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

  • justDOit

    Just read that Eklund says there’s only a 20% chance that Yakupov becomes an Oiler – which really means there’s an 80% chance. Best thing I’ve read for days.

  • justDOit

    Rumours abound that Yandle is on the table in return for offensive help to the ‘Yotes.

    So does a Yandle and PHO’s first round pick for #1 sound reasonable?

      • justDOit

        That’s what I was thinking too, but I just read some stats on Yandle on COH. He played the softs, for the most part, and wasn’t given 1st pairing minutes in the playoffs.

        So he might be a bit one-dimensional, and he’s making about $5M/yr for 4 more years.

  • vetinari

    If history is any indication, Tambi will keep the #1 pick and take the safe choice: Yakupov.

    Also, if history is any indication, Tambi will wait about 4-6 weeks to take that pick and leave everyone dangling while he thinks about the implications of that decision.

    And finally, if history is any indication, and if the Oilers participate in a trade today, there will be a winner and a Tambi involved in the deal!

  • justDOit

    I think it depends on how #2-5 view Yakupov. If they feel he’s head and shoulders above, maybe you can get a bidding war going.

    In 2002 Florida got nothing because They wanted Bouwmeester and Atlanta wanted Lehtonen.

    Does Montreal want Yakupov? Does Toronto? You can probably get a bidding war going and get a legitimate piece as well.

  • Justin R

    RED FLAG DAY TODAY ! TAMS quoted as saying “we don’t need to rush ANYTHING ” . Don’t like the sounds of that comment . Sounds like we are going to be very conservative today. Yakupov – can his ego create problems with some of our other rising stars ? KHL always an option for foreigners to N.American and quite frankly often used as a bartering tool down the line . Murray – may turn out to be another T.Gilbert and have a hard time risking picking him at NBR.1 . Is Murray really 6ft 5 in. , as in the Journal ? Those two appear to be what we are down to .

    Is Galchenyuk really 6 ft. 5 in. inches as well , as reported in Journal ? I don’t have much of a red flag for this N.American player who probably does not want to entertain the KHL , and has recovered very well from seasons injury . I only have a marked increase in his value coming up . Might this kid still grow ?

    Both our picks i am afraid will not be the best down the road and Yakupov’s ego and antics could end up being a problem or mismatch with our other emerging stars .

    Columbus will deal Nash and may get enough for them to catapult us back in basement for next season . Montresl may be a partner with us in basement aas well , depending on how they draft and trade this off season . I think i’m going to be disappointed this draft and look forward to next seasons marquee draft with S.Jones and N.MacKinnon in our sights .” No need to rush anything” as Tams so aptly put it .

  • DieHard

    I will be extremely disappointed if nothing major happens during todays draft. A couple of teams moving up/down using picks is not major. I fear it will be boring.

  • Reg Dunlop


    A bidding war? You assume Tambo has the business saavy of a used car salesman instead of a guy trying to unload a 10 year old Chev on Autotrader. Lucky for him other,real NHL GMs take the initiative when it suits them, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to suit them this draft. There just isn’t a game-changer available.

    That doesn’t mean that Ryan Murray (or Yak) won’t contribute. BTW the oil met with Yak last night, he probably will be an Oiler in 7 hours.

  • everton fc

    Perhaps its simply cultural, but the interviews I’ve heard w/Yakupov have the scent of arrogance. He seems like he’d be best suited for a bigger market than Edmonton, if he has an ego. To me, Murray’s a better long-term pick for the Oilers…

    Which means… Maybe they flip w/Columbus?? Or a team lower?? Would Toronto flip and add an asset for the Oilers?

    As for Yandle… Perhaps they Flames could get him? Feaster has a history dealing w/Maloney… He’d be a nice addition if JBO’s moved.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    PLAYING GM FOR TODAY – I take YAKUPOV simply because if he does not pan out he should get the most on a return down the line . Murray if he does not pan out – not nearly as much . I prefer Galchenyuk and would be happy if we took him first , but thats unlikely to happen anyways .