There’s a chance that the "top level" forwards will be gone by the time Stu MacGregor and the Edmonton Oilers step to the podium at the 2013 draft. If so, where do they go? Reach for a lesser forward? Pick a defenseman (like Darnell Nurse, in video)? Trade down?

In his time away from the Oilers, Craig MacTavish no doubt saw a few interesting things he’ll bring to the procurement table this summer for the Oilers. A recent Terry Jones article contained a couple of MacT quotes that got me thinking:

  • MacT: “We’re definitely going to look at doing something with that pick. I think we’d be very receptive to moving back and picking up another pick potentially."
  • More MacT: “It’s a very deep draft in my mind. There are tons of players out there who excite me. Or possibly we could pick up somebody that could help us immediately and another pick.”

The Oilers have moved up in the draft (dealt two picks to move up for Riley Nash) and moved down (dealt the Zack Parise pick for Pouliot and Jacques) with results that could be described as "infamous" and remain understated; however, with the club already owning their jacks and kings, perhaps this plan allows them to improve depth.

Personally, the only way I can see it happening is if the following players come off the board 1-6:

  1. Seth Jones
  2. Nathan MacKinnon
  3. Jonathan Drouin
  4. Slava Barkov
  5. Sean Monahan
  6. Elias Lindholm

Should that happen, Edmonton would be left with an abundance of blue (Nurse, Risto Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov) but perhaps a bit of a gap between those six forwards and the next level (Nichushkin, who may fall due to contract and performance concerns, Hunter Shinkaruk, Max Domi, Curtis Lazar).


Just thinking out loud, but maybe you deal #7 overall to Winnipeg for #13 and #43. If Curtis Lazar (above) is still there, the Oilers continue the Oil King caravan of tough, physical players. The club would have no need to push him into immediate action, rather allowing him to mature in the WHL–something that paid dividends with Jordan Eberle.


The Oilers received good value (so far) from the BCJHL last season when selecting Jujhar Khaira from the Prince George Spruce Kings. He had a fine season at Michigan Tech and is one of the best ‘forwards with size’ among the organization’s prospects.

Although it might be awkward, the Oilers could use that second round selection on Adam Tambellini of the Surrey Eagles. He’s on his way to North Dakota (NCAA), so there’s no worry about him needing to be signed any time soon. He’s also an emerging power forward–this article has him currently at 6.02, 205–and has a scorer’s touch.


History tells us selecting defensemen at the top of the draft rarely results in true value. If the Oilers don’t feel it’s wise to use the 7th overall pick on a defender, perhaps trading down is the right call.

  • Word to the Bird

    Here’s my problem with this article:

    This preaches exactly what we’ve been trying to do for years. 2003 was arguably the best draft class ever, and what did we do? Oh yeah we traded down and lost a star player in the process. Sound familiar to you yet? And unless the power forward is Nichushkin or Monahan, just trade the pick. You want to improve the defense? Don’t do it through the draft, because it will take 2-5 years.

  • I would take the 7th pick and use it on Monohan or Guathier. Don’t need another defenceman unless we intend on trading it for G.Rheinhart.
    The Islanders were not thrilled with him anyway. The Islanders are absolutely ripe for a trade. They made the playoffs this year and are looking to improve over that going into next season. Especially if they move to Brooklyn.

  • Reg Dunlop

    What about moving up in the draft……….swap picks with a team above us offering them a prospect plus a second round, and finally get a legitimate first line center ( Barkov) with size?

    These players do not get traded so drafting is the only option.

    • I’ve been saying this since the Oilers won those two mieaningless games.

      That might have been good for the players but sheesh that hurt organizationally, but I digress, it’s now up to the management team to be aggressive and have them move the Oilers up.

      The players did there part at the end of the season, time for the GM to pony up and do something for the team.

      Move up, the teams are there to deal with.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Even without those 4 pts the Oilers still finished 26th, instead of 24th. I think they’d still have been out of reach of Barkov. I do agree though about the need to move up into that required position to get him.

        We’ll soon see if MacT is of the same aggressive mindset.

  • vetinari

    Not opposed to moving down with the #7 but I think the take-back should be a later first rounder and an NHL depth player who can play 3rd or 4th line minutes. Either that, or package up some AHL depth (Hamilton, Plante, Teubert) and the #7 for a later first rounder and a better quality NHL roster player. Ideally, target non-playoff teams with high payrolls (such as Philly) who might be willing to part with something of value for futures and prospects. The Oil may be even able to do this a couple of times in the first round if the chips fall in the right places…

  • Spydyr

    The only things worth doing in my opinion would be taking both 2nds, plus the 7th, and trying to move up. If it takes a Hamilton as well (do it) I don’t care. That should be solid value for the Barkov range (3 2nds), or a Hemmer, 2nd, 7th, for the Preds pick. They need offense and it could be something they look at. Some might say over pay, I say we need final building blocks, not further development projects in number; we need quality. Conversely, if that’s not possible, package both 2nds, up and try to move up to take D man Hagg if he’s around.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Yep…I’m in the Nurse fan club as well. Plus, just think of all the cheesy (but lovable) play on words Mean Gene could use with a ‘Nurse’ in our lineup!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    We did not draft defence the last 3 years until later . At 15 Plante was a bust . Time to start proper rebuild with defence in mind . Top 3 look good and all three look to be NHl’ers fairly quickly . Jones , Zadorov and Ristolainen. I would like them to also trade with Winnipeg for J.Trouba . If the youth cannot crack lineup now with our defence so weak as it is , I don’t know if they’ll be much better soon anyways . Drafting a forward just delays the process of rebuilding . We can trade for the forwards more readily than trading for upscaled defence . Only Klefbom seems ready to try and make jump .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Trade pick and Gagner for Philly’s pick and Couturier. Or Gagner and our pick for Yandle and their pick. Then at that spot, draft Gautier. Big and strong down the middle for years to come. Eventually your centres are Nuge, Couturier, Lander, and Gautier. That could be an impressive line up of centres.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Does anyone think it would be better to grab one of the big mean defencemen, or should we try and develop Tuebert into a more complete player, since he’s already big and mean? I mean are any of these top defensive prospects going to be better NHLers than Fistric or Smid?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Really like Couturier. The Flyers have done a good job with him, teaching him how to play away from the puck. I’d give Philly that 7th and a prospect for Sean Couturier next month.

    Couturier and Rinaldo, in exchange for the 7th and Paajarvi. Zac Rinaldo is one of the most violent fighters I’ve seen in a while. Fights to injure in some cases. Edmonton needs a kid of ill will like that.

    • I suppose the question is would Philly make this trade? Personally I think you’d have to give them Gagner to get this done as they get a less gritty but more skilled and proven 6 year vet, who apparently has a great attitude and work ethic and stuff. We get one of the best up and coming two way centres that can play with some skill and physicality, that likely isn’t as talented as Gagner, but would be playing with the likes of Yak.

      Hypothetically, if Nichushkin and Lidholm are available at 7 but Monahan is not, do you reach down and get the other big centre that goes in the first round, Gautier, or do you take a chance on the big Russian winger with an attitude? He could be the next Malkin.

  • Citizen David

    It’s been bothering me for a long time so I have to address it. Everyone seems to love Gauither because he’s 6’5 and hate Lazar cause he’s 6′.

    Since they seem to love using Bob Mackenzie to “prove” Gauthier is better here’s the numbers:

    Bob Mackenzie’s January Ranking: Gauthier #13, Lazar #25
    Therefore Gauthier must be better right?

    From the games they played post January ranking:

    Gauthier GP 19, G 6, A 3, P 9, -2 Playoffs: GP 6, G 0, A 2, P 2, +1

    Lazar GP 21, G 15, A 9, P 24 +8 Playoffs GP 16, G 8, A 2, P 10, +3

    Back to Bob Mackenzie, what his list is, is asking NHL scouts to give their rankings and then averaging them all out. His end of season ranking only goes to #10 but if you read the article, it says that the only players who are not on the top ten on Bob’s list who received multiple top ten votes are Max Domi and… Curtis Lazar. So on the full list that would probably mean Lazar’s ranked #11-#15.

    • The only problem I have with your number’s are this, while Gauthier plays on a good team, he is the offence and one of the teams best player.

      While Lazar numbers are better, Lazar plays on a elite team full of top end talent, while not being the teams best player.

      This concerns me the most.

      While Lazar struggled at time this year, the Kings kept rolling.

  • paul wodehouse

    Everyone wants to draft a player and hope that McT can be a miracle worker via the trade market But no one wants to trade Ebs, hall, Nug, yak, schultz or kleffboom. Hemsky and Magy have zero trade value, Quality UFAs won’t come here and we have tons of holes in our lineup. So trading Gagner will fix all our problems. This club is in big trouble unless we trade one of the kids and our draft pick. We need players that can make an instead impack in our squad or we will be drafting in this position next year.