Moving Up And Down At The NHL Entry Draft: 2001 – 2011

What does it cost for a team to move up at the NHL Draft? What can a team gain by moving down?

The following table shows every move up and down in the first round between 2001 and 2011 that involved only draft picks – in other words, these are strictly pick-for-pick trades. San Jose was by far the most aggressive team in this time period, orchestrating six trades that saw them move up in the draft order. Anaheim and Calgary were the clubs most willing to move down, each doing so on five occasions. A pick listed in brackets () was one that the team moving down gave up along with the higher pick.

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Year Moving Up Pick(s) Moving Down Picks
2002 Columbus 1 Florida 3*
2003 Pittsburgh 1 Florida 3, 55 (78)
2004 Carolina 4 Columbus 8, 59
2008 Toronto 5 N.Y. Islanders 7, 37, 68
2008 Nashville 7 N.Y. Islanders 9, 40
2005 San Jose 8 Atlanta 12, 49, 207
2002 Florida 9 Calgary 10, 99
2007 San Jose 9 St. Louis 13, 44, 87
2001 Phoenix 11 Calgary 14, 41
2008 Buffalo 12 Los Angeles 13, 74
2008 Los Angeles 12 Anaheim 17, 28
2009 N.Y. Islanders 12 Minnesota 16, 77, 181
2005 N.Y. Rangers 12 Atlanta 16, 41
2002 Washington 13 Dallas 26, 42, 185
2002 Montreal 14 Edmonton 15, 245
2010 Los Angeles 15 Florida 19, 59
2008 Ottawa 15 Nashville 18, 70
2007 Minnesota 16 Anaheim 19, 42
2009 N.Y. Islanders 16 Columbus 26, 37, 62, 92 (77)
2003 San Jose 16 Boston 21, 66, 107
2006 San Jose 16 Montreal 20, 53
2003 New Jersey 17 Edmonton 22, 68
2007 St. Louis 18 Calgary 24, 70
2004 N.Y. Rangers 19 Calgary 24, 46 (247)
2005 Florida 20 Philadelphia 29, 41
2009 New Jersey 20 Calgary 23, 84
2004 New Jersey 20 Dallas 22, 88
2009 Columbus 21 Anaheim 26, 37
2007 Edmonton 21 Phoenix 30, 36
2008 Washington 21 New Jersey 23, 54
2010 Montreal 22 Phoenix 27, 57 (113)
2004 San Jose 22 Dallas 28, 52, 91 (153)
2011 Toronto 22 Anaheim 30, 39
2008 Minnesota 23 New Jersey 24, 73
2001 Ottawa 23 Philadelphia 27, 34, 225
2001 Florida 24 New Jersey 44, 48
2011 Ottawa 24 Detroit 35, 48
2003 Florida 25 Tampa Bay 34, 41, 192
2006 St. Louis 25 New Jersey 30, 77
2005 Washington 27 Colorado 47, 52
2003 Anaheim 28 Dallas 36, 54
2008 Phoenix 28 Anaheim 35, 39
2007 San Jose 28 Washington 41, 57
2006 Phoenix 29 Detroit 41, 47 (152)
2009 Tampa Bay 29 Detroit 32, 75
2002 Atlanta 30 Columbus 41, 96
2010 N.Y. Islanders 30 Chicago 35, 58

*option to switch first round picks in 2003 (not exercised)

What does this mean for Nation Network teams?

The Oilers own the first overall pick. Twice in this time period, the first overall was moved strictly for picks, and in both cases the return was pretty minimal. If Edmonton is only interested in moving down one or two spots, history suggests other teams will not give up much to make that happen.

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The Leafs own the fifth overall pick. They gave up two other strong draft choices to move up two spots last time around (much more than Pittsburgh paid to land the number one pick in 2003); based on the trades for fourth and seventh overall a second round pick (Toronto owns the 35th overall selection) is likely the cost to move up a spot or two or the return to move down a spot or two.

The Jets own the ninth overall pick. The cost for moving up a few spots is probably a second-round pick (Winnipeg owns the 39th overall selection) while the benefit of moving down a short distance is probably in the same range. For a drop of ~4 spots, the San Jose/St. Louis trade back in 2007 suggests that a second and a late third would probably be just recompense.

The Flames own the 14th overall pick. It would likely cost a second-round pick to move up a few positions, but the Flames have already traded away their 2012 and 2013 second round picks. They do have the 75th, 105th and 124th overall picks in this year’s draft that they could potentially trade. Moving down a couple of slots has historically fetched anywhere from a second-rounder to an eighth-rounder.

The Canucks own the 26th overall pick. They have the 57th and 147th overall picks if they want to try and move up, as well as all their picks next year, so it’s reasonable to think that they have the assets to move up to five slots higher, if there’s a willing partner. Trading down at this point in the draft usually fetches a pair of second round picks.

As for moving up to land an additional first-round pick, Edmonton owns the 32nd overall selection, Toronto the 35th and Winnipeg the 39th. Edmonton has the most assets to make a bid at moving up – a pair of third-round picks this year as well as a pair of second-round picks next year. Winnipeg has one third-rounder as well as two second-round and two third-round picks next year. Toronto would need to dip into next year’s draft to move up – they own both a second and third-round pick in 2013.

This week by Jonathan Willis

  • Evilas:

    You are bang on. Getting a top 4 dman Yak and Gal puts us awfuly close to playoffs this year and very close to completing the rebuild.

    Leaves us 1 dman short (please let J Schultz sign with us) and an upgrade at back up would be nice. I would prefer another young goalie with potential to push Dubnyk for the starting role.

    Hell, I would sweeten your offer if needed to include any 3 of our 1st from next year, a second, and a third from next year(Our choice as we have 2 in each round) Gagner, Hemsky, Peckam, Teubert, Barker, Belanger, Eager, or Hordichuk.

  • Imagine our lineup if we did Evilas trade suggestion:


    N schultz-J Schultz

    Shooter Tutor (or anyone other than Khaby)

    Top 6 is bigger, stronger, faster, and more skilled then many many years. Would compare to any team in the league. Bottom 6 is tough but better defensively then we have been in a while.

    Defence still lacks a true #1, but I would be pretty happy with this rotation. All 6 Dmen are legit 2nd pair guys with upside. All but Whitney are young with additional potential and if Whitney returns to form becomes that #1 we want so badly.

    Either way a huge improvement over our D for a lot of years.

    Dubnyk will get the chance to prove he is a true #1 in front of a solid group of D. Most top goalies seem to play behind good D. This is not a coincidence.

  • vetinari

    @ Cody- I see your lineup and on paper it looks good, but realisticly, it lacks one thing: experience.

    I am not knocking the idea of aggressively going after some of the players listed on your proposed roster, but we would be fielding a quasi-CHL/AHL/NHL team in 2012-13 and most likely back for another lottery pick next year.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      weird thing for the kid to do… raises a lot of questions:

      would the oil tell someone they were going to pick them?

      they didn’t tell Hall or RNH… why would they tell Murray (assuming it’s true). wouldn’t a leak like this be obvious… why go through the headache?

      if it isn’t true… isn’t this kid kind of putting his bro in a tight spot?

      also… didn’t the score say Heatley was for sure an Oiler years ago… or am I remembering that wrong??

      I think they might over interpret noise to stand out against the big boys.

  • vetinari


    I don’t think Columbus would give up Johnson, and I am not a fan of his. I was actually referring to Methot, Tyutin or Nikitin.

    I think Samuelsson will be long-gone. Boston is reportedly hot for him at 26.

    I see Hartikainen more as 2nd liner and Paarjvi as a 3rd liner.

    I think VandeVelde will be ahead of Lander, but I would hope for signing Konopka/Gaustad in the 4rth line center spot.

    There are also 2 2nd rounders next year.

  • Would love to have some more quality vets…..but the ones we had this year were as big a problem as the holes in the roster. In the top 6, I believe they have to give Paajarvi a good chance to succeed or trade him before they ruin his confidence. Gal May need another year, and if we could send him to the AHL I would…….but how much will he get out of another year in junior?

    My best guess is, even if we got Samuelsson he will not be ready next year and a vet would be in his spot. The same could be said for Lander. He may nead another year, but really is he going to be any worse then Belanger. I think Hartikainan looked descent last year and is the answer to the size we need.

    I think sub in a vet or 2 with sandpaper for next year and this is a legit lineup the following year.

  • @ Evilas:

    I would be fine with any of those D choices.

    Disagree with Paajarvi. He is not really a bruiser and I think he needs to play with skill players to play effectively. If he were to play on the 2nd line with Yak and Gal it may be the fastest line in the league.

    Hartikainan, is one of those huys not unlike jones that can really play anywhere in your lineup. I see him improving a lot in the next couple of years. He is big, physical and very willing to engage. His foot speed is not great, but is improving.

    I agree Vandevelde looked better last year but i believe he is a career AHL player where I see more upside for Lander. I see Lander effectively taking belanger’s role at a much lower cost.

    I was only looking at the one trade. Would love to see a proven centre in that role. Someone big, fast, and physical. Someone who could be promoted to the 3rd line when Horcoff’s monster contract is complete.

    There are plenty of ways to improve the club and I have seen many people that have listed trades with 5+ teams and 10+ players. Hard to picture our great team with only the 1 rounders on it.

    I would guess it is far fetched to get Gal and Yak and we are probably all dreaming.

  • Truth

    @ Romulus’ Apothesis

    I agree it would be odd for them to tell the player beforehand. Equally odd for the player’s brother to tell the world about it beforehand. Could also be Twitter “forging” as I would call it, I’ve definitely seen that before. Interesting nonetheless.

    PS: Still can’t figure out why the reply button doesn’t work for me

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      “PS: Still can’t figure out why the reply button doesn’t work for me”

      could be your browser settings…. maybe you are blocking pop-ups and it is considered one… or something… I’m no technical wizard… though

  • Truth

    I think we need to think of Magnus as a very good complimentary player for the other kids. He’s got good speed, very responsible defensively for a kid his age. He just needs to keep it simple, utilize his skill set and get to the scoring zone. Magnus doesn’t have the one-on-one talent of the other kids, but he doesn’t need it to be successful. There’s plenty of skill out there. Compliment the rest of the line and success will come.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Fans at The Pint party this evening won’t have to go far to drown their sorrows.

    We’d be better off selecting Morgan Rielly first overall, atleast there’s more upside potential there

  • Murray will be a solid d-man for over a decade. Sounds like a stand-up guy with leadership qualities. Sometimes the right under-the-radar complimentary player is exactly what’s needed to bring out the best in what you already have. A team is more than the sum of its players so to speak.

    It’s unfortunate that they have to use the first overall pick to do that, but hey, none of us are in that scouting room. If they see something, they see something and only time will tell if they are right.

    I defer to the experts and whoever we pick will be a fine addition.