In a perfect world, picking number one overall would come with some kind of guarantee. Something like "by winning this selection and taking X player, we guarantee said player will have a statue outside your building 25 years from today." Sadly, there are no draft guarantees and close only counts in horseshoes. What value DOES the first overall pick give a franchise?

There are no Bobby Orr’s in this year’s draft, no Sid the Kid and no Golden Jet or Brett. However, there are some talented young men ready to take their place in the world’s best hockey league.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are the modern day Oakland Seals. Put on the planet so others would know what bad luck really looks like, the Jackets were robbed of the opportunity to at least draft first overall by the hockey Gods. Many expected major changes in the management in Columbus but that hasn’t happened yet. IF Scott Howson is still the GM, one imagines he’ll be typing many pages in preparation for this year’s draft.

Having the first overall pick does have some value. A team like Columbus could promote the pick  as their new cornerstone and perhaps  negate some of the negativity surrounding the inevitable Rick Nash trade. Some, not all. If getting the #1 overall comes as part of the Nash package, even better.


For Scott Howson, it’s a busy summer. After going to the crossroads to sell his soul (can you think of any other way to keep the job?) he’ll need to find full value for Rick Nash and then build a foundation for the future via the draft.

Which is where the number one pick might come in. I tend to agree with those who say Howson may be relieved that the Jackets no longer own the #1 overall pick. Russia has had its own version of scorched earth in Ohio for years now and it has been a horrible experience for Columbus. Their former GM is on television now, their old coaches are selling tires in Wawa and their former scouts whittle to pass the time.

However, Columbus is in good position to "broker" a deal, get the guy who is number one on their list and deliver a new face of the franchise to their beleaguered Ohio town.



Now hear me out. I think there’s a framework of a thee-way deal here, although specifics can be difficult (the devil is in the details). From where I set, these teams have the following assets that may be available:

  • Edmonton assets: 1st overall pick, youth everywhere
  • Columbus assets: 2nd overall pick, Rick Nash, Fedor Tyutin
  • Toronto assets: 5th overall pick, Jake Gardiner, Nikoli Kulemin, others 


Maybe Edmonton grabs Fedor Tyutin or Jake Gardiner and #2 overall and maybe Columbus gets #1, #5 and Jake Gardiner and maybe Toronto acquires Rick Nash and some other things. I think there’s enough ego from Toronto, enough need from Edmonton and enough desperation in Columbus for this scenario to be possible.


There’s no easy way for the Oilers to parlay this #1 overall pick into two assets they can use but the Blue Jackets may hold the key. Edmonton has the hammer, and as we edge closer to draft day and teams decide their direction things will become more certain and Scott Howson may be in a position to satisfy Edmonton, walk off with the #1 overall selection and use it as an opportunity to both start a brand new day and give their fanbase a new franchise player.

That player? Nail Yakupov. Although he is in fact a Russian, Yakupov has played his junior hockey in Canada for the last two seasons and the CBJ draft failures from Russia (Zherdev and Filatov) played their junior hockey in the Motherland.

Furthermore, the entry level deals write themselves under the new CBA and the young man has expressed the desire to stay in North America and make his name in the NHL.

He’s also a big personality, more of an Ovechkin type. Here’s an example: 

I think Nail Yakupov is capable of convincing Howson to take him despite his birth certificate. If that happens, draft day could see an enormous trade involving your Edmonton Oilers.

  • Mabell

    Columbus has the 2nd pick and 18th pick. Oilers may be bluffing making it look like they want Ryan Murray , he is playing in the World Championship, which is odd. Oilers are hoping that Columbus wants him, and they will trade their #1 pick for the 2nd pick and the 18th pick.

    They will choose Yakupov and try to use the 18th pick to trade down to get a shot at Morgan Rielly.

    • Mabell

      That makes more sense.

      A crazier twist on that: Someone on the clock while Rielly is still on the board offers to include their pick + a proven NHL entry level stud D for the Oiler’s Yakupov + young assets. Which assets would it take?

  • Mabell

    Jake Gardiner is the big question, his signing could change everything this summer – not just the draft.
    There are some plausible reasons why he would come to Edmonton, which have been listed repeatedly. But the reality is we don’t know where he will end up – at least not until sometime in June.
    If however Tambo is able to sign Schultz, the obvious draft pick is Yakapov; creating an interesting problem with Hull, Eberle, RNH, Yakapov as 4 of the top 6. This leaves Gagner, Paajarvi, Hartikainen and Hemsky to fill out the remaining two spots.
    On the back end the addition of Shultz provides at top 5 of Witney, Petry, Smid, N. Schultz, and J. Schultz. With Teubert & Sutton as 6 /7. Lots of left-handed prospects are on the way – 2-3 years away from pushing for roster spots in all likelihood. Right-handed prospects – not much in the system besides Blain.
    Paajarvi and Hartikainen bring some size, reasonable contracts/cost and are still developing. I can’t see them being moved this year.
    Gagner and Hemsky? If they aren’t in the top 6 they don’t fit in…..Hemsky especially.
    Potter and Peckham appear to be spare parts as well.
    So looking at what is needed:
    •Right handed D
    •2nd line centre
    •Goaltending? (2nd round pick this year? – Oscar Dansk maybe…)

    And what may be available to trade:
    Gagner, Hemsky, Omark, Peckham, Potter perhaps Martindale.
    There is a real opportunity to turn these assets into additional parts required.

    • TwoSkidoos

      Tuebert will still be a tweener this upcoming season and potter will be in the 6/7 with Sutton. Listening to what Tambo says I think he will likely continue to develop from within. Maybe sign Schultz if he can and maybe Garrison if the price is right but he won’t be looking at any high priced long term contracts right now.

      If he does manage to sign one Defenseman and Fedun returns to form, then the two spots he will need to improve are center and goalie. I see Gags in a package being used to find a bigger center. Could they package him up with picks and prospects to get Staal? Maybe depends what the Pens what in return. Staals a better player than Gags but I don’t think he is Gags and a 1st better. They put up similar points and Staal plays a more physical defensive game buts hes no Malkin.

      • RPG

        Not sure Garrison can be signed for “the right price.” He’ll be a very expensive UFA this summer, and if we want him, we’ll need to pay the big $$$. I wholehearted agree that Staal would/could/should be sought out. I’d even slightly overpay provided he signs an extension to stay. I believe Staal would be the answer to so many questions. That is all.

  • Dan the Man

    When teams trade quality for quantity they just about always lose. Unless the Oilers get something ridiculous like what Philly gave the Nords for Lindros I wouldn’t trade the number one pick.

  • knee deep in it

    What is with ON posters who talk about this kid as if he is a sure thing to score 40 goals in the NHL? What if he is no more than a Samsonov or Kovalenko, or worse, a team cancer like so many other me-first Russian scorers?

    Trade the pick.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I read that Melnyk is willing to pay to keep Karlsson but not break the bank. I wonder if ST would be willing to pay him the 6.5mil say for 3 yrs and give up the draft picks required to sign an RFA.

    Karlsson is the puck moving dman the Oilers need, he’s established in the NHL,and I dont think the Oilers will be a lottery team next year either, plus that still gives the Oilers the chance to take Yakupov in the draft.

  • knee deep in it

    the three way with Columbus and Toronto is complex and improbable but you can certainly throw in enough pieces to be fair value.

    Edmopnton – 5th overall, Johansen
    Columbus – 1st + 2nd overall, Gagner, Schenn
    Toronto – Nash, Pitlick

    Edmonton gets its cornerstone centre to go with RNH. Columbus kick starts their rebuild. Toronto gets Nash and a guy whom you know Burke would love as he is a big American with skill.

  • Dan the Man

    Lt, the last time there was a clear number 1 it was Stamkos. Would you trade Stamkos for Gardiner+Murray? What about Kane? Hall? Nuge?

    No. No. No.

    Oilers will need to do better.

  • stevezie

    @ Infinibuild:

    Schultz becomes a free agent June 1. He can agree to a deal in principle prior to the draft, he just can’t sign it until July 1. Or at least that’s how it appeared to go down with Blake Wheeler and Boston.

    • DieHard

      This is my impression as well. Anaheim loses his rights on June 1st. This should make him a free agent and cannot sign with anyone until July 1st like all the other free agents. All other free agents are under contact until July 1st and cannot negotiate except their own team or to a team that trades for his rights. It seems Schultz should be able to negotiate with all teams during the month of June. Go Oilers.

  • stevezie

    There is a very good post on another forum showing the 5th overall pick from 2000 to 2010.Names like Chistov ,Wheeler,The two Schenns and Niederreiter pop up.

    The draft lists seem to say that the next four or five after Yak are all about the same.

    This draft isnt like the past two were you could have picked the number two and had a great player like Seguin or Landeskog.

    You might end up with a Schenn or god forbid a Chistov

    • a lg dubl dubl

      ^^ what he said.

      I’m tired of people saying “Don’t worry, Murray won’t be the next Cam Barker”. Same scenario in his draft year. Uber talented Russians, then a ‘slight drop’ to a nice safe D-man in Cam Barker at 3rd that Chicago can build their team around. I’m sure at the time nobody in Chicago thought Cam Barker was going to become Cam Barker. They all thought he was Ryan Murray and a sure thing.

      @gcw_rocks – thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t aware he is free to talk on June 1. That does help. I hope they can get him.

      • vetinari

        Actually I think the scouts thought a lot higher of Barker in his draft year than they do with Murray. It just goes to show that any draft pick is a ? even if they are picked in the top 5 or even first overall.

  • stevezie

    It might not be tradition, but couldn’t we draft Nail, try to sign the D we need, and if we fail at that then trade Nail?
    You know what’s a sweet Name? Nail.

  • TwoSkidoos

    Schultz has stated that he wants to go to Edmonton, and in my mind that leaves very little doubt as to where he is going to end up.

    That being said, I see no reason for the Oilers to draft a defenseman – Musil, Gernat, Klefbom, Fedun, etc, etc are already in the mix and if one of them comes through as a player then we’re in good shape. Chances are one of them will.

    I’m actually almost getting tired of the trade talk regarding the #1. As LT stated in his article – he’s the clear cut #1 and I think the Oil will be fine if they can pick up one or both of Schultz-Garrison.

    I really don’t think there’s any motivation for ST to trade Yakupov. Unless there’s an absolute blow you out of the water offer, keep him and let him score 40 goals with Eberle and Hall.

    *drooling at the thought of Yak-Eb-Hall

  • stevezie

    Remember, Nash has some say as to where he goes. Why would he want to go to Toronto, another team that struggles to make the playoffs. That’s why hewants out of Columbus. He is tired of playing for a loser. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • stevezie

    When you trade away the best player in the deal, you lose the deal. Oiler fans have seen enough deals for magic beans. Now that we have quality assets, you’re proposing to split it up into more magic beans?

    Lowe is that you? Trying to soften the blow prior to another absolutely stupid trade??

  • stevezie

    I think signing Schultz before the draft would change everything for the Oilers. There would be no need to draft a defenceman They would then keep their first overall unless they can pry Johansen fron Columbus or Huberdeau from Florida. A strong center would then be priority.

    • stevezie

      I think the problem with banking on Schultz is that the draft happens first. If they build him into a plan and let it impact the draft decisions but are unable to land him then what…

      But I think its less risky than trading #1 for ‘hope he isn’t the next Cam Barker’ d-man. Barker was 3rd overall, at the time just ‘a bit’ behind the Russians taken before him… Some guys named Ovechkin and Malkin.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    Three way deal that everyone wins.
    Edmonton gets 5th overall pick, Johansen, Tyutin.
    Columbus gets 1st and 2nd pick, Gagner, Paajarvi, Gardiner, Kulemin
    Toronto gets Nash
    What team doesn’t win in this deal?

    • Who doesn’t win this deal? The Oilers don’t not only do they downgrade 1st overall for 5th overall and a mediocre defenseman in Tyutin but they trade Gagner AND Paajarvi for Johansen. BOO! Terrible trade, but thanks for setting back the rebuild a year.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    The consensus of the scouts is that after Yakupov there is a very big drop in talent.
    That means that the real NHL player you get in the trade would have to be compatible to Yak as the draft pick might only be a marginal NHLer or worse.

    The chances of any team offering anything like that are zero.

    • Lowetide

      I would absolutely disagree with the description of the #2 overall pick as “marginal NHLer or worse.”

      There’s no evidence to suggest that Ryan Murray is going to be a marginal NHL player, or Grigorenko or countless others.

      Yakupov is the clear #1, that is a fact. Beyond that, I think hyperbole is having a heyday with the rest of the players in this draft.

      Not just your post, sliderule. Pretty much everywhere.

      • Bucknuck

        LT, what do you think of Galchenyuk?

        I really think he might go second to Columbus, rather than Grigo. Put up Grigo-like numbers a year earlier, and while he’s spent the entire season injured, I think it’s possible for him to catch up.

        What are your thoughts?

      • stevezie

        I think Sliderule is a bit over the top, but its a valid point. Ryan Murray or whoever may turn out to be a superstar, or they may not. In the case of Murray its realistically 3-5 years away unless he someone becomes a superstar top 2 d-man before he is 21 which is pretty unrealistic to plan on.

        So the point is if Yakupov is as close to a sure thing as there is in the draft, every other scenario represents great risk.

        My issue with the scenario you laid out is that it would send a clear message this team is still years away from being competitive. I see drafting Murray this late in the rebuild as a major step backwards or at least a ‘hold the progress for a few years’ type of move. Its just not realistic to draft an 18 year old D man and expect him to be a difference maker. If the Oilers wanted a D man they should have drafted one in the beginning of the rebuild,not now.

        That said, the 3 way deal with Toronto you suggest is the first scenario I’ve heard that makes me think it might be possible. It does seem plausible. I hope not.