Trading draft picks started BEFORE the beginning of the universal draft in 1969. It was, for the most part, a failed experiment.
This is Sam Pollock. He rarely lost a trade, owing to access and attention to detail. One of the very few deals he "lost" came about because of waiver worries. The winner of the trade explains:
- Bill Torrey: "My organization-building philosophy is to build from within. The only draft choice I gave away (with NYI) was to Sam Pollock, when I took a little goalie from Muskegon (in the old IHL)–number four on his depth chart–Chico Resch for a draft pick. It was the only draft pick I gave up early on in the history of the Islanders. Fortunately, he was a good one."
Early in the expansion era–this would be 1967 through about 1975–the new teams had very little in terms of assets. The established clubs would take their first and second round picks in exchange for older veterans who were close to being a spent force. Terrible deals, but what are you going to do when the owner wants a winner in Oakland and you need a scoring left winger?
It was awful, made the NHL a two tiered league and took forever to level the playing field. Nowadays, the draft picks–especially the first rounders–are held tightly and rarely sent away without a similar draft pick (and something extra) coming back in return.
IF the Oilers decided to deal their pick, where would it go?
BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY!
If we’re discussing the possibility of another General Manager having a big enough ego and enough creativity to make something happen, we should begin with Brian Burke. The man with elan has engineered some incredible draft moments, the biggest being the Sedin draft of 1999 in which Burke acted like an orchestra conductor in convincing the other men at the top of the draft to give him the two best players available.
Burke does have some nice things to pass along to Edmonton:
- 5th overall pick
- NHL defensemen in a variety of price ranges, from a lovely Urban satchel courtesy Louie Vuitton (Phaneuf) to a fetching gold faux leather item from a Music City shopping spree (Cody Franson) and everything in between.
- Expensive but perhaps undervalued wingers who could fill important roles on the team (Nikolai Kulemin).
Now, before we go any deeper into this, a couple of things. I am in no way suggesting EDM trades the number one overall pick or suggesting they do business with Toronto. This is more of a blue sky, "what if" discussion. Second, I’m not saying the deal would be 1st overall for #5, Phaneuf and Kulemin.
We’re just talking over a Glenfiddich. A little early in the day but we’re sophisticated enough to pull it off.
BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
I don’t for a minute believe that the Edmonton Oilers will deal for Dion Phaneuf, but Carl Gunnarson might be a player of interest and I strongly suspect the organization believes they could make things simpler for Luke Schenn and allow him to establish himself as a quality NHL: defender.
The big question I have is "how much do the Oilers value Ryan Murray?" and then a followup being "is Griffin Reinhart close enough to Murray for the Oilers to risk moving to #5?"
Should the Oilers believe Reinhart can provide the kind of blue they’d like to see rolling out over the next decade or more, then this deal (whatever it might look like) probably has some chance of happening.
If we estimate the top 5 with Edmonton at 5th and TOR at #1, it might go like this:
- TOR: NAIL YAKUPOV
- CBS: RYAN MURRAY
- MON: MIKHAIL GRIGORENKO
- NYI: FILIP FORSBERG
- EDM: GRIFFIN REINHART
How much would Toronto have to give up to make the difference in draft pick attractive to Edmonton? Schenn & Kulemin? Gunnarson and ????
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
My guess is that the Oilers want to walk out of this draft with an impact player, either Yakupov or Murray. Could they move down from one, draft Murray and add a legit top 4D? My guess: that is something close to the ideal scenario for Edmonton. I don’t think Toronto lines up well with the Oilers, unless Burke can move up from 5 to given Edmonton a sure fire way to "get their guy."
Up next: the Habs.