ST Looking for A Good Home for #1 Overall

The big news for Edmonton Oiler fans this week (aside from the Brule-Bono story having more sustain than the Stanley run of 2006) is that General Manager Steve Tambellini is listening to offers for the #1 overall pick. Is he serious?

Let me preface this by saying that I’m 99% certain that Jason Gregor’s recent article on the subject is spot on. When Jason says "In the past month Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has become the consensus first overall pick. He is number one on every mock draft that I’ve seen, (if there is a reputable one that doesn’t have him first please let me know) so I don’t see why Tambellini would trade him" that makes sense to me and I’m sure all Oiler fans. As recently as late last night–early this morning, Redline Report’s final rankings confirm RNH as their number one overall.

However, what if one team–one solitary team looking to make a splash–made a tremendous offer, Steve Tambellini would have to look at it. Right? Is there a team such as this? I count two.


I think the offer would need to solve two of the Oilers problems with a strong solution. Something so good that Steve Tambellini can feel he’s addressed two needs by dealing one selection. Not a "#1 plus #19 plus #31 for "#2 and #11" solution, but rather the first overall pick for another pick high enough to secure a top flight position player and either another high pick or quality player/prospect.


The Winnipeg franchise arrives in Guess Who-ville with a solid young team capable of having strong seasons in the not too distant future. They have a couple of areas of need that could work out well for Edmonton:

  • A need to put a face on the franchise. The Winnipeg team has all kinds of talent and a true young star in Evander Kane, but fans could get behind a splash at the draft and could adopt the first true Winnipeg roster player as their own.
  • An extreme weakness at center, as described by Gabriel Desjardins in his look at the Winnipeg HC.

If the Oilers and Winnipeg start talking, is there a framework of a deal? Perhaps the number one overall pick and a pick/solid prospect for the number seven overall pick and defenseman Zach Bogosian? Remember, even if the top of the draft goes according to Hoyle, there will be an exceptional talent at number 7 overall.

Does that hold value? Say Sean Couturier or Ryan Strome or Dougie Hamilton plus Bogosian for number one overall and a lesser asset? I think it’s worth thinking about.

The second trade has been discussed pretty much everywhere. The Jackets have the number 8 selection and are apparently looking to make a splash and make the playoffs before the end of next century. Is a high pick for Hemsky enough? It is if #83 isn’t going to sign here a year from now. Is Hemsky healthy enough to risk a high pick on? Likely not, but desperate times call for desperate measures and Howson would know Hemmer pretty well.

The same group of players (minus one) would be available at number 8, so the Oilers could walk out of the top 10 with RNH and perhaps Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Murphy or Mika Zibanejad.

Nation Radio is on again today (12 noon local time) on Team 1260 radio. Guests scheduled to appear:

  • AJ Haefele from Mile High Hockey will discuss the Avs at the draft. We’ll attempt to get #2 and #11 from him in exchange for #1 and #19 and a promise to select Tyler Arnason first overall. We’ll also give him supreme heck for changing his web nick to AJ Haefele from the classic "SlamDunkthe Funk."
  • Kent Simpson, Edmonton Oil Kings commentator. We’ll talk about the draft, what people who spend their winters in hockey rinks do in the summer and I’ll ask him about the SCF.
  • Cam Moon, Red Deer Rebels play by play man and a legendary WHL figure. We’ll talk Memorial Cup, the draft, I’ll ask him probing questions about the RNH EV/PP and Goals/Assists controversy and find out if he’s lazier than Kent Simpson in the summertime (one imagines it’s neck and neck).
  • Kirk Luedeke is quickly becoming our draft guru at Nation Radio. Buddy knows his stuff, and came back from the combine with some juicy rumors about trade activity at the draft. We’ll put him under a dim bulb, give him a rickety chair and mock the Bruins until he spills the beans.

Plus I’ll pass along my updated top 30 for the 2011 draft and we’ll read some of your top 10’s that have been flooding in for our first Nation Radio contest. You still have time to enter by sending your top 10 prediction for the 2011 draft to and I can say it’s been fun reading through about 100 entries so far. I grew up thinking I was the only draft nerd on the planet, turns out I was born 30 years too soon. Dammit!

We’re also on twitter @ItsNationRadio and you can catch the show on the Al Gore here.

  • Hemmertime

    Trading Hemsky for a pick would get Tambo fired, not immediately, but at the end of next season when we’re in the bottom of the standings again and they traded our most productive player.

    3 Bottom finishes is not something Oiler fans will stand idly by for.

    • Chris.

      With Hemskey in the line up where did we finnish? where do you see us finishing again with hemskey in the line up? We are a last place team again this year with the risk of losing said player at the end of it.

        • Chris.

          I said I like him but does that not tell you about a depreciating asset that may not sign here.
          Nobody’s going to convince me that trading Hemsky for a high end 1st round pick is a bad idea.

          • justDOit

            I love watching the things that Hemsky can do – he’s an amazing player.

            BUT, he’s also a very one-dimensional player, a player who goes fearlessly into extremely dangerous areas, and gets hurt a lot because of that. If you tell him not to go into those areas, then he’s a zero-dimensional player.

            I would doubt very much that any team would offer a high first-round pick for Hemmers. Too many risks, not enough reward. And then there’s the Isles…

            Edit: So yes, I would be in favor of a high 1st rounder for Hemsky. It fits with the team’s ‘plan’, and gives us a decent return on a player who is not getting any younger or healthier.

          • CanaDave

            Can you foresee a Hemsky + for the pick? Insert anyone you think would be enough for the pick.
            Gilbert-Omark-Smid-Cogliano? maybe an overpayment. Chorney- Plante-VV or the 18th?

          • justDOit

            If we have to pile on more assets for that pick, then I don’t see it being worthwhile.

            Hemmer’s a great player when healthy, and better than any pick this year (until they develop, but the future me worries about his injury problems.

            Pessimistic me believes he’s not worth a high 1st round pick in the eyes of other GMs, so that pretty much says that we keep him – barring a socks-knocking offer. Say, Niederreiter for Hemmer and Cogs? Hmmmmmm.

            And just the thought of trading MPS takes me back to ’88. Watchootalkinbout?

          • Yeah. Lets trade a decent first-line NHL’er for somebody who might, MIGHT be a decent first-line NHL’er. Some day. Maybe. Possibly.

            And Colten Teubert is a lock to be a first-pairing D-man, right?

          • Wax Man Riley

            How many games has he played in the last 3 years?

            Yeah, lets extend him at 5.0 to 5.5 million a year (that’s conservative) so he might be able to play 40 games a year! seriously get a grip1

          • John Chambers

            At the risk of loosing Hemsky for nothing, yes! Hell yes!
            Why would you not make that trade? A quality 2nd line center is exactly what I’m proposing! You sign Hemsky to 5.0 per at roughly 40 games as apposed to Gagner who will play you about 75 to 82 games per at half the cost at – 10 to 15 points. Really? got to use a better argument then that to sway me my friend.

          • – You don’t know Hemsky’s intent. I’m pretty sure Steve Tambellini does and he’s about the only one.

            – Hemsky may not be worth as much as you think. Even he would have to admit his injury-prone nature is deflating his value on the open market. Maybe he gets 3 years at $3.5/per.

            – You’ve got a year to make the decision. Let’s not Penner™ this one too – i.e. magic beans for a quality (ahem) player.

            All this is irrelevant anyways. It’s my feeling that Hemsky falls out of the core age group the Oilers are looking to build on. Odds are he gets dusted this summer for more whim and hope and you’ll get what you want – another season of juniors and AHL’ers struggling to get 30 wins. Yay.

          • paul wodehouse

            @ David S

            I agree with everything you said there with the exception of Hemsky signing for a reduced rate, maybe on the open market, but he will demand more from the Oilers. So like i have been saying try and swing a deal that can bring us closer to that top 8 or closer.

            As for Penner……From what I seen the last 2 months of the season, i’m thinking we came ahead.

          • paul wodehouse

            I agree. Seems like an overpay based on recent performance. Its time. The writing is on the wall. A Gilbert-Hemsky trade to Columbus would benefit both teams and the players involved. Hemsky if he serious about playing here in Edmonton can sign here after a year. He is a UFA after this season. I just don’t see where the Oilers have him in thier longterm plans? Anyone? Second line winger at 5 million per season. I think not.

  • Chris.

    Hemsky for Couturier sure sounds better than Hemsky for Zibanejad. I want to KNOW whose on the board at 8th before I deal away roster players. If for some reason someone really good falls then I make a deal.

  • justDOit

    I like Hemsky, I really do, but he’s a depreciating asset that’s worth a lot on the open market and even more to a team like the Blue Jackets. If that player can yield a high return such as a high end 1st round pick you take it!

  • a lg dubl dubl

    So wheres all this tasty Kool-aid everybody is drinkin that thinks the Oilers should trade MPS, why not trade Eberle or Hall while your at it…i mean we do have the “depth” you guys think the Oilers have at forward.

    IMO the untouchables are Hall,Eberle,MPS,Dubnyk,Hemsky,Omark,Peckham,and Gagner

    Hemsky wants to stay here and when healthy he’s pretty darn good and one of the leaders on the team and if he does get hurt again then a guy like Hartikanin can play more mins while a call up from OKC(VV,Hamilton,or Omarra) can fill in at Hartikanin’s spot on the 3/4 line

    Depth to me is having the players in the farm system to fill the void when needed not trading away a pretty good player to fill a hole in another you just create another hole the team needs to fill.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I agree on most of that except the ability to sign Hemsky. If he does not sign before the draft then he depreciates as an asset through the season. Are we going to get a player equal to or better in the draft? doubt it, unless you get into the top 5 which having another high pick can get you. P.S Gagner is open to trade as well and what makes Omark untouchable? I wouldn’t necessarily trade him, but if your a GM and his name come’s up your listening.

    • Action Jackson

      I hope you are right that we get to keep all of those guys and also build up to a playoff team, but I don’t think we can. We will likely need to trade for a young defenceman at some point as we have a lot of broken parts back there that need replacing. In order to acquire a d-man we need to give something up and if we want to leave Stu with all his picks that means paying with a roster player.

      In order to understand what I mean when I say depth upfront just look at your list of untouchable players. It is dominated by forwards and there is only one defenseman on it, Peckham, who is likely a 5-6 guy. We need more D!

      • a lg dubl dubl

        I do agree that the Oilers DO need more solid defencemen but I just can’t see the point of trading a forward for a d-man, now if your talkin trading a dman, Gilbert,or Plante, and sad to say even Smid + a draft pick (any pick but 1st round) to get a guy like Bogosian or whatever dman Dithers wants then so be it.

        I guess the point im tryin to make is it just doesnt make sense to deplete the forward position to get depth at defence, trade a forward get a forward back same goes for defence, the Oilers have to maintain what little depth they do have til FAs want to play here again.

  • Chris.

    Not sure if anyone saw Gregor’s list of the past #6 overall picks, but it wasn’t good. Nothing much even close to Hemsky good.
    I say, a bird in the hand that we can re-sign is worth 4 in the draft bush.
    Re-sign 83.

  • Wax Man Riley

    What about this for a deal….

    Florida’s #3 and Gubranson (who is apparently not on great terms with Florida)

    For a couple options……..

    Hemsky, our 19th and 31st overall
    Gagner/Omark,Gilbert, and our 19th overall

    That would allow us to pick RNH 1st and then with the #3 we could go two ways.

    Another big center like Courtier to add some size and skill down the middle or Landeskog because i still think he adds so much grit and heart regardless if we are heavy on LW.
    or take Larson if Colorado takes Landeskog who needs a winger.

    Imagine having either RNH/Coutier as our future #1 and #2 centers or having the option of Larsson and Gubrandson or our top D pairing eventually.

    If im Tambellini id move anyone to make that deal aside from the obvious untouchables (Hall, Eberle, and maybe Magnus)

    That allows us to address the two key issues in one deal and then focus on the “fillers” moving forward.

    If Florida is willing to move that #3 that would be our best move….plus we are shipping our players to an opposing conference.

  • Chris.

    I agree that you trade players on draft day. The pressure is on. Gms are more pliable on draft day. This must be Tambos day. He has picks and players and prospects that other teams covet.Gilbert,Hemsky,Gagne and prospects like Hamilton and Tuebert. If I am tambo I pick RNH and then start looking at the offers at about pick 6. This way you know who is still on the board that you might want. Colorado,Florida and NJ are not going to deal thier picks. Neither is a team like the Islanders who are in it for the long haul. But as we get further down into the draft we encounter Ottawa,Winnipeg and Columbus. Teams who might want to play Lets make a deal. It all depends on who is more desparate. Them or us.My wet dream is that the Oilers somehow come out of the first round with RNH and Coutier.I am dreaming but man would that be sweet. 1-2 down the middle with Lander at 3 and whoever at 4.Good luck to us.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Just as a little background information.

    A few years ago both Mike Camillari and Alex Tanguay were traded with one year left on their contracts…. most importantly both were healthy.

    Both fetched late 1st round picks.

    Lets not get too excited about getting a top 10 pick for Hemsky without including something significant.

  • Rogue

    DO NOT TRADE RNH! Sorry, did not mean to shout.

    Do NOT TRADE MPV. Not sorry, I did mean to shout. We talk about size for wingers. Well give this kid a couple more seasons and I believe you will see, at the very least, a poor mans Forsberg.

    Hemsky tears me. Love the skill, but hate the injuries. We need the skill and leadership. But there is none of this available when he is out of the lineup. Therefore, if they get an offer that knocks their socks off, I think they should move him.

    *But it better knock their socks off.*

  • Wax Man Riley

    If Tam-man trades this #1 overall pick he is more suspect as a GM than even I think.

    This must make RNH and his agent feel real welcome by the Oilers and their fans. How stupid is it for him to be making such an announcement in public. Would it not have been wiser to keep it in the GM pipeline?

    Worst case scenario, someone else says something to the press and he has the advantage of plausible deniability at the very least.

    I do believe as ST says, ‘he has no idea what to do at the draft’. I believe he has decision making problems and has shown a real reluctance to act like a freaking GM when it comes to drafting and pro trades.

    If he muffs this draft I would hope Katz realizes this guy has such a fear of making an error his first inclination is to do nothing.

    • Cowbell_Feva

      Tambellini is not the first GM to be open about trading a #1 pick. In the “GM Pipeline” or out of it, rumours will swirl, just like every other year. I do agree they should keep the pick, but having the option to listen to offers is a win-win situation for him. Him stating that publicly is no big deal. IF, he gets offered the world for Hopkins, then he looks brilliant.

      I’m not pro-Tambellini really, but I can’t think of any brutal moves he has made, given the fact he inherited one F#CK of a mess from KLowe.

      Also, if RNH and his agent feel unwelcomed because of the announcement, then they better grow some thicker skin quick, because a pro-hockey player is constantly under the microscope.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    I am opposed to trading #1 overall. If we do not come out of this draft with a legitimate #1 center than it will be a big time failure in my opinion. Trading down to 7 seems too steep for my blood.

    I wouldn’t mind getting up to #8 if possible however. I think that Murphy will still be there by then and somebody could surprise and take Zibanejad over one of the other centers. The thing that would intrigue me about Murphy is that he has an offensive upside that I don’t see from anybody either on our current blue-line or in the pipeline.

  • CanaDave

    I’ve got no problem with Tambellini talking about trading the #1 pick, since in my opinion it would be foolish to not at least leave the door open to offers since you never know what might come out of left field.

    If Detroit called and offered you Helm, Abdelkader, #24 and #55 for #1, at the very least I wouldn’t just laugh and hang up the phone.

  • CanaDave

    I’m still of the opinion that everyone needs to pump their brakes a little over RNH, he’s not Crosby, Tavares or Stamkos, he’s not even Hall or Seguin. If he really was this once in a generational talent then we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all.