“We’re not really in a position where we can trade assets for draft choices right now”

Jonathan Willis
June 18 2014 10:56AM

Craig MAcTavish5

Craig MacTavish continued his rounds of the local media on Tuesday with an appearance on Oilers Now. In a wide ranging interview with host Bob Stauffer, MacTavish covered a lot of ground, but particularly interesting was his pragmatic view of what Edmonton needs to do at this year’s draft.

Recouping Draft Choices

30-Scrivens-9

The Oilers presently have no selections in the second or third rounds, which has led to speculation that the team might attempt to add picks in that range, perhaps in a deal that would see Sam Gagner leave Edmonton. MacTavish did his best to quash that speculation with his answer on that subject:

We’re not really in a position where we can trade assets for draft choices right now. We’re really on the other side of that. That’s why we don’t have a second, we don’t have a third; we traded those for immediate help, staffing our team now. I felt that at the trade deadline, with some of the players that we had, that we should have been able to bring in a second round draft choice, certainly for Ales Hemsky; we weren’t able to do that. I think there are teams that regret not paying that price the way that Ales played when he went to Ottawa...it’s unlikely that we’ll have a pick in the second or third round at this point. I haven’t had anything proposed to me that would lead me away from that.

That seems obvious and sensible, but “obvious and sensible” hasn’t always been the order of the day for the Oilers, and there’s a reasonable argument that whenever practical a team should be stocking up the organizational cupboard every year.

Unfortunately for the Oilers, that isn’t practical. They needed David Perron more than a second round pick; they needed Ben Scrivens more than a third round pick.

The situation hasn’t changed. Edmonton needs immediate help, and can’t afford to move the assets that would bring back those picks off the roster right now. The team has a finite amount of assets, and can’t afford to run around chasing tertiary needs when primary (on defence) and secondary (at forward) slots still need to be filled.

The No. 3 Pick

Stauffer also asked MacTavish whether he’d been in talks regarding the Oilers’ third overall selection:

Oh yeah, absolutely. I’ve had some fairly intriguing conversations at this point, both to go forward and to go back. At this point there’s nothing imminent. The pick is a highly sought-after asset on the open market, that’s for sure. Teams are trying to determine what the value is, what their situation is, what they’re willing to commit to that, as we are.

The “nothing imminent” line makes this mostly a “no news” statement, but the one interesting thing here is that the Oilers are keeping an open mind about both moving forward and moving back. There are those who (perhaps scarred by the 2003 debacle) are adamant that moving down never makes sense, but that kind of inflexibility isn’t a very desirable quality in a general manager. In that sense it’s good that the Oilers are open to perhaps sliding down in the draft if they can find a deal that makes sense for the team.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 RyanCoke
June 18 2014, 11:58AM
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Yakupov for #1 overall straight across, throw in gagner if need be. Draft Ekblad and Leon and trade for a solid RW or sign Hemsky

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#2 Fresh Mess
June 18 2014, 12:17PM
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RyanCoke wrote:

Yakupov for #1 overall straight across, throw in gagner if need be. Draft Ekblad and Leon and trade for a solid RW or sign Hemsky

Unless Florida suddenly hires Milbury as GM before the draft, no one is going to make that trade for bust-Yakupov.

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#3 RexHolez
June 18 2014, 12:10PM
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Everyone seems to want Draisitl. Hope they like him the same amount in 3-5 years if both Reinhardt and Bennet become the superior players (as projected)

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#4 A-Mc
June 18 2014, 11:56AM
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i'm soooo nervous that Ekblad and Draisaitl are going 1/2 overall. My body can't take this stress! I'm losing hair by the day.

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#5 Danger Pay
June 18 2014, 11:58AM
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In Mac T I Trust!

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#6 Kenta
June 18 2014, 12:34PM
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Czar wrote:

Perron and Scrivens are far superior to anything they would have gotten with the picks. If he can trade 2nd and 3rd round picks for actual NHL players I'm in favor of that every time!

Darryl Sutter did it for years in Calgary with disastrous results. Keep those second round picks!

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#7 Jeffff
June 18 2014, 11:47AM
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1. Ekblad

2. Reinhart

3. Draisaitl

4. Bennett

5. Dal Colle

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#8 Jason Gregor
June 18 2014, 11:56AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Parise is great, but this team really needed Pouliot's size.

Misleading to think Oilers drafted Pouliot for size. Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, Brent Burns were all available when they traded down.

They made a horrible pick, but suggesting it was based solely on size is wrong. They made a bad evaluation of a player, and it wasn't because he was bigger than Parise.

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#9 Scrivy
June 18 2014, 01:16PM
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I think that Bennett is the consensus better player than Draisaitl. However, I guess you have to trust your scouts, if they think Draisaitl is better, and not just bigger, then take him.

But everyone in the entire world thinks Bennett is better than Draisaitl.

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#10 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
June 18 2014, 12:04PM
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How is it that after suffering through this many years of terrible hockey the Oilers' cupboard of assests is so shockingly bare?

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#11 backup bob
June 18 2014, 11:19AM
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I enjoy this time of year. The draft is coming, free agency, compliance buyouts, possible trades. There is a lot going on.

I watched so many playoff games, I'm going through withdrawal. Fifa is not doing it for me.

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#12 Czar
June 18 2014, 12:10PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

"You can have Ben Scrivens... or a 1-in-5 chance of maybe having Ben Scrivens five years from now if you develop him properly."

With the Oilers development history I'd say the odds are 1-in-100

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#13 hags9k
June 18 2014, 04:16PM
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I have an uneasy feeling about Draisaitl. The Oil needs heart and guts and character as much as they need a little more size. I think I still want Bennett.

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#14 Larry
June 18 2014, 11:26AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I think it's just a reflection of the fact that the public consensus has Draisaitl as the third-best of the top-three centres.

The public consensus may not be right on that, of course, but that seems to be the view.

Also if you look at the respectable mock draft ranking organizations , none of them have Leon D in the top 3. Also I doubt Bob McKenzie will have Leon in the top 3 more like #4 or #5

http://www.mynhldraft.com/2014-nhl-draft-prospect-rankings/

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#15 DrDave
June 18 2014, 11:40AM
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Just because Leon isn't rated top 3 doesn't mean he isn't the right pick for the Oil at 3...

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#17 hallsyoilerforever5
June 18 2014, 11:03AM
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My guess the oilers will draft Draisaitl ; assuming Ekblad goes 1-2. The oilers will be drafting a good player, regardless that will either address their weakness in C or D.

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#18 Geoff
June 18 2014, 11:19AM
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He Who Knows wrote:

JW, what makes people think Leon will slide past the Sabres? Big centres with skill don't grow on trees, but yet everybody thinks Bennet or Reinhart will go before the big German.

Yea I think it would REALLY suck if both Drais and Ekblad went 1/2 lol. Bennett is great but we need the size :(

Sabres need the scoring though which Rienhart/Bennett will probably be better at.

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#19 Jason Gregor
June 18 2014, 12:59PM
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@j

That is Prendergast trying to explain his picks. Horrible decision and one of the reasons he was canned a few years later.

When they made trade they didn't know Pouliot or Jacques would be available. Plus if they really wanted to get bigger, Kesler and Perry were still available, not to mention Richards who was 100x more physical than Pouliot.

Willis is bang on that that pick screwed over the organization for years...and while the Oilers did need size, Pouliot was not the guy to pick. Nine 11 years later that pick still irks me.

What is worse is that in 2009 Tambellini picked Pouliot over Brodziak...F me, those were dumb decisions...

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#20 Murray
June 18 2014, 01:41PM
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Scrivy wrote:

I think that Bennett is the consensus better player than Draisaitl. However, I guess you have to trust your scouts, if they think Draisaitl is better, and not just bigger, then take him.

But everyone in the entire world thinks Bennett is better than Draisaitl.

Everyone in Ontario thinks Bennett is better than Draisaitl.

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#21 Blucifer Copperballs
June 18 2014, 01:47PM
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Strange Tamer wrote:

It's refreshing to hear an Oiler GM talk about fielding a team of actual NHL players. Of course it will be a moot point unless the pro scouting staff finally pulls their heads out of their asses.

Agreed. Kudos to MacT for not giving some generic " we'll have to wait and see what is out there, and evaluate our options" type answer.

Shows he understands where the team is, and makes me believe he has a handle on direction that will allow him not to relay so much on scouts, and have his own input, unlike the talking head that had his job previously.

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#22 Zarny
June 18 2014, 01:54PM
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RexHolez wrote:

Everyone seems to want Draisitl. Hope they like him the same amount in 3-5 years if both Reinhardt and Bennet become the superior players (as projected)

Yep, and Benoit Pouliot, Gilbert Brule & Devin Setoguchi were all projected to become superior players to Anze Kopitar.

The scouting reports indicate there is virtually no skill gap between Reinhart, Bennett and Draisaitl.

Reinhart and Bennett get the nod in the rankings because of their "hockey IQ" and "heart". What could possibly go wrong with that projection?

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#23 Jeffff
June 18 2014, 02:52PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I think we're on the same page here; I was just responding to the idea that the Oilers should automatically take Draisaitl over Bennett/Reinhart because size.

Nixing Bennett because he's 6'/178 or Reinhart for being 6'1"/185 just isn't something I can get behind.

If Draisaitl's honestly the best of the three in the minds of the scouts, absolutely take him. Just make sure you're grabbing the guy you think will be the best player.

And if all 3 centres are equal in the minds of the Oilers you take size.

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#24 He Who Knows
June 18 2014, 11:07AM
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JW, what makes people think Leon will slide past the Sabres? Big centres with skill don't grow on trees, but yet everybody thinks Bennet or Reinhart will go before the big German.

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#25 Czar
June 18 2014, 11:24AM
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Perron and Scrivens are far superior to anything they would have gotten with the picks. If he can trade 2nd and 3rd round picks for actual NHL players I'm in favor of that every time!

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#26 Rand
June 18 2014, 12:09PM
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A-Mc wrote:

i'm soooo nervous that Ekblad and Draisaitl are going 1/2 overall. My body can't take this stress! I'm losing hair by the day.

You and I and most people here only know what we read and we form an opinion about the player based on the author's writing talents.

Like most we don't have a clue, we never see the players live and we are not scouts.

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#27 j
June 18 2014, 12:14PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Misleading to think Oilers drafted Pouliot for size. Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, Brent Burns were all available when they traded down.

They made a horrible pick, but suggesting it was based solely on size is wrong. They made a bad evaluation of a player, and it wasn't because he was bigger than Parise.

Except for this, you would be correct: “It was under the old rules and we’d scouted Parise every game from February on. All the clutching and grabbing wore him out. He couldn’t play in the [NCAA] playoffs,” Prendergast told Matheson. “As an organization we had to get bigger. We liked Pouliot, and we really liked [Jean-Francois] Jacques a lot and got him in the second round.

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#28 madjam
June 18 2014, 12:18PM
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I don't think it helped letting other teams know who we were drafting to begin with at number 3- Draisaitl. Some tire kicking but obviously nothing of significance . I suspect it will remain that way as far as draft goes , seeing as the player they want should readily be available to them . Why move up unless Ekblad is much better than the others ? Think it and live with it speech - status quo . No need to beat around the bush .

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#29 RexHolez
June 18 2014, 12:37PM
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@HardBoiledOil

If Chicago picked backstrom instead of Toews do you think it would've been a big deal?

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#30 Jason Gregor
June 18 2014, 01:03PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:
It was under the old rules and we’d scouted Parise every game from February on. All the clutching and grabbing wore him out. He couldn’t play in the [NCAA] playoffs. As an organization we had to get bigger. We liked Pouliot, and we really liked [Jean-Francois] Jacques a lot and got him in the second round. It looked good at the time. If we could do it over, we’d do it over, but we can’t.

That's Kevin Prendergast, explaining the selection of Pouliot over Parise to Jim Matheson. My emphasis.

Sure, the selection of Pouliot wasn't solely about size - the Oilers made a bad judgment call on which of the big forwards they should take, and it could be argued got burned by injuries too. But the decision to pass on Parise sure sounds like it was a choice made because he was 5'11".

Still shows they had no clue how to evaluate. If they were worried about Parise's size, fine, it was still wrong to think that, but then at least draft a guy with size who could play.

Being worried about Parise didn't explain why they couldn't have taken Getzlaf or the other skilled big guys at #17.

That is what I was getting at. It wasn't just not wanting size, it was not having the ability to assess which player with size could play.

Pouliot was such a bad pick it is laughable...ugh..

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#31 Strange Tamer
June 18 2014, 01:32PM
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It's refreshing to hear an Oiler GM talk about fielding a team of actual NHL players. Of course it will be a moot point unless the pro scouting staff finally pulls their heads out of their asses.

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#32 Zarny
June 18 2014, 02:28PM
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It's the right message from MacT. The Oilers certainly don't need another 18 y/o in the dressing room anytime soon.

And given that scouts consider 2014 to be a mediocre class at best it's probably the right year to be short a few picks.

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#34 RomZ
June 18 2014, 11:05AM
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From an organizational standpoint, I think it makes more sense to take a center. However passing up Ekblad will be extremely difficult if he falls to 3.

Should be an interesting off season.

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#37 HardBoiledOil
June 18 2014, 11:58AM
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^@Jason....though Pouliot was certainly faster than Parise, which at the time was a concern the Oilers apparently had with him.

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#38 freelancer
June 18 2014, 11:59AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Misleading to think Oilers drafted Pouliot for size. Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, Brent Burns were all available when they traded down.

They made a horrible pick, but suggesting it was based solely on size is wrong. They made a bad evaluation of a player, and it wasn't because he was bigger than Parise.

Seeing all those names, makes the horrible horrible memories come back.

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#39 The Last Big Bear
June 18 2014, 12:05PM
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Czar wrote:

Perron and Scrivens are far superior to anything they would have gotten with the picks. If he can trade 2nd and 3rd round picks for actual NHL players I'm in favor of that every time!

This.

"A boat's a boat, but the mystery box could be anything! It could even be a boat! "

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#40 The Last Big Bear
June 18 2014, 12:05PM
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Czar wrote:

Perron and Scrivens are far superior to anything they would have gotten with the picks. If he can trade 2nd and 3rd round picks for actual NHL players I'm in favor of that every time!

Double Post!

This means I get extra prizes, no?

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#41 BLAKPOO
June 18 2014, 12:20PM
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There's a lot of similarities between this current draft and the '06 draft.

The top 4 picks were 3 skilled centers - Toews, Staal and Backstrom.. and a highly touted Dman - Erik Johnson.

We all know how that #1 pick turned out for the Blues.

While Ekblad may be seen as a lock for #1, no one wants to "pull a Davidson" and pass up a potential star center for a late blooming Dman.

I'm thinking the Panthers take Reinhart #1.

The real conundrum is if our #3 is between Ekblad and Draisaitl, which is the better choice?

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#43 oilers2k10
June 18 2014, 03:26PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

"You can have Ben Scrivens... or a 1-in-5 chance of maybe having Ben Scrivens five years from now if you develop him properly."

More like one in a 1000 if u include that 59 save massacre..

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#44 ubermiguel
June 18 2014, 04:57PM
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Zarny wrote:

Yep, and Benoit Pouliot, Gilbert Brule & Devin Setoguchi were all projected to become superior players to Anze Kopitar.

The scouting reports indicate there is virtually no skill gap between Reinhart, Bennett and Draisaitl.

Reinhart and Bennett get the nod in the rankings because of their "hockey IQ" and "heart". What could possibly go wrong with that projection?

"Hockey IQ" and "heart" are lacking quite a bit in this organization. I'll take that over a few pounds and couple of inches on Draisitl. And like Willis points out, we aren't talking 5'10" guys here.

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#45 Spydyr
June 18 2014, 05:44PM
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If push comes to shove I would pick the size of the fight in the dog over the size of the dog in the fight.As long as it is not a lap dog against a pitbull.

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#46 Harry
June 18 2014, 06:04PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I think we're on the same page here; I was just responding to the idea that the Oilers should automatically take Draisaitl over Bennett/Reinhart because size.

Nixing Bennett because he's 6'/178 or Reinhart for being 6'1"/185 just isn't something I can get behind.

If Draisaitl's honestly the best of the three in the minds of the scouts, absolutely take him. Just make sure you're grabbing the guy you think will be the best player.

Dont you think at some point the Oilers need to draft based on need and not best player available?

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#47 YakCity1024
June 18 2014, 06:08PM
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If anything, the Oilers should re-coup those 2nd and 3rd rounders for next year, a much deeper and better prospect pool.

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#48 camdog
June 19 2014, 08:58AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

"You can have Ben Scrivens... or a 1-in-5 chance of maybe having Ben Scrivens five years from now if you develop him properly."

With other teams it's been the normal for 1-5 chance with success, problem with the Oilers is it's usually a 1 in 10 chance of getting a Scrivens with that pick.

Other teams turn 2nd and third round picks into star players, that doesn't happen in Edmonton so we might as well trade all of our picks except the 1st overall, hard to screw them up, especially when they are top 5.

Now that 3rd in the rich 2015 draft for a goalie whom was 4th in the charts in Anaheim, now those kind of trades eventually hurt an organisation.

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#49 HardBoiledOil
June 18 2014, 11:52AM
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Larry wrote:

Also if you look at the respectable mock draft ranking organizations , none of them have Leon D in the top 3. Also I doubt Bob McKenzie will have Leon in the top 3 more like #4 or #5

http://www.mynhldraft.com/2014-nhl-draft-prospect-rankings/

if there was a big discrepancy with Draisaitl being pick at #3 when the consensus was that he was ranked say #7, then i think that's a big deal, but one or two slots down i think is nit picking. i would think it wouldn't be the first time a player moved up a slot or two in the high first.

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