If the Edmonton Oilers opt to move their first overall selection in this year’s draft, either because the player they like most will be attainable later, there isn’t much clearance within the top group, or they simply like an offer, there are a limited number of teams that might be in the conversation. Similarly, if they are going to try and move up to snag a second prospect in the top-10, only a handful of teams can help them out.
After the jump, a look at the other teams with a top-10 pick.
Colorado Avalanche – 2nd overall. Colorado is in an interesting position: with the exception of Gabriel Landeskog and Adam Larsson, most of the uppermost cluster of draft prospects this year are centremen. Colorado is fairly set up the middle, with Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny headlining a young and capable group that also includes last year’s first round pick (Joey Hishon). Of course, they could always move someone to the wing, but the expectation is that they’ll draft Landeskog, and what’s more certain is that they won’t deal the pick. Bottom line: Unlikely partner.
Florida Panthers – 3rd overall. Like Colorado, Florida is believed to have little interest in moving their third overall pick. Dale Tallon has been stockpiling draft selections, and he won’t throw away that strategy now. Unlike Colorado, Florida needs help up the middle, and according to the Sun-Sentinel, the two names highlighted on their list are Nugent-Hopkins and Jonathan Huberdeau. If we can take that story at face value (always a dicey proposition) they probably won’t be interested in moving down (losing Huberdeau is too much of a risk, even at fourth overall) but the prospect of moving up to snag Nugent-Hopkins might entice them. If the Oilers want Adam Larsson, they could make a deal with Florida and be reasonably confident that their man would still be available in the third slot. Bottom line: For trading down, sure, for trading up, not a chance.
New Jersey Devils – 4th overall. Lou Lamoriello is tight-lipped. Well, he’s always tight-lipped, but in this case more than most. They might be willing to move up, and they might be willing to move down. Naturally, they’re also in a bit of a strange spot because they’re a team that’s likely to be in the playoffs next year. Still, Lamoriello did provide us with some insight when he reference the Martin Brodeur selection while talking to Devils’ beat reporter Tom Gulitti. In 1990, the Devils traded down from 11th overall to 20th because they liked Brodeur and felt he would still be available. Bottom line: Lou could deal either way, but it’s fairly likely that whoever swaps with him will be overpaying.
New York Islanders – 5th overall. This selection is, despite what common sense would suggest, available. Chris Botta tells us that the Islanders are determined to make the playoffs next season and that if the right player becomes available, they won’t hesitate to move the pick. Bottom line: The Islanders are one of the Oilers’ best options when it comes to moving up on draft day.
Ottawa Senators – 6th overall. There’s no question about what Ottawa wants to do – move up. Bryan Murray has already talked to a bunch of teams, including New Jersey in the number four spot, and he wants to climb. Would trading for the Oilers first overall selection be an option? From the Sporting News:
Bryan Murray also called Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini about the No. 1 pick, but said he’d probably have to send young D Erik Karlsson, a first-round pick in 2008 and 2011 All-Star, back to Edmonton. "I’m not doing that," Murray said.
Bottom line: No dice, either up or down.
Winnipeg Hockey Club – 7th overall. There’s a ton of hockey news out of Winnipeg, but most of it is about the name of the team, the head coaching search, and the mammoth task of sifting through old Thrashers personnel to decide who is staying and who is going. Personally, I’d be very surprised if Winnipeg’s new team traded down, and I think a drop from first overall to seventh is going to be too steep for the Oilers. Bottom line: Not much concrete, but I doubt a trade happens here.
Columbus Blue Jackets – 8th overall. The most discussed pick around these parts, and one I barely need to write about. The Edmonton connection is there in Columbus general manager Scott Howson, the rumours have been flying for weeks, and there’s no doubt that this selection is available. Bottom line: If the Oilers want to move up, this pick is available.
Boston owns the ninth overall pick, while Minnesota has the last selection in the top 10, but my feeling is that the top tier in this draft only runs eight or nine deep, and so these selections aren’t as interesting for a team like Edmonton. If there’s a trade here, I see one of four things happening:
- The Oilers trade the first overall pick to Florida for the third overall pick and something else, because they like Adam Larsson better than Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
- The Oilers make a trade with New Jersey, either to move down or (more likely) to move up,sending something useful away and taking back some salary cap headache in the process.
- The Oilers make a trade with the New York Islanders for the fifth overall pick, something that would almost certainly require sending away Ales Hemsky and something else.
- The Oilers make a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth overall pick, something that would almost certainly require sending away at least Ales Hemsky.
Obviously, there are more options than those four. Maybe Dale Tallon is interested in next year’s pick, as Robin Brownlee has suggested. Those four options just strike me as most probable, given the published material available and what we know about the teams involved.