Jim Matheson at The Journal is hearing much the same things I am about Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini angling for a second top pick in the first round at the NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota next Friday.

My understanding is the Oilers, who will likely use the first overall pick to take Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels, are looking at making a deal to move into the top five, specifically the top three, to get a shot at Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson.

On June 14 I wrote: "Just Saying: Might the Oilers look at trading the 19th pick in the first round this year and their first pick in 2012, which figures to be anything from a fifth to a 10th pick, to get a second top-five pick in Minny? More on that to come."

Matty chimed in Thursday with: " . . . they are trying hard to move up from No. 19 (the pick bequeathed from the Los Angeles Kings in the Dustin Penner trade) into the top 10, presumably to take a defenceman," mentioning interest in Larsson, Doug Hamilton and Duncan Siemens.

While I’m hearing top five, which is where the Oilers will have to be to have any chance of getting Larsson, and Matheson is hearing top 10, which allows for more potential trade partners, it seems obvious to me Tambellini is working the phones, as he should.

Getting a deal done, as always, is another matter.


If the Oilers covet Larsson as I believe, they’re going to have to move into the third selection slot to get him, meaning Tambellini will be talking to Dale Tallon and the Florida Panthers.

With Tallon looking to stockpile draft picks, I can see Tambellini offering the 19th pick from the Penner deal with Los Angeles and his first pick in 2012 for the third pick in Minnesota.

That line of thinking is predicated on the Oilers being completely sold that Larsson is a better defensive prospect than anybody who will be available in 2012 and that Tambellini is confident the Oilers will improve enough this season that their first selection next summer won’t be a high lottery pick, but something in the range of 5-10.

While we can debate the likelihood the Oilers will move out of lottery contention this season, and already have in the original item I wrote, my sense is that will be his approach.

Working a deal with Tallon, of course, goes right out the window if the Colorado Avalanche take Larsson with the second pick. I don’t see the Avs going that way, but the possibility likely means any potential deal with Florida will come on the draft floor, even if the teams are talking now.


If Tambellini is casting a wider net, as Matheson suggests, that brings teams like New Jersey (4th), the New York Islanders (5th), Ottawa (6th) and Columbus (8th) into play.

Former Oiler assistant GM Scott Howson, now the boss in Columbus, would seem to be the likeliest trade partner in that scenario. He’s got to get the Blue Jackets into the playoffs this season and he might be willing to deal his first pick for the 19th and a roster player who can help now.

Tambellini tried without success to get Howson’s fourth overall pick last summer, one he intended to use on centre Ryan Johansen after taking Taylor Hall. Might one of Edmonton’s small, skilled forwards convince Howson to move this time around?

Either way, whether it’s Florida or Columbus or any team in between, there’s definitely some smoke here, so it’ll be worth keeping an eye on once Jason Gregor and I get to Minnesota Wednesday. Stay tuned.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Mitch

    Robin if Tambi can pull this one off all I can say is WOW!!! I don’t know if it’s possible but I think you need Flordia’s pick to get Larsson. I would be willing to move Gagner or Petry plus #19 and next yr #1, you have to have a sweetner because you don’t know where that pick next yr is, but another top pick is ballsy. Tambi also would have to make deal with Colorado to make sure NJ doesn’t come into play at #2.

  • I can see a scenario where the Oil move from 19 to 3 (Florida) via 8 (Columbus).

    -Hemsky & 19 to Columbus for Tyutin & 8?

    -8, 31 & 62 to Florida for 3 & 47?

    IN: Fedor Tyutin, #3, #47

    OUT: Ales Hemsky, #19, #31, #62

  • Robin,

    Would the Oilers try to ‘protect’ the pick? I’d hate to see them win the lotto and lose a #1?

    Trading for Larsson means a few things to me;

    Nugent-Hopkins can play six games with the Oilers before December, play in the WJHL, back to RD, and play 3 with the Oilers to finish the year.

    The Oilers will have 5 top 10 prospects up for RFA contracts in consecutive seasons. (They run the risk of losing 1 if they aren’t smart contracts).

    Have you seen Ryan Murray? If Edmonton trades Hemsky during the season, the Oilers should have another lotto pick and Murray’s going to be a fine NHL defenseman.

  • Jaggedstream

    every year you read the same thing about the Oilers wanting to move up and yet it never happens.

    so it’s a burden of proof thing from my end.

    OTOH, I’m not sure what corresponding moves Lowe’s puppet has in mind in order to devalue the 2012 1st rounder but it would be nice to have some real players to cheer for instead of watching kids sink or swim.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    Lots of rumours out there so it will be interesting to see what happens. All I know is that lots of time these rumours don’t seem to come true on draft day when the bullets start flying and teams pick guys that nobody had them taking. I’m hopeful that the Oil are successful in moving up into the top 10 with that second pick but I am not holding my breath.

  • Little Buttcheeks

    If the oilers go after another top 5 pick in this years draft then IMO the name Hemsky will be involved, there’s no getting around it. If the oilers give away there 1st next year then Hemsky will retain that 1st next year through a trade this year undoubtably.

    Hemsky&Gilbert to CBJ for the 8th plus Commador and 2012 1st.

    To the Panthers: the 19th 2011 and the Oilers 2012 1st for the Panthers 3rd in 2011

  • Seriously....Gord?

    Many in the know are suggesting the 2012 draft will offer depth at defence. Having said that, the OIL should target Center this year. Take RNH – best available and try to move up with your 19th pick and XXX to try and land Mark Mcneill. This is more doable and realistic. Trying to move in to the top 10 would be a bit of a stretch and we would likely get hossed on a deal there. Leave the picks for Stu, he’s the only thing we have going for us right now.
    I would move Hemsky for picks in 2012 and try try and shore the defensive prospects in that draft year or use Hemsky to target Bogosian out of the Peg. Lets face it- we will likely be in contention for a least top 5 pick next year. Well unless our GM balls up and gets smart over the summer. I don’t see that happening.
    I still see to many softies in our top 9 and quite frankly throughout the line up. A lottery pick is in the cards for 2012- you can take that to the bank !

  • Seriously....Gord?

    I agree with whomever is tired of seeing small quick and speedy players filling up the oilers’ roster. I think the two or three who, for now, should remain are gagner, eberle and maybe omark. The rest you can trade away… esp. cogs who various teams have shown interest in over the past few years and we might be able to get a solid return on. Gagner is very young despite having a considerable amount of experience to this point, and he gets better every year (he was playing very well prior to his unfortunate accident on the bench this year). Omark is elusive enough to effectively play bigger.. ie. he isn’t manhandled and in fact has impressed with his cycling and behind the net skills. Eberle is the man, and has shown he can take a big hit like a big man (eg. torres’ cheap shot). Brule I really like actually but i feel like we need to add skillful physical dominance so gagner, eberle and omark can do there thing with some space. I also wouldn’t worry too much about acquiring all these draft picks. We have too many contracts as it is to just sign a bunch more with little to no turnover. Trades should include certain of this years draft picks and some of our players ie. hemsky, for younger, more physical veterans. I know hemsky is only 27 but he’s oft injured and doesn’t play the style of hockey, though immensly skilled, that the oilers really need. A Hemsky and Cogs for Zajac (6’3” 200lbs Centre) and new jersey’s 2nd rounder that can then be parlayed with our 19th overall for a higher 1st rounder a la Oleksiak/Siemens/Morrow at 14 would really help the team and no require us signing so many contracts which we are prohibited from doing by the rules of the nhl. We also ought not discount the idea of getting a decent goalie prosect or fa this offseason…. deslaurier is gone

  • Seriously....Gord?

    One thing people forget is that we don’t have address all our needs in one year, so if there are quality D-men in next years draft , we could wait, unless Larsson is so superior. It sounds like RNH could be a special player. I think management looks at this process as a 4 year plan and fans look at the process as a 1 year plan. Obviously people want to keep their jobs, but I wouldn’t be trading important pieces just to satisfy the coming year