If the Edmonton Oilers opt to trade down from first overall, what kind of return might they get? If they want to trade up from 19th overall into the top eight, what might it cost them?
A good place to start when it comes to answering those questions is with what other teams have received in exchange for moving up and down in the draft. I’ve included some trades from the last two drafts, as well as trades involving top-10 picks going back for a decade.
- 2010 – Florida trades the 15th overall pick to Los Angeles in exchange for the 19th and 59th overall picks.
- 2009 – Minnesota trades the 12th overall pick to the N.Y. Islanders in exchange for the 16th, 77th, and 182nd overall picks.
- 2009 – Calgary trades the 20th overall pick to New Jersey in exchange for the 23rd and 84th overall picks.
- 2008 – N.Y. Islanders trade the fifth overall pick to Toronto in exchange for the seventh overall and 68th overall picks in 2008 and a second round pick in 2009.
- 2008 – N.Y. Islanders trade the seventh overall pick to Nashville in exchange for the ninth and 40th overall picks.
- 2007 – St. Louis trades the ninth overall pick to San Jose in exchange for the 13th and 44th overall picks.
- 2005 – Atlanta trades the eighth overall pick to San Jose in exchange for the 12th, 49th, and 207th overall picks.
- 2003 – Florida trades the first and 73rd overall picks to Pittsburgh in exchange for the third and 55th overall picks as well as Mikael Samuelsson (80GP – 10G – 14A – 24PTS).
- 2002 – Florida trades the first overall pick to Columbus in exchange for the third overall pick and the option to swap first round picks in 2003.
- 2002 – Atlanta promises not to select Jay Bouwmeester second overall in exchange for 82nd overall pick and a fourth round selection in 2003.
- 2002 – Calgary trades the ninth overall pick to Florida in exchange for the 10th and 99th overall picks.
- 2001 – N.Y. Islanders trade the second overall pick as well as Bill Muckalt (60GP – 11G – 15A – 26PTS) and Zdeno Chara (82GP – 2G – 7A – 9PTS) in exchange for Alexei Yashin (82GP – 40G – 48A – 88PTS).
What Those Trades Mean
While this is a helpful exercise, it only works as a rough outline – every year is unique, both in terms of the players available at the draft and in terms of what each team at the draft needs.
Moving up from 19th overall represents an interesting problem in that most of the trades from that position represent a move of three to five spots. The reason for this is that one team sees a player they like a few spots up, while the team in that spot doesn’t value the available player as highly. The problem stems from the fact that each team is only sliding a little bit, and still getting a player in the same general range – a move from 19th to the top-10 is a different sort of trade. Can the Oilers do it? Maybe, but I doubt it, unless there’s a team out there willing to move from the 10th-13th overall range before the top five picks have been made. The only other way I see it happening is if the Oilers move a player that’s worth a fair bit in order to make a big jump.
Trading down, on the other hand, would probably be pretty easy to accomplish. The Islanders added two second round picks and a third round selection in exchange for moving from fifth overall to ninth overall; the Oilers would probably get a fair bit more if they were willing to move down to the fifth overall range. For a bunch of decent but not outstanding picks, it isn’t a deal I would be willing to consider.
If I were a betting man, I’d bet that Steve Tambellini leaves St. Paul having taken Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall, and having snagged another good prospect somewhere between 15th and 19th overall. To paraphrase Wells’s first rule, in any given year the Oilers performance at the draft will tend towards the least exciting possible outcome. I don’t expect this to be an exception.