What would it take for the Leafs to land Yakupov and Galchenyuk?

Earlier today, we ran an interview between Andrey Osadchenko and Igor Larionov on this site. Larionov is the agent for two of 2012’s top draft prospects – Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk – and among other things he made the interesting suggestion that the Leafs might attempt to land both players (who are also teammates in Sarnia).

Is it possible?

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Asked what the Oilers had told him about drafting Yakupov with the first overall pick, Larionov offered (in part) the following:

Tambellini told me: ‘We like him. We want him. But we’re going to make a decision the day before the draft’. I also know the Habs want to get one of my guys – either Nail or Alex [Galchenyuk]. So do the Leafs. It is possible that the Leafs are going to trade their draft pick and get both of them. There is a possibility like that. Nail and Alex went to New Jersey for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. After this they met Leafs GM Brian Burke. Then Nail met with the Habs.

(emphasis added)

It’s the same scenario that Robin Brownlee spit-balled a few days ago, except that instead of the Oilers making a move to land both players, it would be the Leafs.

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Shades of 1999

While normally this sort of talk has a fantastic quality to it, every once in a while a general manager pulls this kind of deal off. Brian Burke did it at the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, where the Canucks emerged as the big winners of the first round, drafting twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

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How did they do it? The Canucks already owned the third overall selection, and they needed to land another pick inside the top three. They managed to get the fourth overall pick from Chicago in exchange for defenseman Bryan McCabe and the Blackhawks choice of Vancouver’s first round pick in either 2000 or 2001 (Chicago opted for the 11th overall pick in 2000). Then they dealt that fourth overall pick to Tampa Bay along with a pair of third round picks in exchange for the first overall selection.

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With Atlanta eying Patrik Stefan – while now considered a bust, at the time Stefan boasted size and physical maturity; he was a point-per-game player in the IHL (roughly equivalent to the AHL today) in his draft year – the Canucks traded down from first to second overall, collecting a third round pick the following year in the process.

Chicago got a good defenseman and a first round pick. Atlanta got Patrik Stefan. Vancouver walked away with two-thirds of an elite first line.

What Would It Take?

The Leafs are in an interesting position because they have strength in areas where the Oilers are weak. It seems unlikely that top defenseman Dion Phaneuf would be on the table, but the Leafs have a quartet of other (relatively) young defenders that might intrigue the Oilers:

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  • 21-year old Jake Gardiner
  • 22-year old Luke Schenn
  • 24-year old Cody Franson
  • 25-year old Carl Gunnarsson

Looking back to what the Leafs did in 1999, would the Oilers consider one of Schenn or Gardiner, Franson, and their choice of the Leaf’s first round pick in either 2013 or 2014 in exchange for the first overall selection this year? Schenn was a fifth overall pick a few years ago, plus he has a WHL heritage and the Oilers do love both of those things.

The Leafs pick next year could be a high one as well. Since 2008, the Leafs have by virtue of their regular season finish had the opportunity to draft seventh (they moved up to 5th overall and took Schenn), seventh (Nazem Kadri), second (Boston got the pick in the Phil Kessel deal and drafted Tyler Seguin), ninth (another pick lost in the Kessel deal; Boston drafted Dougie Hamilton) and then fifth overall next year. Based on recent history, next year’s first round pick will be a considerable asset.

There’s also the possibility that the Leafs could trade up to eighth overall and use that pick to barter with Edmonton. There has been speculation recently that the Carolina Hurricanes are willing to deal that pick for immediate help up front (h/t Lowetide). The Leafs have some options that might be appealing to Carolina, and could add a highly regarded prospect like Joe Colborne or Nazem Kadri in a package with an established forward.

If the Leafs managed to land the eighth overall pick, Edmonton might be intrigued by the possibility of trading down and landing a player like Griffin Reinhart.

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Will it happen?

I very much doubt it. Burke often talks about moving up on draft day (as opposed to the Oilers, who let it be known that they would be interested in moving up, don’t move up, and then trade for the player five years later after whoever drafted him is willing to move on) but the reality is that deals like that are hard to pull off. People are loss-averse by nature and the prospect of moving a top pick can be nerve-wracking.

Still, sometimes strange things happen. I’d be surprised if Burke didn’t at least sound out Tambellini about that first overall pick.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Best bet is go and get the pick from Carolina for a roster forward(U pick) and use that for Reilly, Reinhart, Dumba… We get we want and need from the Draft without pickin up guys the Leafs don’t want… Outside of Gardiner anyways.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Re: Yakupov. Anything that does not bring an established star in a demonstrated “need position”(Big First Line Center or #1 Dman) – who also happens to have a contract that is viable – is craziness IMO. Toronto has neither of these. Yakupov has the tools to be a 40 goal guy! How many top 3 overall forwards from the OHL have been average players let alone busts? (credit to Stauffer for pointing this one out). The top 3 overall OHL forwards since 2001:

    2011 – Landeskog 2010 – Hall / Seguin 2009 – Tavares / Duchene 2008 – Stamkos 2007 – P. Kane 2006 – J. Staal 2005 – B. Ryan 2003 – E. Staal / Horton 2002 – Nash 2001 – J Spezza

    Who are the “slackers” in this group? Horton (a 6’2″ 230 lb center with 380 pts in 548 games)? Bobby Ryan ( a 6″2″ 220 lb power forward with 259 pts in 332 games)?

    Someone please tell me, who from the above list – Horton’s current injury issues not withstanding – would you trade for Kadri / Schenn or Gardiner. Statistically, Yakupov is as much a mortal lock to be an excellent top 6 forward as there is.

    If you can get #8 overall by trading anyone outside of the 3 kids or Smid / Petry, look at it. You MAY get a future first pairing D-man out of it. Don’t see Carolina biting on a Hemsky for #8 though.

    I am fine with taking YAK and trying to land Schultz and a UFA fill in top 4 D-man (I still like Carle) to stop the bleeding and upgrade the existing defence to “adequete”. If ST can accomplish this – no small feat – I am a very happy camper. Maybe I am dreaming we can actually sign two Top 4 D-men.

    Tell me the kids being a year older and bigger, Yakupov, and two of J Schultz / Carle / Wideman / Garrison / B. Allen / et al does not make us a LOT better.

    And Tamby, if Brian Burke phones, tell him to P.F.O. – and the “please” is optional. I beseech you – DO NOT OVERTHINK THIS!

    • Well said Soup, well said.

      I would also like to add to that by saying the Oilers potentially have a a few good to really good defensive prospects coming and don’t need Toronto’s prospects.

      Especially if we can snag Schultz and the 8th off Carolina prior to the draft.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    First off IMO, is that Burke would have to send Schenn and Gardiner to get this year’s #1 pick overall for the fifth pick at least.

    Tambellini and Lowe would not go down to eight if a three way deal with Carolina was to take place due to that there is still Columbus, then Motnreal, the New Yor Islandere, Anaheim and Minnesota picking ahead of eighth. By then Murray, Reinhart, Grigorenko, Forsberg, or even Teurovainen and Dumba could be gone.

    The Oil would still have a good pick at this timne but it would not be of a potential superstar status.

    Besides, along with the likelihood of losing the specific player they want, who says that the Oil would be guaranteed of getting Schultz as well, even if Gardiner was traded here?

    I am one who does not like Burke or the Maple Leafs so why would I help them out if I was with the Oiler Brass….lol.

    We take Yakupov at #1, then see what happens by dealing for Carolina’s eighth pick. probably would offer Hemsky and/or Gagner. Then we trade with the Islanders for fourth overall and take Reinhart. At this point, I would offer to the Isle the eighth pick and either Peckham or Plante with maybe Lander (unless Paajarvi has to go)to open up some room for the next wave of juniors entering into the AHL, such as Marancin, Musil, Davidson, etc.

    If that works out we would then have Yakupov to explode with our other super kids (Hall, RNH, Eberle), along with Reinhart for the very near future, and still have a #1 pick nex year in place.

    We still then also have that #32 pick this year to shore up either defence once more or take a goalie.

    Just food for thought and maybe way too complicated to take place. Intriguing scenario dont ya think?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Are u effing kidding me? Yeah let’s go out of our way to help Toronto draft arguably the 2 best prospects in this years draft for freaking Luke Schenn and next years first rounder? Hoooorrrrrible idea and will NEVER happen.


    Just a thought, but its great to get the team younger and its great to have ELC’s to work with. What about the cap floor? And how do you keep a team of all young stars together?

    It is conceivable that by getting to young and to loaded with talent that the team implodes.
    Thats why they call them a general manager not a super star locator.

    Hall,Eberle,Nuge,Petry,smid,Gagner,Yakupov(maybe)or Schenn and Gardiner. If they all got 6 million ( yes high for some low for others) Thats either 48 million for 8 players or 54 million for 9 players.

    Looks like it could become a problem.

    Thats why most of the great teams run a rotation thru the ranks some young players and some vets. Are we getting to young?

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    If the Oilers could just sign Shultz, then Gardiner for Yakupov sounds like a bad deal for the Oilers. So I still say no. There is very little that would sway me to make a trade. I hope Oilers management isn’t stressing about a trade, and hopefully they’re focusing on all the other options.

    As well, there is a long term plan here to build the team right – and why Tambo was offered an extension – so why try shortcuts now that could actually hinder the clubs overall development in a couple years time. The goal shouldn’t be 8th place, it should be a cup, so take Yakupov, build, build, build the youth, and then go get the key pieces. Just like Tambo said in the beginning.

  • Stocc

    There’s no way TO should give up what it’s going to take to get Edmonton’s pick… Edmonton would ask for 2 of the following :
    1. Jake Gardiner
    2. Luke Schenn
    3. Cody Franson
    4. James Reimer
    5. Toronto’s 5th overall pick