We have been operating under the general understanding that the top of the draft is written in stone. By the time Edmonton drafts at No. 4 overall, all of Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi will be off the board. A funny thing happened at the Memorial Cup, and Matt Tkachuk may have pushed his way into the conversation. What happens if Tkachuk goes No. 3?

Most Oilers fans I speak to are pretty excited about the idea of Matt Tkachuk patrolling the portside beside Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He appears to be a bona fide offensive player and, while it is never guaranteed, if he can bring most of that offense to the NHL Edmonton will have a gem.

Or will they?

Elliotte Friedman 30 Thoughts

  • Friedman: Matt Tkachuk is “gaining momentum,” as one executive put it, days after the London
    Knight bulled his way through the Memorial Cup. You know the NHL’s
    preoccupation with skilled power forwards, and he certainly qualifies.Conventional wisdom is Auston Matthews goes first to Toronto, with
    Patrik Laine following to Winnipeg. I think we all expected Jesse
    Puljujarvi to go third, but it sure sounds like Tkachuk is pushing his
    way into the picture. 
  • Source

In looking at the 2016 entry draft, the prospects from No. 4 to No. 9
(or so) are all over the place based on published rankings.

International Scouting Services

  1. Auston Matthews
  2. Patrik Laine
  3. Jesse Puljujarvi
  4. Matt Tkachuk
  5. Pierre-Luc Dubois
  6. Alex Nylander
  7. Logan Brown
  8. Jakob Chyrchrun
  9. Tyson Jost
  10. Mikhail Sergachev

Red Line Report

  1. Auston Matthews
  2. Patrik Laine
  3. Jesse Puljujarvi
  4. Matt Tkachuk
  5. Pierre-Luc Dubois
  6. Jake Bean
  7. Tyson Jost
  8. Alex Nylander
  9. Jakob Chyrchrun
  10. Dante Fabbro

Hockey Prospect.com

  1. Auston Matthews
  2. Patrik Laine
  3. Jesse Puljujarvi
  4. Pierre-Luc Dubois
  5. Matt Tkachuk
  6. Olli Juolevi
  7. Logan Brown
  8. Mikhail Sergachev
  9. Clayton Keller
  10. Tyson Jost

If the Columbus Blue Jackets take Tkachuk, the initial reaction (for me) would be that the Oilers grab a pretty good fit in Puljujarvi. He is a righty winger, the Oilers have only Jordan Eberle among the established scorers on the right side.

The second reaction? That No. 4 selection could be more valuable.

  • Mark Scheig, The Hockey Writers: There was some talk that Columbus might do something interesting at
    third. I had multiple people say watch the Blue Jackets at third, not
    because they will trade, but because of who they might take.
  • Source

Would Winnipeg move a defenseman for that pick, thus drafting both Finns? Probably nothing, but there is some rumble out there. What about Calgary? Puljujarvi would be a grand prize for them—although a high profile trade between the two teams would seem impossible.

Interesting times.

  • I’m just impressed the 4th overall currently holds as much value as it does. The fact this kid is even being mentioned in the conversation, not to mention other players of different positions being available and valuable at that pick, make the 4th overall a carte blanche of choice.

    No one would blame a team for drafting the Russian defender at number 4, nor would they cry false if Dubious got picked up. It really seems if there’s a player outside the top 3 you covet, then you need the 4th overall selection. Now that may sound stupid, but the fact that after the top three, so many players enter the conversation at number 4, I think speaks to the relative depth of this draft. Sure it’s not like last year where every player in the first 2 rounds is likely to turn into a NHL player, but I do think this draft will produce some exceptional talent deep into the first round.

    Where and who the Oilers pick I think will all be based on who they trade / sign.

    If for example they do trade Hall, but go grab Lucic, Then the team has Lucic, Pouliot, and Maroon on LW. Not to mention that college free agent they just picked up. Bit of a log jam to then go and draft Tkachuk.

    Exciting times.

  • Curry is Messy Eh?

    I just watched an interview at the combine with Jesse.
    Tall and confident. Columbus WILL take him.

    Oilers would be in heaven if they got him. A cheap player in the line up with top 3 -6 talent. Don’t have to protect him. Pouliot feels the ejection seat.

  • Bullets Hockey

    If the Oilers were to offer sheet Seth Jones to the tune of 7 years @ 5.5 million per…..the Blue Jackets would end up with draft picks 3, 4, 32, 34, 63 and 65 in the first 3 rounds at the draft. Something tells me they would be open to this especially if expansion is announced.

    • Zarny

      Right, because CBJ trade away Ryan Johansen to balk at paying Seth Jones the contract anyone would reasonably assume they’d sign him for when they made the trade lol.

      I suspect CBJ would match 7 yrs @ $5.5M/yr without thinking. If you want CBJ to walk away from Jones you are going to have to make the contract a lot more unpalatable than that.

        • Zarny

          Right, and now you’re paying Seth Jones the same as Drew Doughty before Jones has ever played a full season as a 1st pairing D.

          That’s really your plan?

          • Zarny

            As a rookie, Drew Doughty led LA with 23:49 min a game. Doughty has been top pair and led LA in TOI every season he’s played.

            Jones averaged less than 20 min a game on Nsh 3rd pair for 2.5 seasons.

            Doughty had 27 pts as a rookie followed by 59 and 40 pts. Jones had 25 pts as a rookie followed by 27 and 31.

            One of these things is not like the other lol?

            I really like Jones, but he’s no Drew Doughty.

          • Bled Of Colour

            Drew Doughty also didn’t have players like Weber and Josi ahead of him on the roster. I think Jones’ numbers could be quite different if he did get those top minutes.

          • Zarny

            You think Jones’ numbers could be quite different.

            I know what Doughty’s numbers are.

            And yet you would pay them the same. That’s a lot of risk and inadvisable.

          • McRaj

            While I completely agree with you that Jones is no Doughty, nor do I expect he can be. But salaries have gone up and if Sekera is getting 5.5, Jones will get more. I too do not think Jones is worth 7M today but if the only way to get him is a 7 by 7 offer sheet, I’d do it. It may be over payment for a year or two but top pairing D command that kind of salary.

          • Zarny

            I’m aware of inflation. The salary cap was $64.3M when Doughty resigned and has gone up 11% since.

            Jones isn’t worth $6.3M in 2011-12 or $7M in 2016.

            If you are lucky 7 x 7 for Jones is only an over-payment for a year or two. It could very well end up being an over-payment every single year of the contract. Jones being a bona fide top pairing D is not a given and that is the risk.

            Jones may some day be better than Sekera some day, but that day isn’t today. It’s a given Jones will be a top pairing D just like it was a given Yakupov will be a top line 30 G scorer.

          • McRaj

            Our right side could improve significantly if we were to offer sheet and sign Jones and then trade Nuge for Faulk. Our D would go from one of the worst to one of the best.

  • A-Mc

    I think its a dangerous game getting emotionally attached to who we could land at #4.

    The absolute necessity of this years off season is to land 2 decent RHD and yet most of you are wanting to draft another winger.

    We can only ignore our problem for so long; eventually we need to land some defensemen if we want to progress to reach our goal. #4 plays a key part in achieving that goal.

    • Zarny

      In a fit of comedy, some actually trashed my comment that you trade the pick if Ana offers Lindholm.

      Because why would you want one of the best young D in the league when you can have another 18 y/o winger lol.

      For the record, I don’t expect Ana to offer Lindholm for the pick. The point is simply that any bona fide D is more valuable to the Oilers than Tkachuk or Puljujarvi.

  • Bled Of Colour

    OK….so lets tell Columbus that we are going to offer sheet Seth Jones. Tell them they can have those 3 draft picks next year or they can trade us Seth Jones right now for picks 4 and 32. Obviously you would have to be assured that Jones would sign….could also then lock him up for 8 years doing it as a trade.

  • Bled Of Colour

    As I posted earlier…..

    Lets tell Columbus that we are going to offer sheet Seth Jones. Tell them they can have those 3 draft picks next year or they can trade us Seth Jones right now for picks 4 and 32. Obviously you would have to be assured that Jones would sign….could also then lock him up for 8 years doing it as a trade. Maybe an 8 year deal can get done for a little less than 7.

      • Bled Of Colour

        Why would I add nurse….Columbus is in serious cap trouble….having picks 3 and 4 this year would be huge for them. If I was them i”d take picks 4 and 32 now instead of maybe ending up with picks 10, 40 and 70 next year!

        • The Whispererer

          Because you are looking at things only from one side…your home team. You will be competing with 28 other teams. Also, you have no way of knowing that an offer sheet will not be matched; these GM’m are professional managers who will have other options in play. For instance, would Columbus accept 4+32 if Carolina offered them Faulk in a straight across trade ? They could fit his $3.8 cap hit within their existing structure.

          Nurse’s cap hit is just over $1.7 for 2 more years; that would give Columbus room to also add Pulujaarvi’s ELC this year.

          • Bled Of Colour

            To start with, if the cap stays flat Columbus currently doesn’t have 3.8 in cap space.

            They are handcuffed by big NMC contracts that they will have to protect if they announce expansion.

            Obviously there are other teams in play, but Edmontons picks are pretty damn attractive and the Oilers are in a position where they could actually take back some salary to further help out Columbus.

          • The Whispererer

            Really ?

            If you use NHLnumbers.com they have approx $4.6 in cap space. If you use General Fanager they have about $3.4.

            Neither of those takes into account that they can free up an additional ~ $800k by placing 1 of their 2 backup goalies in the AHL.

          • McRaj

            Faulk’s cap hit is 4.8. And if the Oilers were to trade #4 and Nurse, I can guarantee you that they would get a more proven D-Man then Seth Jones. Heck you could probably trade the 4th and Nurse for Faulk and #13.

          • Bondo11

            Hard to say, the ownership in Carolina doesn’t sound too stable these days with the sons of Peter Karmanos taking him to court?

            It’ll be interesting to see what happens with them over the next month or two?

            Karmanos may be looking to dump some salaries and stay just above the cap floor?

            Nurse & #4 pick for Faulk would definitely give Francis something to think about? I doubt they would add the #13 to the deal though.

            * Edit: I should have looked at Carolina’s current cap situation. They’re at 40.6MM with only 14 players signed. With having to sign another 8 or 9 players, they’ll have no problem getting to the current cap floor of 52.8MM. I don’t see them actively looking to dump salaries.

          • Randaman

            Who is your top 3 Madjam? If you still think it is Hall, Eberle & Nuge, you are sadly mistaken.

            Your idiotic thoughts about keeping the top nine together while drastically improving the defense, throws your credibility right out the window.

            Just sayin…

            P.S. The new top three is McDavid, Drai and Hall in my opinion

        • Zarny

          There is a good chance pick 32 never plays in the NHL. On average, your talking about a player who is NHL caliber but 3rd line ish.

          So you think CBJ is going to trade Jones, the D they acquired by trading away their franchise C, for a 18 y/o winger and a 3rd line player…maybe.

          CBJ isn’t Chi and Jones isn’t Saad. You’re dreaming in technicolor if you think CBJ values adding two wingers and some maybes over one winger and their franchise D.

          The fact that you want CBJ to walk away from Jones doesn’t mean they will lol.

          • Bled Of Colour

            I’m not saying they have to keep the picks!
            I’m saying at some point picks 4 and 32 look a lot better than 10, 40 and 70 if they think they will lose him to an offer sheet.

  • Free Bird

    Some of the trade scenarios proposed here are nuts. If we’re going to make wild speculation about whatever Columbus is planning to do at #3, then I would guess they are trying to trade down a few spots so they can use the draft value to get another team to take one of their bad contracts. This would give them the flexibility to sign Jones (and match any offer sheet) while providing enough cap space to fill out the rest of their roster.

    It doesn’t sound exciting from an Oilers’ perspective, especially since it means Jones would stay in Columbus, but given where the cap is heading, I imagine salary dumping will be a primary driver around a lot of this summer’s deals.

  • Bondo11

    So here’s the skinny on offer sheets. It’s a long post, but worth the read –

    The Offer Sheet value is determined by taking the total value (salary, and signing/reporting bonuses), and dividing it by either the number of seasons the offer is for or five – whichever is lower. This means that the offer sheet value is the same as the AAV if the offer is for five years or less, but for six and seven year offer sheets the offer sheet value will be significantly higher than the actual AAV. The value increases each year, based on the growth in the league’s average salary.

    For example, a seven year contract with a cap hit of $7 million would have an offer sheet value of $9.8 million ($49m total value divided by 5) – worth four first round picks instead of a first, second and third like a five year, $7m per year contract would be.

    A few extra restrictions to note:

    The picks must be a team’s own, original draft picks
    If a team has traded their pick previously, they can trade to get it back
    All draft picks must be for the next draft, with the exception of multiple first round picks
    When having to give up multiple first round picks teams get an extra year, but they are the next draft picks available when the offer sheet is submitted so no picking and choosing
    A team can have more than one offer sheet outstanding, as long as they aren’t using the same picks.

    Seth Jones is not worth more than a 1st, 2nd, & 3rd pick. If the offer is for $7mm, the term can’t be more than 5 years.

    If it’s $7mm x 6yrs, we’re giving up two 1st’s, a 2nd, and a 3rd.

    If it’s $7mm x 7yrs, we’re giving up 4 1st round picks!

      • Bondo11

        It really does!

        I was unaware of the compensation details until I dug up this info.

        As was previously mentioned, I think we’re going to see teams in cap trouble try to dump salaries at the draft, through trades, in order to have the space to sign guys like Jones…..

  • A-Mc

    Call me crazy but I’m not convinced Jones is anything more than a 2nd pair D at best. When it comes to this player, i feel like draft pedigree is overshadowing his actual performance.

  • madjam

    Ottawa should trade picks with Oilers and give them C.Ceci to fascilitate it . Oilers at #12 could draft another defenseman in the Hulk C.McAvoy (RD) or D.Fabbro .

  • @Hallsy4

    I think the Canes would do what McRaj suggested trading Faulk for the 4th and Nurse. I think in the long run the Canes actually win that Trade. I might rather trade Drai for Faulk than Nurse and the 4th…. I think both Drai and Nurse will be great players, but RNH can take Drais spot on Halls line immediately, and we could draft a centre at 4 to replace him in the future, like Dubois. I think Nurse will be a rock in the future

  • Kevwan

    IF the Jackets are taking Nationality into account, Tkachuk is probably the pick.

    American and 3rd generation NHLer would be easier to promote in the Columbus market than a Finn.

    That said, they probably take Puljujarvi because he’s the better prospect right now.