COMPLETING THE FAB FOUR

Lowetide
April 23 2012 08:11PM

Since winning the lottery and the right to pick 1st overall in the 2012 draft, most fans and pundits have assumed that the club will pick young Russian Nail Yakupov. Makes sense. He's the most talented offensive player in the draft. But does that mean they'll take him? Is there a chance the Oilers trade down and grab a defenseman as the final member of their draft "fab four?"

I think there's at least some room for doubt in regard to what Edmonton does with the #1 overall pick this summer. The possible scenarios involve:

  1. Keeping the pick and select Nail Yakupov, generally regarded as the best player available.
  2. Trading the #1 overall pick for an established NHLer--likely a defender--still in his entry level deal.
  3. Trading the #1 overall pick for another selection near the top and another asset.

The Oilers may feel this is their last best chance to grab a franchise defender, and they may also feel the "big three" of Hall, Eberle and the Nuge are best served by adding a lottery defenseman.

WHAT?? WHAT??? WHAT???? WHAT?????

The Oilers have a tremendous number of "maybes" along the blueline and a blue chipper in Oscar Klefbom plus some nice looking kids in Martin Marincin and Martin Gernat. They do not have a "sure thing" like Ryan Murray and that may be enough to tip the scales in the defender's favor.

DEFENSEMEN ARE NOT A GOOD BET THIS HIGH IN THE DRAFT

The Oilers have spent their recent lottery picks on forwards and have a history of drafting F's with their first selection--the last time Edmonton chose a defenseman with their 1st first round pick was the 1989 draft and Jason Soules. The Oilers took defenseman in the 1st round with their first selection in 1988 (Francois Leroux), 1984 (Selmar Odelein), 1983 (Jeff Beukeboom) 1982 (Jim Playfair) 1980 (Paul Coffey) and 1979 (Kevin Lowe).

It's also true (and has been ably shown by Jason Gregor here at ON) that defensemen are not good bets at the top of the draft table. Still, if they aren't completely convinced Yakupov is the man, there's a window for a defender.

If that is the case, then the Oilers dilemma was perfectly framed by Redline Report and Kyle Woodlief in his most recent USA Today Column:

  • Woodlief: In fact, we think this creates a dilemma for the Edmonton Oilers, who might be the first team to be disappointed by winning the lottery. The Oilers are stacked up front on the forward lines and desperately need a puck mover on the back end to trigger what should quickly become an explosive offense. They could have happily selected a Murray or a Matt Dumba second overall after Nail Yakupov came off the board. But now, how do you sell to your fan base using the first pick to take a player with significantly less upside than Yakupov?

MAKE YOUR CASE!

Ryan Murray is the strongest candidate to be the first defenseman taken at the draft. He’s maybe the most NHL ready player in the draft. He has a nice range of skills and can skate. The Oilers don’t need a home run offensive player but badly need someone who will develop into a useful top pairing defenseman. Ken Hitchcock says “he does play like (Scott) Niedermayer."

I think the Oilers may feel that Murray's age is a positive, that he’s more advanced than a player like Oscar Klefbom. The fact that Klefbom will sign his entry-level contract but stay in Sweden another year perhaps adds to the case for Murray. The Oilers may feel this is their last best chance to grab a defender who can develop with the forward cluster.

They may feel he can join them in the fall.

IS THERE ANYONE ELSE?

Yeah, I'd say Griffin Reinhart is a draft wildcard at this point in time. The guy started the year as a top 15 option but has climbed steadily on most draft lists. A team like Edmonton likely prefers Murray for his speed, but Reinhart's improvement and added aggressiveness later in the season has probably turned some heads. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? 

Like I said at the top, I understand that history is a great teacher and the odds of Edmonton getting full value for a defenseman selected in the top 3 or 5 is not strong. Still, with the big three already in the stable, something tells me this organization will think long and hard before passing on Ryan Murray or Griffin Reinhart.

One final thing: the fact that Ryan Murray is being considered for Team Canada is a pretty huge tell in this story. I'm not saying the Oilers are going to take him, but at least someone in the Oilers management group thinks highly of him.

I'm suggesting there's a chance the Oilers are thinking of a way to get Ryan Murray at the draft. There is the thread of a story here, if not a full story. Something to keep track of as we roll along.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Ron
April 23 2012, 08:23PM
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OT: It would be nice to see Chicago lose tonight.

Toews Seabrook Keith and Crosby playnig in the world Championship.

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#2 Zen
April 23 2012, 08:26PM
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LT,

What about the crazy idea of trading the #1 pick of the Oilers to Columbus

for Columbus's first pick in 2013.

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#4 gman
April 23 2012, 08:34PM
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LT,

Do you not think this draft revolves around if or may the oilers can sign Justin Shultz? If they sign him they have the young defencemen they need thus they draft Yak and then try to sign garrison from florida or carlie from philly and were off to the races.

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#5 Zen
April 23 2012, 08:34PM
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I could see Oilers having a lottery pick next year. Columbus Islanders and Minnesota seem like they will be at the bottom. I could see Oilers finishing 4th or 5th last.

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#6 Johe
April 23 2012, 08:36PM
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If the oilers take anyone other than Yakupov at the draft, there really is something wrong with management and they should be fired immediately. There's no way they win a trade when it involves giving away the first pick.

And people always give the impression that the oilers are overflowing with offensive production, but the truth is they were 19th in goals for last year. You can never have too many goal scorers on your team. And goal scorers don't come along very often. Yakupov is an offensive dynamo, and with him the oilers go from having one very good line to two very good lines. With hall and Yakupov on separate lines, you have a constant scoring threat on the ice for nearly two thirds of the game. It's an absolute no brainer to draft him. D-men can be signed in the off-season. Players with forty plus goal potential cannot. End of story. Case closed. Draft Yakupov.

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#8 vetinari
April 23 2012, 08:37PM
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Rather than trading down, what about moving some guys like Omark, Peckham, or Plante and a second or third rounder for another pick in the 8-12 range and snag a defenceman with that pick?

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#9 Tim in Kelowna
April 23 2012, 08:44PM
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This is why I was kind of hoping the Oilers lost the draft lottery. I agree Yakupov is the BPA, but I believe you can only develop so many high end forwards of the same age at once. There is only so much ice time to go around, and only so much 1 on 1 coaching time to go around; inevitably one of the big four will lag behind the others.

Klefbom is a nice piece, but aside from him I don't see any other surefire top-4 dmen in the mix. Having a wealth of riches up front is nice, but not when it is at the expense of the d-corps. If we had stayed at 2 would could have just drafted Murray and be done with it. But now, I have no idea what will happen, and no idea what should happen.

I don't see many viable trade options, and I have zero confidence in Tambellini's ability to pull of such a trade.

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#10 Zen
April 23 2012, 08:45PM
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LT,

Where would Yakupov rank in this list?

Nathan Mackinnon

Seth Jones

Alexsander Barkov

Sean Monahan

Hunter Shinkaruk

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#11 Oilcan
April 23 2012, 08:45PM
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LT,

Do you feel Murray is a sure-fire top pairing dman?

I say this because I Have my doubts, I personally feel that Reilly will be the better defenseman. Murray has great speed and is a "steady-eddy" but is his offence up to par to take him first overall, I would say no and he doesn't have great size to make up for the lack of offence. Plus with the Oilers d the way it is, its like teaching him how to swim in shark infested waters, he has no help and no chance of being sheltered which is a recipe to destroy a young dman.

I feel Yakupov is a sure-fire top 6 player and will be as soon as next year which will help the Oilers, people talk about the Oilers being set up front but aside from Ebs, Hall and RNH they lack depth. Hesmky will bounce back but he is done as an Oilers after his contract because he either didn't bounce back or he did and is too expensive for the Oilers.

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#13 Oilcan
April 23 2012, 08:49PM
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I think if the Oilers get Schultz before the draft there is no doubt they take Yakupov if they don't the only trade that would make sense is trading #1 for #2 and an option to swap firsts next year, maybe the Jackets #31 as the kicker as well.

None of this trade to 5 or 6 crap, its Yakupov at 1 o trade to #2 for Murray, I do not want overrated and overpaid Schenn and a 5th for Yakupov.

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#15 Shane
April 23 2012, 08:55PM
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St. Louis desperately needs a goal scorer , but getting Alex Pietrangelo would seem impossible.

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#16 admiralmark
April 23 2012, 09:01PM
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I like the idea of trading the #1 Pick to Toronto for their 5th overall this year. And their 1st round pick next year. Take the safe solid Dman thats there at 5. And add an extra bullet for next years 1st round. Do you think any of the teams drafting in the top 6-7 would take that deal?

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#17 Tim in Kelowna
April 23 2012, 09:02PM
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Shane wrote:

St. Louis desperately needs a goal scorer , but getting Alex Pietrangelo would seem impossible.

I'd even be willing to sweet the pot...

That's the problem, any surefire top pairing guys on their entry level deals are untouchable.

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#18 Semenko and Troy
April 23 2012, 09:05PM
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Assuming there are assurances that Justin Schultz would sign with the Oilers, how about moving Gagner for Beauchemin and the rights to Schultz? (If need be, throw in Plante as well)

Anaheim gets a replacement for Koivu, and we get significant upgrades on the back end. Then cement our defense with Garrison.

But even without the changes on defense, we need a Yakupov for the second scoring line.

Can you picture Messier with either Lindstrom or Pouzar as his wingman and not Anderson.

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#19 Champ
April 23 2012, 09:12PM
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What about trading Linus Omark for the rights to Justin Schultz? Two players who hold little-no value to the clubs that own their rights now, but have much higher value to the club that acquires them in a trade.

What do we lose by trading Omark? Very little. He's not playing here next year but is still an RFA.

What do they lose by trading Schultz? Nothing. He's not signing there. He's a UFA.

Schultz has better potential but will be a UFA. Omark has less potential but will be an RFA.

Seems to make sense for both clubs.

Make that trade well before the draft so you know if you can sign Schultz and if all goes well, draft the Yak.

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#20 Thinker
April 23 2012, 09:13PM
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I thought shultz was available on june first. Dont college ufa's become available earlier. I remember signing fedun and the others around this time last year, not after the draft.

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#21 Champ
April 23 2012, 09:19PM
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Thinker wrote:

I thought shultz was available on june first. Dont college ufa's become available earlier. I remember signing fedun and the others around this time last year, not after the draft.

I've heard both mentioned and it was briefly debated here on oilersnation (http://oilersnation.com/2012/4/3/who-is-justin-schultz) but it sounds like July 1. That's what some of the more reliable people seem to be saying. I could be wrong though. If anybody knows for sure let us know!

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#22 Oilcan
April 23 2012, 09:21PM
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Champ wrote:

What about trading Linus Omark for the rights to Justin Schultz? Two players who hold little-no value to the clubs that own their rights now, but have much higher value to the club that acquires them in a trade.

What do we lose by trading Omark? Very little. He's not playing here next year but is still an RFA.

What do they lose by trading Schultz? Nothing. He's not signing there. He's a UFA.

Schultz has better potential but will be a UFA. Omark has less potential but will be an RFA.

Seems to make sense for both clubs.

Make that trade well before the draft so you know if you can sign Schultz and if all goes well, draft the Yak.

I was thinking the same thing, but if I am correct Schultz becomes a UFA June 1st and can then sign for a 2 year ELC, if he is signed before it is a 3 year ELC. He has waited this long already and elided not to sign with the Ducks so I think he just waits till June 1st to sign somewhere, so he gets paid (non ELC money) a year earlier without losing anything.

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#23 Sammy
April 23 2012, 09:29PM
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Maybe Toews and Crosby can play with Eberle and RNH.

Chicago out of the playoffs

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#24 Sliderule
April 23 2012, 09:29PM
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So you think that the oil would trade down or god forbid pick a defender at number one.

They would pass on a scorer who should get them 60 plus pts his first year for defenders that are no better than the top two defencemen in the 2011 draft.what are these two doing ,well Hamilton is back in junior and Larsson has been a healthy scratch for the last nine games.

You are doing a disservice to oiler management and head scout by even suggesting such a thing.Aren't you??

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#25 Mabell
April 23 2012, 09:39PM
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Schultz becomes a UFA June 1. Its been reported several times - by Gregor, etc.

I believe it is the result of the college year end, July 1 is the result of NHL contracts ending June 30. In this circumstance, there is no contract....

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#26 DieHard
April 23 2012, 09:55PM
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Champ wrote:

What about trading Linus Omark for the rights to Justin Schultz? Two players who hold little-no value to the clubs that own their rights now, but have much higher value to the club that acquires them in a trade.

What do we lose by trading Omark? Very little. He's not playing here next year but is still an RFA.

What do they lose by trading Schultz? Nothing. He's not signing there. He's a UFA.

Schultz has better potential but will be a UFA. Omark has less potential but will be an RFA.

Seems to make sense for both clubs.

Make that trade well before the draft so you know if you can sign Schultz and if all goes well, draft the Yak.

Not sure if trades are allowed until end of playoffs and then Ducks wouldn't hold his rights.

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#27 DSF
April 23 2012, 09:59PM
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Mabell wrote:

Schultz becomes a UFA June 1. Its been reported several times - by Gregor, etc.

I believe it is the result of the college year end, July 1 is the result of NHL contracts ending June 30. In this circumstance, there is no contract....

He becomes a free agent June 1st but can't be signed until July 1st.

I would expect his signing will be announced at 12:01 AM.

You can bet he and his agent already know where he is going.

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#28 Weasel Wellwood
April 23 2012, 10:01PM
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Can you picture Messier with either Lindstrom or Pouzar as his wingman and not Anderson.

I like it. The Oil would be better served by drafting best player. And the best player is der Yak.

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#29 RussL
April 23 2012, 10:10PM
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How about a trade with LA? Would Drew Doughty be worth the 1st overall? The Kings could use the offensive punch of a Yakupov, and Doughty would fit in nicely here. His contract however would not.

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#31 Zack
April 23 2012, 10:20PM
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Sidney Crosby

Alex Ovechkin

Steven Stamkos

John Tavares

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Taylor Hall

Patrick Kane

Erik Johnson

What would accept in a trade for these players?

I'm sure Yakupov has the potential to be placed somewhere within the calibre of the list of these players. He's no generational talent by any stretch but has "Franchise" right-wing potential.

I don't want to beat the dead horse of drafting a young defenseman but I think Yakupov could garner more value after playing for a year, not likely that I'd want to trade him anyways.

Draft the young Russian kid, lure free agents/trade for an established blue-liner.

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#32 Fresh Mess
April 23 2012, 10:36PM
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Trading the pick to NJ for Larsson would make sense. Lou Lam may need to fill the loss of Parise.

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#33 bazmagoo
April 23 2012, 11:05PM
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I think the only way Edmonton will trade down is if it was Paajarvi + the first to Columbus for Johannssen + the second pick. Realistically that's the only way a deal happens between the Oilers and Jackets, because it benefits both teams equally in my opinion.

The Jackets would get a solid left wing prospect to fill some of the time when Nash is gone, and Yakupov to put some butts in the seats and be their new top forward on the right wing.

The Oilers get the future top pairing d-man that we are desperate for, and a solid prospect at centre who is projecting to be a high end 2nd line centre with size. Johanssen doesn't use his size effectively yet, but he is 6 foot 3 and will be, at the very least, hard to check off the puck due to that size.

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#34 bazmagoo
April 23 2012, 11:09PM
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Trading Yakupov is risky, but I'd love seeing a 5-6 pairing of Murray and Schultz next season with Potter and Sutton as backups. With Klembom on his way next season, this starts the process of having young high end competition for spaces on d.

Either way it's win-win though, because if we have too many high end forwards we can trade one in the future for help wherever we need it. Drafting the Yak should be our first choice though unless we get offered the deal I spoke about in the above post. In my opinion Johanssen is a better prospect than Paajarvi, and the Oilers get a future 2nd line centre with size which everyone can agree has value.

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#35 Cowbell_Feva
April 24 2012, 12:30AM
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I am impartial to the #1 pick. Its been said a million times Yakupov is the BPA. If the Oilers cannot make something happen prior to the draft then they should draft him, I guess.

However, it was mentioned in the article, the guy who has moved up the rankings the most is Griffin Reinhart. A Dman with size and skill and a mean streak. Exactly what the Oilers need. Their biggest hole is clearly the D-corps. Yakupov coming in would boost the Oilers offense-true. But if he and the rest o'the kids are chasing their tail in their own end I can see another long season ahead.

My wish would be to trade the #1 and someone (Omark/MPS/Gags/whoever) and obtain a top 5 pick for this year and an impact player that will be a lock for the Oilers in 2012. We need Defense more than we need offense. IMO we need a bona-fida NHL #1 goalie as well.

You are supposed to build a team from the goalie out, but this team has it backwards. I really hope they don't miss the boat with the young talent up front, because we know how long it takes for Dman to develop.

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#36 D
April 24 2012, 01:06AM
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I would be very surprised if the Oil traded the pick. It's one of those old adages - never look a gift horse in the mouth. The Oil got lucky at the draft lottery and should capitalize. If the fab four are all forwards, it may be easier to sign a free agent defenseman in the future if the Oil start competing as an elite team.

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#37 Buchburgler
April 24 2012, 02:58AM
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I think if your not going to take Yakupov your better off just trading the pick rather then drafting a D man.

A possible trade partner might be Detroit? Everything ive read suggests a roster shakeup is going to occur (and they need to get younger.) Now my dream scenario would be something like Yakupov + Paajarvi for Brendan Smith and maybe Zetterburg or Franzen. I should probably wake up and stop dreaming though. Ill leave the make believe trades for Eklund.

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#38 Saytalk
April 24 2012, 04:39AM
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The Quebec Nordiques had 3 first overall picks. Those picks ultimately ended up being Owen Nolan, Mats Sundin and Eric Lindros. The Nordiques already had Joe Sakic (and Valeri Kamensky) but in order to balance out their lineup and fill other needs, they traded Nolan for defenceman Sandis Ozolnich and traded Sundin for gritty Wendel Clark who they later flipped in a three-way deal for Claude Lemieux. Lindros was traded for a huge package of players that included Peter Forsberg and Mike Ricci.

You can say that we would never get full value by trading a finesse forward (unless he is incredibly over-hyped like Lindros), but armchair GM's often overweight assists and points in valuing a player on the trade market. A good defenceman or a gritty winger who can score points are hard to find and if we ever got one in return in a trade, I don't think the trade would be as lopsided as people would think. There's more to a player's value than his point totals.

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#39 Aaron
April 24 2012, 06:08AM
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RussL wrote:

How about a trade with LA? Would Drew Doughty be worth the 1st overall? The Kings could use the offensive punch of a Yakupov, and Doughty would fit in nicely here. His contract however would not.

Doughty would be worth the first overall and then some. But the LAK I covet is Kopitar. We're getting close to Ek-ville here, but Yakupov + prospect gets us an elite centre with size and a two-way game; LA gets the elite young pure scoring winger they haven't had in years to complement Richard-Carter-Stoll up the middle, and instant cap relief to the tune of nearly 7 mil.

LA really has very few contracts of significance coming off the books, and you'd imagine they'll want to retain Stoll and maybe even Penner as he's played so well these playoffs.

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#40 Sliderule
April 24 2012, 07:04AM
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LT

If you look at forwards drafted in top five over the past ten years and who jumped right from CHL to NHL right after the draft the scoring conversion rate is .4 Older players like Hall and Landeskog convert at a a higher rate probably because they are nineteen for most of their first season .

You are right that hall and RNH didn't get 60 pts but both missed a lot of the season because of injury.

Hall .65 pts/game x 82 53 pts RNH .84 pts/game x82 68 pts If you take Yaks 17 year old season pts/game of 1.55 and convert it at .5 which is about the older player conversion you get 63 pts.

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#42 Lummeropenet84
April 24 2012, 07:46AM
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We must be very bored in Oilerville right now. The only people who would want the oil to trade the first overall pick would be Flames fans or Pierre McGuire. Remember how Pierre McGuire would have picked Larson over the nuge. Yak will be drafted. He will become one of the untouchables along with 4, 93 and 14. Everyone else is available to trade for a D-man or draft pick. If management trades the number one overall it will be my biggest disappointment in this team since we lost the Avco cup in 79.

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#43 michael
April 24 2012, 08:14AM
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Columbus's draft strategy will be influenced by what they decide to do with Rick Nash. Trade him? Or keep him? More likely trade him. I think they trade him and see what combination of draft picks and prospects they get in return. After that they need to look at upgrading thier goaltending either via a trade(Vancouver?) or via free agency(slim pickings). Then they will be able to decide what they will do with the 2cd pick.

The Oilers have enough assets to make an offer for that pick. Assets that include MP,Anton Lander,Oscar Klefbom. Picks? 1st next year. If the BJ's decide to exercise thier option on LA's first round pick this year it probably would make sense. Bird in hand.So a scenario that would make sense to me is that Columbus uses LA's pick and the picks from the Nash trade to draft players of thier own, and add to their prospects list through trades with Edmonton and other(Nash). I think Scott Howson needs a combination of players who can play right now and in the future. He needs to sell this to the fans in Columbus. His rebuild can't be 3-5 years. They are bleeding money like water. Howsons needs to turn his team around sooner then later.

I believe that Yakupov will the player we take #1. But I also think that the Oilers offer CBJ a deal that can't refuse for the #2. As much a I like some of our prospects the idea of both Murray and Yakupov appeals to me more.

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#44 madjam
April 24 2012, 08:19AM
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Oilers take Yakupov and work on a defenceman with other trade bait . As we are likely to be at bottom again next season it is unlikely we should consider playing with the next years pick either . Who knows for sure how many pertinent defencemen will make a successfull integration into the NHL from the draft 1-2 years ago , that might be better than all this years draftees ? A trade down in first round might also land us a good defensive propect . A more likely scenario than drafting Murray first overall .

There is always a chance Tams gets a deal for Yakupov that is just to good to pass up . It has not happened in the past and i feel it is very unlikely to happen this time either . What do we have available to get a second first round pick, that might give us a good defensive propect ?

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#45 Dipstick
April 24 2012, 08:22AM
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The anticipated log jam at RW can be relieved by the next trade deadline by moving Hemsky. If (big if) he continues to stay injury free and improve his production, he could bring some valuable assets back to the team.

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#46 j
April 24 2012, 08:32AM
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Number 1 plus Gagner and 3rd rounder for Seguin and Hamilton. Fait accompli, non?

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#47 Dman09
April 24 2012, 08:49AM
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bazmagoo wrote:

I think the only way Edmonton will trade down is if it was Paajarvi + the first to Columbus for Johannssen + the second pick. Realistically that's the only way a deal happens between the Oilers and Jackets, because it benefits both teams equally in my opinion.

The Jackets would get a solid left wing prospect to fill some of the time when Nash is gone, and Yakupov to put some butts in the seats and be their new top forward on the right wing.

The Oilers get the future top pairing d-man that we are desperate for, and a solid prospect at centre who is projecting to be a high end 2nd line centre with size. Johanssen doesn't use his size effectively yet, but he is 6 foot 3 and will be, at the very least, hard to check off the puck due to that size.

Penner doesn't use his size effectively yet either.

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#48 Oilcruzer
April 24 2012, 08:51AM
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Oil should not trade down.

But they might change things up if others trade up.

The difference is in who approaches who...

...the power is in the hands of those fulfilling the need.

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#49 baggedmilk
April 24 2012, 09:05AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Since when is having too much skill a bad thing? I don't understand the idea/concept of trading a Mercedes for a Honda.

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#50 The Soup Fascist
April 24 2012, 09:09AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@Lummeropenet84

Really?? That '79 AVCO Cup ticked you off more than losing Game 7 of the '06 SCF to the hockey hotbed of Raleigh, SC?

Must have been one hell of a WHA fan!!

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