Red Line Report: “We think Edmonton is open to shopping that top pick”

Jonathan Willis
June 13 2012 11:20AM

Because they interact with NHL scouts on a regular basis, Red Line Report is in a unique position to read the NHL draft-related tea leaves. They think Edmonton is open to moving this year’s first overall pick.

From Red Line’s 2012 Draft Guide:

[T]he Oilers are stacked up front on the forward lines and could really use a puck mover on the back end to trigger what should quickly become an explosive offence… The Oilers could have happily selected [Ryan] Murray, Morgan Rielly (hint, hint) or 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? So we think Edmonotn is open to shopping that top pick – though they’re somewhat limited in that they can’t hope to move down more than 2-3 spots and still nab whichever defenseman they have targeted.

While I’m unequivocal on the idea that if the Oilers retain the first overall pick they should draft Nail Yakupov, I do have some sympathy for the notion of moving down in the draft and grabbing a player that better fits organizational need.

I don’t think it’s going to happen. Steve Tambellini has been very clear that any trade involving the first overall pick is going to need to be a no-brainer – and I don’t think any of the suggested trades (most frequently Toronto bundling Luke Schenn in with the fifth overall pick, a rumour now denied by Toronto G.M. Brian Burke) are enough to get the job done.

And while some argue that the drop from first overall to fourth or fifth overall isn’t a big one, I’d argue that doesn’t reflect the realities of this year’s draft class. As Red Line (and practically every other scouting service) notes, “Yakupov is in the top tier by himself, followed by a second tier of seven or eight guys who could be placed in any order: Forsberg, Dumba, Murray, Galchenyuk, Rielly, Teravainen and Grigorenko.” In a draft with that sort of dynamic, the drop from first to second could be bigger than the drop from second to fifth.

In short: it’s going to take an overpay. Maybe that first overall pick is dear enough to some general manager that they would be willing to move heaven and earth to land it, and if so then the Oilers might be willing to drop down and grab a Murray or a Dumba or perhaps even a Grffin Reinhart.

Otherwise, they should and probably will draft Yakupov, and look to address need down the road.

Post-script: Of interest, this morning TSN's highly connected Darren Dreger said that he doesn't believe the Oilers will retain the first overall pick.  Lowetide has a piece up on that here.

This week by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#51 CJ
June 13 2012, 02:28PM
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I think you really need to put it in this perspective; would Gardiner, Schultz and Gregorienko be fair value for Yakapov? Assuming getting Gardiner means we would also end up with Schultz, I would say yes.

Getting a defenseman and a pick for #1, then drafting a defenseman, makes no sense.

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#52 Dman09
June 13 2012, 02:41PM
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CJ wrote:

I think you really need to put it in this perspective; would Gardiner, Schultz and Gregorienko be fair value for Yakapov? Assuming getting Gardiner means we would also end up with Schultz, I would say yes.

Getting a defenseman and a pick for #1, then drafting a defenseman, makes no sense.

Personally I would be much happier if Edmonton picked Yak, traded something like Belanger/Omark/Peckham/MPS/Eager plus lower picks to get Gardiner. Use something like Gagner/Hemksy and the second rounder to try and move up to pick either Galchenyuk or Gregorienko. Then if they could sign Schultz on top of that, man I would be surprised if they didn't make the playoffs. Thats my dream but it would never happen not with Tambo being the one having to pull the trigger.

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#53 WhattaMike
June 13 2012, 02:44PM
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IMO, I agree that just Gardiner and fifth for the Oil's 1st overall is not enough and that's why Burke would have to add another young player like a Joe Colborne and/or a high 2nd round pick to boot.

Same with Montreal on Subban, and prospect Nathan Beaulieu,plus the 3rd overall.

However, I believe the Oil can get Yakupov at #1 and still have superb strength with trading for 2nd, 3rd and/or 4th overall on the basis of using their #32 pick, trading prospects (one of either Marancin or Gernat, Musil, Pitlick, etc)and players such as Omark, Lander, Hemsky or Gagner, etc.

If the Oil could get Yakupov and either Murray Reilly or Dumba too (with trading)and then get Schultz somehow and another top four/five defensive defenceman, we could be very well a mid playoff team if all went well next year.

We do have very good defence prospects such as Fedun, Teubert, Marancin, Davidson, Gernat, Musil etc.

The Oil do have to make changes with Eager (trade), Barker (gone), Belanger (trade) anmd remove Khabby's last year to take another goalie to help out like say Danis or Harding.

We have guys like Hunter Tremblay, Hartikainen and others who are big enough and strong enough for the 2nd to fourth lines next year.

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#54 vetinari
June 13 2012, 02:55PM
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It will take a huge overpay to pry Yakupov away from the Oilers. The Oilers always have the option of taking Yakupov and then swinging a deal for him after the draft or on the second day.

Nowhere is it written that the trade has to come before the draft; the Oilers can see who lands the defenceman that they want and try to swing a deal with that team once you know what else they can offer as part of a package.

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#55 moreses
June 13 2012, 02:59PM
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Im of the opinion that trading the first overall pick is something you only do if the offer blows you away. I think people are underestimating the impact yakupov could eventually have in the NHL. His rookie season in the OHL was monsterous. Now to compare crosby to yakupov would be ridiculous on many levels, but at 17, crosby put up 54 goals in 59 games, yakupov put up 49 in 65. My point is, is that goal production - not total point production - in junior at 17 is a very impressive thing. There is reason why this kid is the overall number one consensus with many scouts. Although he might not be the number one overall center in the NHL, he has as much ability to be a franchise player as Hall, nuge, stamkos or kovalchuck. Point is, you don't trade the first overall pick for anyone. You trade him if your blown away. Sorry Jon, Phaneuf and 5th doesn't do it. Franchises move mountains for players that are garunteed 7 years of service, 3 of which are at a discount, that could score 50 goals. IMO, don't trade this guy for anything short of a number 1 center or a number 1 d man from a very good team signed to a long term contract.

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#56 Pouzar99
June 13 2012, 03:00PM
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Sigh. Scotty Bowman, who may know a bit more about the game than anyone on this board, said a long time ago that the team that gets the best player wins the deal. That would be Yakupov unless some GM has lost his mind.

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#57 moreses
June 13 2012, 03:04PM
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adding to my point, I Dont care what the Oil think they need for next season. You don't trade number one overall. This kid has the potential to be better than Hall or RNH. If i trade a player like that its only for a franchise player at the moment, not for potential like Gardiner and a 5th. There are maybe 30 players in all the NHL i would trade Yakupov for and in a few years time Yakupov could be more valuable than half of them. Gardiner, Schenn and the 5th combined wouldnt do it. I am sorry.

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#58 Dman09
June 13 2012, 03:10PM
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moreses wrote:

adding to my point, I Dont care what the Oil think they need for next season. You don't trade number one overall. This kid has the potential to be better than Hall or RNH. If i trade a player like that its only for a franchise player at the moment, not for potential like Gardiner and a 5th. There are maybe 30 players in all the NHL i would trade Yakupov for and in a few years time Yakupov could be more valuable than half of them. Gardiner, Schenn and the 5th combined wouldnt do it. I am sorry.

For a team that lacks physical play in the top 6 I just can't see anything being good enough to trade away the Yak. I think Gardiner can be had for other players and picks so I wouldn't waste it.

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#59 Factotum
June 13 2012, 03:42PM
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In addition to everything else, Yakupov feels like a very nice health insurance policy for Taylor Hall. Have you ever noticed that it doesn't rain when you take an umbrella with you?

I have a bad feeling that just won't go away: if the Oilers trade out of #1 and don't take Yakupov, then something bad is bound to happen to Hall - and they'll end up with neither one of them. We are talking about the Oilers, after all, who seem like they're still paying off some of Pocklington's karma.

Sometimes the obvious thing to do is also the smartest. I see lots of danger in trying to be too clever.

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#60 WhattaMike
June 13 2012, 03:45PM
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I completely agree with the many out there against JW or even Redline for suggesting that the Leafs trade Gardiner and the fifth choice for 1st overall is not a good deal or worth losingpicking 1st with Yakupov.

There's that saying called Ante Up!!!.

The Leafs would have to trade Gardiner, the fifth pick and then add another such as McKegg or Colborne and another choice pick to the proposed type deal.

In another scenario, we (oilers)don't need Phaneuf or Schenn due to that we have enough type Phaneuf/Schenn player prospects already with Klefbom, Musil, Davidson, Marancin, Gernat, Teubert, Fedun, etc.

The same with Montreal. Subban and the 3rd overall alone is not enough. Nathan Beaulieu should be added along with another high type pick.

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#61 Jasmine
June 13 2012, 03:47PM
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@WhattaMike

No they don't. The Kings needed to win the SC cup last season for that to happen.

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#62 WhattaMike
June 13 2012, 04:02PM
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@Jasmine.

I agree we need big size gritty players like the Kings have, but it is not worth down trading and lose Yakupov.

I do like Galchenyuk very much as a second line centre behind the Nuge and we can get him or Murray for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th by making trades of players and other prospects and picks to get those type players, along with having Yakupov picked at #1 already.

We have a lot of trading power to make deals.

Players we need like Clutterbuck, Konopka, Neil, etc, can be traded for or with free agency deals.

Penner and Stoll, alone from the Kings, are UFA's this year and we can try easily enough to get them back here without trading.Then ya trade Eager and Belanger if those two came back. The Oil do have great capspace this year so far already available.

Defencemen such as a Gardiner or a Schenn or even a Garrison, etc,can be traded for and/or gotten too for less, eithewr a little or alot, pending the packages involved.

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Staal and Letang would be a trade I'd take for the first overall pick. Anything less would be too big of a gamble. Keep the pick!

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#64 Bucknuck
June 13 2012, 08:57PM
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I would think the Oil will try to trade up from their 2nd pick, not the other way around. Just because the Oil have a bona fide first line doesn't mena they won't love having a bona fide second line too!

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#65 Oilers4ever
June 13 2012, 09:18PM
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I did't see anything on the link with Dreger making any mention of trading down.. Am I missing something with the link cuz there was nothing there from him.

Either way... take the best player available and trade for a dman if you need one.

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#66 knobby
June 14 2012, 12:14AM
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How many times have we heard or read scouts, coaches and GM's say.' whoever gets the best player wins the trade'. There is no way Brian Burke or any other 'me-monster' GM can offer a swap of picks and a lesser player and sell it to anyone who has half a clue for someone lower in the draft.

Do you want to listen to the Toronto based media chortling for the next 10 years how Lowe and Tambellini took an inconsistent D man and gave up Yakupov? Doesn't this organizaton have enough egg on its face? Take Yakupov and get your D from trade or free-agency.

I do think this whole process is being over-thought and over-analyzed to sell adverts on this and other media venues.

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#67 Lochenzo
June 14 2012, 03:17PM
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I noticed that scouts are all over the map in terms of who should be picked 2nd through 15th. This scenario reminds me of the 2007 draft when scouts were all over the map in terms of who should go 1st through 5th. Patrick Kane went 1st, the Yotes grabbed Kyle Turris, Kings grabbed Thomas Hickey, Oil got Sam Gagner, CBJ got Voracek. Some good players here. Sam Gagner has been good, as well as Voracek and the Hawks got it right with Patrick Kane. Picking from 2nd to 15th, you're dealing with the probability of adding a good player but also the risk of picking somebody that becomes nothing.

The consensus of the 1st overall pick, Yakupov, indicates that there is not only less perceived risk with this player, but also the belief he's a player that will be better than just good. Tambi has it right. If somebody wants Yakupov, it better be one hell of an offer.

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