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.

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.

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 .

  • BiG Grigoswki:

    I don’t know how other GM’s feel about Yandle but he was not on the top pairing in Pheonex. He faced soft competition and offensive zone starts all year and in the playoffs he was 4th in D TOI for Phoenix. He is not trusted on the PK.

    He moves the puck well and puts up points. He would be a risk and would have to be paired with Smid or N schultz or would cause more trouble than he is worth.

    If it looks like J Schultz will sign here I would not even want Yandle, otherwise petry is our only offensive weapon on D.

  • Noticed Tambs said the new piece would fit in well with the young core of Hall, Eberle, Nuge, Paajarvi, and Petry.

    Was Gagner left off this list on purpose because we will be taking Galchenyuk, or was he just missed?

  • Big Grigowski:

    Obviously you highly value points from the back end as many people do. I like to have 1 or 2 offenvie weapons on my point, but was a big supporter of the Gilbert for N Schultz trade even though Gilbert will get far more points than Schultz.

    Many, like those that voted for karlsson for the Norris, think the top producer is the best Dman.

    Would you trade Smid or N Schultz straight accross for Yandle if that is what Pheonix was demanding?

    I would not touch these deals, as aside from the PP I feel Smid and Schultz will improve our team far more than Yandle. they can play against the heavies and are very reliable Dmen.

    I guess this is one more thing that makes scouting D hard. Everyone has a different opinion of what makes an elite D-man

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Please, Please take Yak…

    any wheeling and dealing ought to be either 1) to get an actual NHL defensemen (Ie an NHL trade with a 2nd round or later series of picks on the side)

    or 2) to move up to get Reinhart or another high quality D

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F


    It isn’t that I value points more than defensive attributes – it’s that the oilers already have more defensive D-men than possible PP QB’s.

    With the exception of Petry (Whitney an unknown) we are lacking in the point producing d-men.

    Personally, I wouldn’t trade Smid for Yandle but I’d consider Schultz.

  • @Big Grigowski:
    Question, do you consider Smid top 15 Dmen in the league?

    I see us with 2 solid defensive Dmen in Smid and Schultz, and 1.5 solid offesive Dmen in Petry and Whitney. Due to Whitney’s health concerns I would look at one more offensive D-man, but by my accounts we still need one more defensive guy.

    If Whitney comes back healthy I believe he covers our offensive dman quota and i would be looking for 2 defensive Dmen (Obviously that can still headman the puck)

    If we could only get one or the other right now, I would go against the popular opinion right now and pick a defensive guy as we know we need at least one of them to be successful. If Whitney does not have a bounceback year i would use Paajarvi as my PP QB. He used to play D, is fast, and very skilled with the puck for a D-man.

    With the current roster I have Paajarvi starting the season on either the 1st or 2nd line to give us the size we need up there.

    What are your thoughts on using him on the point for PP if Whitney is not performing?

  • Mr. Willis – I want to thank you for the huge amount of work you have put in here and at the EJ with draft and trade discussions. I see a lot of pro hockey, but no junior and I appreciate the effort that you and your colleagues here put into this.

  • The Oilers trading an NHL dman for an NHL dman are not helping themselves at all. That was the criticism of the Gilbert-Schultz trade. If they are trading for a bonafide NHL dman, they will have to acquire one by trading a forward/prospect/draft pick to improve.

  • Evilas, I agree with you. I was not proposing the trade I just wanted Big grigowski’s opinion on which was better or more important to winning since he ranked Yandle so high.

    The only moveable assets we have that can be moved for a Dman without creating a bigger hole are;

    Hemsky, Habibulin, spare pieces, draft choices, and prospects.

    D for D makes no sense unless someone is willing to upgrade Sutton, Potter, Barker, Teubert or Peckam. Gagner for a Dman makes no sense either as the hole would render us a lottery pick again.

  • I also wanted to comment on the Yakupov “attitude”, I read some even calling him a locker room cancer. I get it, I’ve met people like him, but I don’t see it as being a negative. I don’t see him as being full of himself, rather I see him being full of life. He likes to joke around, and that is good. Some of it is lost in translation, I’ve seen that before.

    I think once his new teammates see how hard he works, they will understand that he is a good team mate. With someone like Khabibulin around, it will only help him. If the Oilers don’t ake him, they are making a huge mistake.

    I noticed Tambellini mentioned with Rishaug that they wanted someone with the right character, I think Nail has it, and that is a desire to win, to be the best and to work hard. If they can swing a deal to pick up Galyenchuk, that would make this day so much sweeter.

    I would be willing to trade next yr’s first for Columbus’s 2nd Overall along with Gagner and Peckham and one of Columbus’s top 4 dmen. I think the time is now, and hopefully Columbus might like the prospect of getting a high pick in a deep draft next year.

    If the Oilers can significantly improve the D corps in front of Dubnyk, and add/move some pieces on the 3/4 lines, this team will be close to a playoff spot. Time will tell.

  • Ooooo…that 2003 draft year still stings. The deepest draft ever and the Oilers walked away with nothing when they had the opportunity to draft guys like Getzlaf, Parise, Richards, Carter, Perry. The fate of the Oilers could have been very different if they got it right.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      yep… that draft stings…

      MAP and JFJ in hindsight were bad bets with so much talent on the table.

      2007, though a lot less stacked… sticks in my craw too… 3 picks in the top 21!! you don’t get that every go round

      Gagner seems like a safe bet (though couture seems like he might become the best center of the draft year)… but Plante and Nash are big disappointments