The Edmonton Oilers are locked and loaded to pick No. 3 overall at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, but as we get closer the thought of dealing the pick for immediate help moves front and center. Would the Oilers move out of the first round? Unlikely. Move down? Depends on the return.
As Robin Brownlee indicated in his article today the No. 3 pick may be in play, depending on what’s available. He mentioned Evander Kane, your mileage may vary. The point being, if Edmonton trades out they should get good value, and trading down might give them a nice player and of course a later first round pick. Let’s break down the top 15 overall, assuming Edmonton’s needs are center, size and defense.
- C Sam Bennett—Some questions about strength/durability.
- D Aaron Ekblad—He’ll go No. 1 or 2. Possible franchise defenseman.
- C Leon Draisaitl—Big center with possession skills.
- C Sam Reinhart—Highly skilled player, some say he’ll find a home on the wing.
Edmonton will have two outstanding prospects still on the board at No. 3 overall. In order to trade out, they’d need very good value (more than a second round pick, as an example) UNLESS they valued someone in the second tier equally.
- L Michael Dal Colle—Something tells me he’ll be a Canuck draft day. NY Islanders are crazy.
- L Nick Ritchie—He’s a monster. High risk because we don’t know about offense.
- R Jake Virtanen—Power winger who can score goals. Outstanding release, very physical.
- L Nikita Scherbak—Skilled, rugged winger impressed with range in his WHL debut.
Now, I want to point a couple of things out. There are many prospects in play inside the top 15 not listed here, but one doubts Edmonton has targeted William Nylander. Again, you may feel a player should be on the list, and that’s cool, I’m looking for player who fit our original idea (size, bigger, etc) along with being a center or defenseman.
As you can see, there are no centers and no defenders, meaning (in my opinion) Edmonton would need to acquire an established defenseman or center as part of the deal to trade down.
WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
As an example, let’s use our good friends the Toronto Maple Leafs. Let’s say both Ekblad and Draisaitl are gone, and let’s also say Toronto has a powerful urge to draft Sam Bennett or Sam Reinhart. The Leafs could offer a sweetener to trade up from No. 8 to No. 3, but it would have to be center or defense.
As the Leafs don’t have impact C or D who are young enough to grow with the cluster (Gardiner and Kadri are good, but not that good) chances are Edmonton will stand and deliver at No. 3 overall with Bennett or Reinhart.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The No. 3 pick may well be in play, but the priorities that have to be addressed remain the same:
- Skilled men with size who can play with the brilliant kids.
The Edmonton Oilers have been dancing around this issue (under previous GMs) for years now, and one of the results is inertia and poor results. Adding another high pick who may play this season is interesting, but not terribly compelling. Adding a 25 minute a night defenseman or a center with size who can play in the top 6?
Bold. There’s one problem: you have to find a partner.