The day Edmonton selected Taylor Hall, there was a lot of back and forth about "Taylor versus Tyler" from fans, the hockey industry and the media. What if Steve Tambellini had been able to get both? Would the price paid be too much?
We know that the Oilers were all over the Bruins in the days leading up to the draft, and we know from the newsreels that "Jordan Eberle" was apparently the asking price. In hindsight, I believe the Oilers brass made a good move in keeping Eberle, who would go on to post 2 fine seasons before the NHL shut down and is enjoying an enormous season in OKC this year.
Terry Jones wrote an article in June 2010 in which he listed the possibles available in trade for the #2 overall selection:
- Jones: The Bruins are a team at a different stage, willing to move draft choices (they also pick 15th and 32nd and have Toronto’s first pick next year plus their own), while the Oilers have Ales Hemsky, Dustin Penner, Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau, Andrew Cogliano and assorted others to offer.
Although Boston could have used Hemsky or Penner and I do believe Cogliano is going to have a solid NHL career, I think the Bruins were correct in passing on the opportunity if those players (along with picks) were offered up in exchang for the selection that was destined to turn into Tyler Seguin.
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE?
Lets blue sky here, using the names above and the things we know Edmonton had in their arsenal. I would value the following as being high calibre assets:
- Oilers 2011 1st rd pick (turned into the Nuge)
- Oilers 2010 2nd rd pick (Tyler Pitlick)
- Ales Hemsky
- Dustin Penner
- Andrew Cogliano
There was no way to know Edmonton would draft 1st overall in 2011, but allow me to suggest the hockey world believed at the 2010 draft that the Oilers would be in the 2011 lottery. Fair?
So, if the Oilers had offered their 2011 1st round entry draft selection and Ales Hemsky, would that have been enough? Would it have been fair value? If the Oilers have Taylor and Tyler instead of Hall, Nuge and Hemsky, are you happier today?
I don’t really think there was a deal available to the Oilers that would have secured the pick without a massive overpay. Boston was a strong cup contender summer 2010, and waiting a summer for their draft pick would have come at a high cost. Also, the Bruins could rightly have felt the Oilers might have been good enough with Taylor and Tyler to move that draft pick outside the top 5. Finally, although scouts often say a draft is "deep" or "poor" a year out, the specifics of the draft aren’t really known 12 months before it happens.
On the other hand, I’m not sure Oiler fans should feel that Seguin’s future is going to be better than that of Nugent-Hopkins. The Nuge is a wonderful young player, and the rookie seasons of Seguin and Nugent-Hopkins are interesting:
- Seguin’s rookie season: 74, 11-11-22 1.445×5/60; 1.81 5×4/60
- Nuge’s rookie season: 62, 18-34-52 1.985×5/60; 7.305×4/60
This isn’t fair, Seguin was a rookie amongst a veteran group with many players ahead of him, and the Nuge played a feature role once his feet hit the draft podium. However, for any rookie Nuge’s numbers are impressive, despite the sheltered minutes and despite the clear push on the powerplay.
I don’t think you can make a case (and please do if you can) that Tyler Seguin clearly has a better future than the Nuge. Different futures, very bright.
DID TAMBELLINI DO THE RIGHT THING?
Yes. From what we know, the Oilers could have acquired the Pitlick selection, but the pricetage included (at least) Jordan Eberle. As things have rolled out, Eberle has been an outstanding player and a big part of this team’s future.
Steve Tambellini has taken heat for free agent signings like Nikolai Khabibulin, an inability to address defense and other maladies that impact the team to this day, but not bagging the Seguin selection turned out well. Stopping at "Eberle" was the right decision.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The first glimpse is in black and white, and then time colors in the story and fills in the blanks. There are a lot of cliche’s about this, including "trust your scouts" and "the best trades are the ones you don’t make" which I believe apply to this situation. Edmonton still has Eberle and Hemsky, and they drafted an outstanding talent in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
In Stu We Trust.