“We’re not really in a position where we can trade assets for draft choices right now”

Craig MAcTavish5

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.


  • hallsyoilerforever5

    My guess the oilers will draft Draisaitl ; assuming Ekblad goes 1-2. The oilers will be drafting a good player, regardless that will either address their weakness in C or D.

  • RomZ

    From an organizational standpoint, I think it makes more sense to take a center. However passing up Ekblad will be extremely difficult if he falls to 3.

    Should be an interesting off season.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    JW, what makes people think Leon will slide past the Sabres? Big centres with skill don’t grow on trees, but yet everybody thinks Bennet or Reinhart will go before the big German.

    • Yea I think it would REALLY suck if both Drais and Ekblad went 1/2 lol. Bennett is great but we need the size 🙁

      Sabres need the scoring though which Rienhart/Bennett will probably be better at.

        • Jason Gregor

          Misleading to think Oilers drafted Pouliot for size. Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Corey Perry, Brent Burns were all available when they traded down.

          They made a horrible pick, but suggesting it was based solely on size is wrong. They made a bad evaluation of a player, and it wasn’t because he was bigger than Parise.

          • Czar

            Except for this, you would be correct:
            “It was under the old rules and we’d scouted Parise every game from February on. All the clutching and grabbing wore him out. He couldn’t play in the [NCAA] playoffs,” Prendergast told Matheson. “As an organization we had to get bigger. We liked Pouliot, and we really liked [Jean-Francois] Jacques a lot and got him in the second round.

          • Jason Gregor

            That is Prendergast trying to explain his picks. Horrible decision and one of the reasons he was canned a few years later.

            When they made trade they didn’t know Pouliot or Jacques would be available. Plus if they really wanted to get bigger, Kesler and Perry were still available, not to mention Richards who was 100x more physical than Pouliot.

            Willis is bang on that that pick screwed over the organization for years…and while the Oilers did need size, Pouliot was not the guy to pick. Nine 11 years later that pick still irks me.

            What is worse is that in 2009 Tambellini picked Pouliot over Brodziak…F me, those were dumb decisions…

          • Pendergast was a failure with the Oilers and was a failure at Hockey Canada. The fact he says he liked those players over the ones available, the fact he left RNH off team Canada along with many other poor choices are evidence of this.

          • It was under the old rules and we’d scouted Parise every game from February on. All the clutching and grabbing wore him out. He couldn’t play in the [NCAA] playoffs. As an organization we had to get bigger. We liked Pouliot, and we really liked [Jean-Francois] Jacques a lot and got him in the second round. It looked good at the time. If we could do it over, we’d do it over, but we can’t.

            That’s Kevin Prendergast, explaining the selection of Pouliot over Parise to Jim Matheson. My emphasis.

            Sure, the selection of Pouliot wasn’t solely about size – the Oilers made a bad judgment call on which of the big forwards they should take, and it could be argued got burned by injuries too.

            But the decision to pass on Parise sure sounds like it was a choice made because he was 5’11”.

          • Jason Gregor

            Still shows they had no clue how to evaluate. If they were worried about Parise’s size, fine, it was still wrong to think that, but then at least draft a guy with size who could play.

            Being worried about Parise didn’t explain why they couldn’t have taken Getzlaf or the other skilled big guys at #17.

            That is what I was getting at. It wasn’t just not wanting size, it was not having the ability to assess which player with size could play.

            Pouliot was such a bad pick it is laughable…ugh..

          • I think we’re on the same page here; I was just responding to the idea that the Oilers should automatically take Draisaitl over Bennett/Reinhart because size.

            Nixing Bennett because he’s 6’/178 or Reinhart for being 6’1″/185 just isn’t something I can get behind.

            If Draisaitl’s honestly the best of the three in the minds of the scouts, absolutely take him. Just make sure you’re grabbing the guy you think will be the best player.

          • No. Always, always, always draft BPA.

            If you have needs, trade down. Yakupov at No. 1 isn’t a fit for the team? Move down in the draft and grab one of the defencemen. Or trade the pick for immediate help that does address need.

            Drafting for need helped get the Oilers into this mess in the first place.

  • RomZ

    I enjoy this time of year. The draft is coming, free agency, compliance buyouts, possible trades. There is a lot going on.

    I watched so many playoff games, I’m going through withdrawal. Fifa is not doing it for me.

  • Czar

    Perron and Scrivens are far superior to anything they would have gotten with the picks. If he can trade 2nd and 3rd round picks for actual NHL players I’m in favor of that every time!

    • Czar

      You and I and most people here only know what we read and we form an opinion about the player based on the author’s writing talents.

      Like most we don’t have a clue, we never see the players live and we are not scouts.

    • Zarny

      Yep, and Benoit Pouliot, Gilbert Brule & Devin Setoguchi were all projected to become superior players to Anze Kopitar.

      The scouting reports indicate there is virtually no skill gap between Reinhart, Bennett and Draisaitl.

      Reinhart and Bennett get the nod in the rankings because of their “hockey IQ” and “heart”. What could possibly go wrong with that projection?

      • ubermiguel

        “Hockey IQ” and “heart” are lacking quite a bit in this organization. I’ll take that over a few pounds and couple of inches on Draisitl. And like Willis points out, we aren’t talking 5’10” guys here.

  • Czar

    I don’t think it helped letting other teams know who we were drafting to begin with at number 3- Draisaitl. Some tire kicking but obviously nothing of significance . I suspect it will remain that way as far as draft goes , seeing as the player they want should readily be available to them . Why move up unless Ekblad is much better than the others ? Think it and live with it speech – status quo . No need to beat around the bush .


    There’s a lot of similarities between this current draft and the ’06 draft.

    The top 4 picks were 3 skilled centers – Toews, Staal and Backstrom.. and a highly touted Dman – Erik Johnson.

    We all know how that #1 pick turned out for the Blues.

    While Ekblad may be seen as a lock for #1, no one wants to “pull a Davidson” and pass up a potential star center for a late blooming Dman.

    I’m thinking the Panthers take Reinhart #1.

    The real conundrum is if our #3 is between Ekblad and Draisaitl, which is the better choice?

  • Jason Gregor

    I think that Bennett is the consensus better player than Draisaitl.
    However, I guess you have to trust your scouts, if they think Draisaitl is better, and not just bigger, then take him.

    But everyone in the entire world thinks Bennett is better than Draisaitl.

  • Strange Tamer

    It’s refreshing to hear an Oiler GM talk about fielding a team of actual NHL players. Of course it will be a moot point unless the pro scouting staff finally pulls their heads out of their asses.

    • Phuryous George

      Agreed. Kudos to MacT for not giving some generic ” we’ll have to wait and see what is out there, and evaluate our options” type answer.

      Shows he understands where the team is, and makes me believe he has a handle on direction that will allow him not to relay so much on scouts, and have his own input, unlike the talking head that had his job previously.

  • Zarny

    It’s the right message from MacT. The Oilers certainly don’t need another 18 y/o in the dressing room anytime soon.

    And given that scouts consider 2014 to be a mediocre class at best it’s probably the right year to be short a few picks.

    • camdog

      I was a kid when Gilmour broke into the league. All I know is I want a centre or d man who’s number 1 priority is winning. We have too many players whom number 1 priority isn’t winning. As to the Gilmour comment when he broke into the league, I can’t imagine he was much more than 165 pounds. Don’t know if Bennett is that type of player or not, but would love to get more guys like Gilmour on this team.