016. His availability at #4 overall –the Blue Jackets went off the board at #3– is why the Rangers didn’t make that Ryan McDonagh/#4 overall swap at that draft (for Clayton Keller). In 42 games this year, Puljujarvi has a line of 4-5-9. Last year he put up 12-8-20 in 65 games. Not exactly enticing numbers, but Edmonton is so poorly constructed it’s tough to use those numbers.
It’s worth noting that Puljujarvi has struggled, and his rel xGF% of -5.72 is 2nd worst among forwards on Edmonton. He gets bottom-six minutes, so his teammates are pretty terrible. I mean, have you seen that roster?
Puljujarvi is just 20 years old, and he’s a right handed winger, a rare commodity. He has a ton of trade value still, but this might be a good buy-low scenario, especially with Edmonton’s management in flux.
As for Nurse, the 24 year old defenseman has been a rock for Edmonton. He’s their top pairing defenseman who forms a solid pairing with Oscar Klefbom. Considering how much Edmonton wants defensemen, I doubt he’s available.
This is a very long winded answer for saying I don’t think the Rangers and Oilers match up for Nurse. However Puljujarvi is a different story. It’s tough to read the Oilers, since they generally have no idea what they are doing. I’d assume they can grab him for something like Pionk and Vesey, because both have much higher perceived value than actual value. The Oilers have some cap woes, so maybe taking a non-Lucic contract back would help as well?
Moose Klein asks (writes): The Rangers of the current era are physically overmatched and have few honest hits in the course of the game. The defense lacks physical play.
This email came exactly two hours after the Cody McLeod trade. I figured I’d get one of these, so let’s address this.
Physicality, in terms of 80’s style fighters and big bodies to finish checks, is an antiquated term in today’s game. We’ve seen time and time again where someone finishing their check leaves the ice open for the opposition to spring for a rush. Adam McQuaid is certainly guilty of this regularly.
That said, there is a need for physical play, just not at the expense of skill. Let’s look at Chris Kreider and Tony DeAngelo as examples here. You can even use Mats Zuccarello, who is a feisty pest, as an example. I’ll take strength and skill over one-dimensional physicality like McLeod 100 times out of 100.
Also as a side note, and it’s something we’ve mentioned for quite some time now, the defense lacks a lot of things. Physical play is on the list, just not very high."Mailbag: Jesse Puljujarvi/Darnell Nurse, Soft Defense",