Craig MacTavish continued his rounds of the local media on Tuesday with an appearance on Oilers Now. In a wide ranging interview with host Bob Stauffer, MacTavish covered a lot of ground, but particularly interesting was his pragmatic view of what Edmonton needs to do at this year’s draft.
Recouping Draft Choices
The Oilers presently have no selections in the second or third rounds, which has led to speculation that the team might attempt to add picks in that range, perhaps in a deal that would see Sam Gagner leave Edmonton. MacTavish did his best to quash that speculation with his answer on that subject:
We’re not really in a position where we can trade assets for draft choices right now. We’re really on the other side of that. That’s why we don’t have a second, we don’t have a third; we traded those for immediate help, staffing our team now. I felt that at the trade deadline, with some of the players that we had, that we should have been able to bring in a second round draft choice, certainly for Ales Hemsky; we weren’t able to do that. I think there are teams that regret not paying that price the way that Ales played when he went to Ottawa…it’s unlikely that we’ll have a pick in the second or third round at this point. I haven’t had anything proposed to me that would lead me away from that.
That seems obvious and sensible, but “obvious and sensible” hasn’t always been the order of the day for the Oilers, and there’s a reasonable argument that whenever practical a team should be stocking up the organizational cupboard every year.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, that isn’t practical. They needed David Perron more than a second round pick; they needed Ben Scrivens more than a third round pick.
The situation hasn’t changed. Edmonton needs immediate help, and can’t afford to move the assets that would bring back those picks off the roster right now. The team has a finite amount of assets, and can’t afford to run around chasing tertiary needs when primary (on defence) and secondary (at forward) slots still need to be filled.
The No. 3 Pick
Stauffer also asked MacTavish whether he’d been in talks regarding the Oilers’ third overall selection:
Oh yeah, absolutely. I’ve had some fairly intriguing conversations at this point, both to go forward and to go back. At this point there’s nothing imminent. The pick is a highly sought-after asset on the open market, that’s for sure. Teams are trying to determine what the value is, what their situation is, what they’re willing to commit to that, as we are.
The “nothing imminent” line makes this mostly a “no news” statement, but the one interesting thing here is that the Oilers are keeping an open mind about both moving forward and moving back. There are those who (perhaps scarred by the 2003 debacle) are adamant that moving down never makes sense, but that kind of inflexibility isn’t a very desirable quality in a general manager. In that sense it’s good that the Oilers are open to perhaps sliding down in the draft if they can find a deal that makes sense for the team.
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