In a perfect world, picking number one overall would come with some kind of guarantee. Something like "by winning this selection and taking X player, we guarantee said player will have a statue outside your building 25 years from today." Sadly, there are no draft guarantees and close only counts in horseshoes. What value DOES the first overall pick give a franchise?

There are no Bobby Orr’s in this year’s draft, no Sid the Kid and no Golden Jet or Brett. However, there are some talented young men ready to take their place in the world’s best hockey league.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are the modern day Oakland Seals. Put on the planet so others would know what bad luck really looks like, the Jackets were robbed of the opportunity to at least draft first overall by the hockey Gods. Many expected major changes in the management in Columbus but that hasn’t happened yet. IF Scott Howson is still the GM, one imagines he’ll be typing many pages in preparation for this year’s draft.

Having the first overall pick does have some value. A team like Columbus could promote the pick  as their new cornerstone and perhaps  negate some of the negativity surrounding the inevitable Rick Nash trade. Some, not all. If getting the #1 overall comes as part of the Nash package, even better.


For Scott Howson, it’s a busy summer. After going to the crossroads to sell his soul (can you think of any other way to keep the job?) he’ll need to find full value for Rick Nash and then build a foundation for the future via the draft.

Which is where the number one pick might come in. I tend to agree with those who say Howson may be relieved that the Jackets no longer own the #1 overall pick. Russia has had its own version of scorched earth in Ohio for years now and it has been a horrible experience for Columbus. Their former GM is on television now, their old coaches are selling tires in Wawa and their former scouts whittle to pass the time.

However, Columbus is in good position to "broker" a deal, get the guy who is number one on their list and deliver a new face of the franchise to their beleaguered Ohio town.



Now hear me out. I think there’s a framework of a thee-way deal here, although specifics can be difficult (the devil is in the details). From where I set, these teams have the following assets that may be available:

  • Edmonton assets: 1st overall pick, youth everywhere
  • Columbus assets: 2nd overall pick, Rick Nash, Fedor Tyutin
  • Toronto assets: 5th overall pick, Jake Gardiner, Nikoli Kulemin, others 


Maybe Edmonton grabs Fedor Tyutin or Jake Gardiner and #2 overall and maybe Columbus gets #1, #5 and Jake Gardiner and maybe Toronto acquires Rick Nash and some other things. I think there’s enough ego from Toronto, enough need from Edmonton and enough desperation in Columbus for this scenario to be possible.


There’s no easy way for the Oilers to parlay this #1 overall pick into two assets they can use but the Blue Jackets may hold the key. Edmonton has the hammer, and as we edge closer to draft day and teams decide their direction things will become more certain and Scott Howson may be in a position to satisfy Edmonton, walk off with the #1 overall selection and use it as an opportunity to both start a brand new day and give their fanbase a new franchise player.

That player? Nail Yakupov. Although he is in fact a Russian, Yakupov has played his junior hockey in Canada for the last two seasons and the CBJ draft failures from Russia (Zherdev and Filatov) played their junior hockey in the Motherland.

Furthermore, the entry level deals write themselves under the new CBA and the young man has expressed the desire to stay in North America and make his name in the NHL.

He’s also a big personality, more of an Ovechkin type. Here’s an example: 

I think Nail Yakupov is capable of convincing Howson to take him despite his birth certificate. If that happens, draft day could see an enormous trade involving your Edmonton Oilers.

  • TwoSkidoos

    The Oilers won’t have to line match for much longer – the other teams will be line matching us.

    I don’t think there’ll really be a need for a real strong checking line IMO, just go power against power.

    We saw what line matching did for Horcoff and his +/-.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    There’s a few scenarios in here that i think could really benifit the Oilers. When we can throw ideas around like this, who needs the regular season. This talk is stimulating enough to keep me interested.

  • Mabell

    Why is everyone so high on Johansen? Yes he looks great on paper as he is a big RH centre but what did he prove this year in the NHL? Nothing. And he played on a powerhouse Portland team where he kind of shot up the rankings (Correct me if I am wrong there I could be mistaking if he was highly ranked to start the year).

    I am not a huge Gagner fan but I don’t think I would trade Gagner for Johansen this summer. Johansen has done nothing to prove he belongs in the NHL let alone Center the 2nd line, and while Gagner might not fit long term due to his size he is a better option then anything else right now.

    If Gagner gets traded it better be for a Bogosion type dman and then sign a stop gap centre for a year or two Stoll maybe?

  • TwoSkidoos

    I had a little bird land on my shoulder yesterday and tell me that the Oilers were not as interested in Nail as we would believe. Serious lower body injury issues and dressing room problems. i suspect we will see a trade, i wish reinhart(?) was a little higher up, watching him play makes me think he’ll be a great D-man someday, big and mean!

  • Mabell


    Heartbeat. This would be a trade a good organization would make, Getting your potential second line center and a first pairing defencemen is a no brainer move. Columbus would be stupid to do the trade.

    I remember Philly doing trades that shocked the ockey world last year, that everyone thought would set them back. Its looking pretty good now.

  • Clyde Frog


    Name the bird or that post is worth zilp. I heard from my best friends hairdresser who also claims to do Tom Renney’s second cousins sisters wifes hair; who had dinner with Ryan Smyth’s kids best friend; who mentioned Nail Yakupov loves Tacos too much to move back to Russia, therefor we should not worry about the KHL unless they start importing Tacos…

    Also still don’t see how trading the chance to choose the best 18 year old in the world, for futures and a lesser pick isn’t like trading a guarunteed 5 number lotto 649 ticket for a bag of scratch tickets and a 3 number ticket…

  • Clyde Frog


    The third scoring line still needs to check, so Omark would not fit the mold of a third scoring/checking winger. Hes more of a second line soft parade guy, and he doesn`t fit into the Oilers plans anyways.

    Look at Philly`s third line with guys like SC, Simmonds, Voracek, Schenn, etc. That line when up against Malkin, and did respectively well. Could you imagine Omark in that role, hed get eaten alive.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    There’s alot to be learned from all the pre draft meetings that’ll take place in the next few weeks. If management has one inkling that Yakupov isn’t 100% commited to being an Oiler then it would be in their best interests to move down/trade the pick.

    I trust Kevin Lowe will be able to see through the kids body language when he’s here for a visit or two. If the kid is going to demand respect rather than earn it, he may be better off going somewhere else.

    Will he be the next Pavel Bure, or the next Sergei Samsonov, big difference.

  • Clyde Frog

    I think the discussion with CBJ should be about swapping firsts this year and next. CBJ need a scoring RW badly with Nash out soon. Yak is a perfect fit for them more than the Oilers. There is some risk that CBJ doesn’t implode next year, but with all of the turnover coming I’d take that chance.

    If the Oil move down I think drafting one of the centres is really the thing to do. The system is full of decent D prospects which is what is available this draft. No studs at D this year. There is as good chance in the second round as first for D. The team is very thin at centre still with Gagner still having yet to establish himself.

    A talented centre with some size is really more important with smaller wingers than another half decent D prospect.

    RNH-(Grigorenko/Galchenyuk)-Gagner-Lander down the middle I think is better than RNH-Gagner-Lander-? with Murray as a second pairing D.

  • Just a couple of outside the box things when talking about the 1st overall pick.

    The Oilers are going to need a RW player soon, Hemsky is signed for two years at 5.5 million, which really means only a season and a half left before trade deadline with nobody in the system with like production.

    Yakupov would be on a ELC for 3 years and could be argued like type production as the 3 kids, therefore Yakupov is an imidiate upgrade just in salary and term alone beside’s the production.

    Therefore Hemsky could be used for acquiring a defensmen or big body player not the 1st overall pick making less money with upside.

    If that can’t get you a defensmen then there is UFA, there are quality players available at no risk to the Oilers including moving a potential franchise type player in Yakupov.

    Remember that Whitney or Smid comes off the books after next season so carrying another high end contract is not an issue going forward. The likelyhood of keeping Whitney pass this deadline is remote at best.

    Then there is Gagner, why on earth do people think Gagner for Johansen is an even trade?? I say Gagner and maybe another player for CBJ’s pick and that might be too much!

    Yakupov and then there’s the rest.
    Also Yakupov and his agent want him to be an Oiler! There re many, many ways to get a defensmen without trading a potential franchise player.

  • TwoSkidoos

    Lowetide, I usually love reading your blogs but were you high when you wrote this garbage?
    All this trade talk is crazy, you make it seem like the only way for edmonton to get better Defence is by trading the pick..
    Seguin is what edmonton needed, a top line center..we picked Hall, anybody looking back now?
    Oilers needed size on the wings and better defence..they drafted the barely teen aged body in does it look a year later?

    This year Yakupov is oilers prize..why exchange it? theres other assets that could be moved, free agents that can be signed..why risk loosing out on a 30 plus goal a year player?

  • Slapshot

    Tambellini will step up the the podium on June 22 and announce that the Edmonton Oilers select Rem Murray,Katz and his son will stand there with big sh*t eating grins on there faces, while K lowe slaps Tambellini in the back of the head and tells him, I told you Ryan Murray not Rem Murray.The magnificant bastard just looks on, shaking his head asking himself why do I continue to work for these clowns!!!

  • Reg Dunlop

    @ oilers2k11

    Questioning Hall and RNH? Hall was a 2-time Mem cup MVP, he had to go 1st in the draft(by the way how did Seguin fare this postseason?).
    RNH already is the best player from his draft year,should win the Calder, and hasn’t grown up yet. How are things looking? Not bad!

    As far as trading #1, you have to give up something juicey to get what we need most. If you weren’t tweaking you would realize that.

  • Reg Dunlop

    I laugh at these posters on your blog. They base their opinion on how

    well a article is written. Most people have never seen any of these players

    play hockey , so they form an opinion based on ZERO facts and this

    becomes their premise. Anything that adds to the premise strengthens

    their opinion.

    I know it is fun to play GM I do it myself but come on some people really

    think they have the answers. ie. Yakupov is this or he is that.