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Photo Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Oilers should keep their first round pick

On Saturday night, the Edmonton Oilers fell one spot in the 2018 draft to 10th overall. They should resist trading the pick.

It’s easy to see why the Oilers would trade their first: they need to upgrade on defence and the wing, they have few tradeable assets, and their first round pick won’t play immediately as opposed to whoever they acquire. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are in their prime and they can’t afford to waste another Art Ross-caliber season from the former. Zach Laing wrote about it here.

Still, the Oilers should keep their pick. Trading the pick would make an already thin Oilers prospect pool even thinner when they need cheap young players to fill in over the next few years.

Trading a high pick often hasn’t gone well for teams over the past decade.

2008: Calgary trades the 17th pick (D Jake Gardiner) and a second round pick (D Brian Dumoulin) to Los Angeles for LW Mike Cammalleri and a second round pick (Mitch Wahl).

2010: Boston trades the 15th pick (D Derek Forbort), D Dennis Wideman, and a 2011 third round pick (C Kyle Rau) to Florida for RW Nathan Horton and C Gregory Campbell.

Ottawa trades the 16th pick (RW Vladimir Tarasenko) to St. Louis for D David Rundblad.

2011: Columbus trades the 8th pick (C Sean Couturier), RW Jakub Voracek, and a third round pick (C Nick Cousins) to Philadelphia for C Jeff Carter.

2012: Carolina trades the 8th pick (D Derrick Pouliot), C Brandon Sutter, and D Brian Dumoulin to Pittsburgh for C Jordan Staal.

2013: New Jersey trades the 9th pick (C Bo Horvat) to Vancouver for G Corey Schneider.

2015: Los Angeles trades the 13th pick (D Jakub Zboril), D Colin Miller, and G Martin Jones to Boston for LW Milan Lucic.

Calgary trades the 15th pick (RW Zachary Senyshyn) and two second round picks (D Jeremy Lauzon and C Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson) to Boston for D Dougie Hamilton.

Edmonton trades the 16th (C Matt Barzal) and 33rd (C Mitchell Stephens) picks to the New York Islanders for D Griffin Reinhart.

2017: Arizona trades the 7th pick (C Lias Andersson) and D Anthony DeAngelo to the New York Rangers for C Derek Stepan and G Antti Raanta.

Top picks don’t get moved much.

I excluded the Phil Kessel and Bobby Ryan trades because those picks weren’t decided when Toronto and Ottawa traded them

When you’re trading a high draft pick for immediate help it almost always involves more than just a pick going the other way. Columbus had to add Voracek to the 8th overall pick to get Carter. Carolina included Sutter and Dumoulin in addition to their 8th overall pick to land Staal. Los Angeles and Calgary both gave up a lot for one year of Lucic and Cammalleri each.

How many of these trades would not be reversed if given the chance? Boston still trades for Horton. Calgary makes the Dougie Hamilton trade pretty easily. There’s a case for Schneider even with his struggles the past two seasons. Staal hasn’t cleared 50 points in Carolina, but they probably still do that trade. Arizona’s deal for Stepan and Raanta looks solid so far.

Los Angeles’ trade for Lucic is an underrated bad trade. The Kings traded a future 40-point defenceman, a goalie that would return a first round pick, and a high draft pick for one year of Lucic.

If the Oilers want an impact player it’ll likely cost more than just the 10th overall pick. The Oilers’ cupboards can’t afford to move that many picks or prospects.

Peter Chiarelli’s trade for Griffin Reinhart doesn’t lend much faith that he can win a trade with an even higher draft pick.

Then there’s expansion. Seattle is coming. If the Oilers keep their 2018 pick, that player will be exempt from the Seattle expansion draft if they enter the league for the 2020-21 season. That could help put the Oilers in contention for years, which should ultimately be the goal.

Yes, the Oilers need to improve and this might all be moot since Chiarelli probably doesn’t care about mortgaging the future when his job’s on the line. But the Oilers should focus on thelong-termm and resist finding a quick fix. It’s unlikely there’s a Dougie Hamilton-type trade out there, so using the pick is the Oilers’ best option.

  • 24% body fat

    agree, chia should not be allowed to sign off on any trades right now,

    his desperation mean, good players on good contracts will be gone. sigh.
    why cant we have nice things after we were given so many.

  • Hockey123

    Reinhart trade was one of the worst trades ever in the NHL. Strongest draft in over a decade and Cap problems we are seeing today. Should’ve been fired.

  • Hemmercules

    Chia wont be the least bit worried about the Seattle expansion. He might not even be a GM at that time. He’s in win now/job saving mode. I hope they keep the pick but if a decent winger that he feels can play with Mcdavid becomes available he will trade that pick in heart beat for immediate help.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    “Quick fixes” are not what the Oilers are looking for here….they are looking for good young-ish NHL vets with long but reasonable contracts. It’s not easy to find these guys but i feel the Oilers must try if the want to not “waste” more years of Leon and McD. Chia must be smart and work a hell of a lot more than he has in the past ! Do we still need to make picks? Yes but we need to win now as well. Can’t have it both ways so the Oilers must decide which direction they want to go!

  • Imrighturwrong

    I suggest everyone to google who has been picked at 10th place in the history of the draft…only interesting name was Teemu’s. If the Oil can’t get Quinn Hughes, then package it up and trade it.

    • Copper

      I would disagree. Compare 9-30 picks and their careers. Jets pick Mark Shieflle?? 4 or 5 picks higher than expected. 44 of Top 60 scoring DMen this season were drafted (if) after 9th overall. Many of which provided solid contributions within 1-3 years of draft and then, in most cases, continued for several years after. I would like to see the Oilers contend for many years, not just try for next year.

    • Craig1981

      Rantanen (2015) might also be a guy you wpuld want. Jost (2016) is also showing protental. Even Richie (2014) adds value to a team.

      Not all drafts are equal. This is a known as a strong draft you, which needs to be factored in.

      As well going back to the 80s isn’t a grear move. IMO junior hockey, scouting, and talent pools has changed in 30 years. In recent years 7-12 picks have garnered some great players

  • C U Next Tuesday

    I doubt that the Oilers will make the playoffs next season so they should keep the pick. Chia has the opportunity get a RHD powerplay quarterback at no cost. USE THE GOD DAMN PICK!!!!!! Any trade that is available will be a loss. Have patients like the rest of the GM’s.

  • TKB2677

    I am not here to stick up for Chia because he’s made some bad mistakes. But I keep hearing the “you have to think about the expansion draft” argument being made every time someone talks about improving the roster by making moves.

    So let me get this straight. All Seattle has done so far is apply for the right to be an expansion team. They haven’t actually paid a lot of money or went through all the paper work to be granted a franchise yet. It’s just supposedly going to happen at some point. They currently don’t even have a building yet but apparently they are building one where their old one was. It took the Oilers what, 2 years for theirs. So it will probably be at least 2 years before they even have a building. I am sure they will want to do what Vegas did which was hire a GM and some scouting staff and spend at least a year preparing and scouting. So by the time the building gets built, they do all the paper work, pay all the money, hire a GM and scouts, then spend at least a year scouting and preparing, realistically it will be at least 3 yrs before this expansion draft happens.

    So you are telling me that for the next 3 yrs, I am supposed to sit here and watch my team potentially do nothing and accept it when they say “Well we could have traded for this guy to help us get better BUT there is that expansion draft coming, so we didn’t do it because we will lose ONE player.” We have no idea what the team will look like in 3 years. We have no idea if players we think should be protected today don’t turn out to be anything worth protecting. We have no idea what other teams will do for the next 3 years. Maybe some of them will want a player from the Oilers that we all want gone and think can’t be moved. All we know is that at some point, years from now, the Oilers will lose ONE player to expansion.

    So if the Oilers do nothing to improve the roster for the next few years and the reason Chia uses is “expansion draft”. As soon as anyone hears those words, every Oilers fan will be fine with it?

    • Hemmercules

      I dont think anyone is saying the expansion draft is the deciding factor. Its just one of the factors involved and its a fairly big one especially if the player they get trading away the pick is on the team for more than 3 years and a player they want to keep. As I said above though, Chia wont be worried about it anyways. If a proven player is available Chia wont blink on trading that pick away for immediate help. And why shouldn’t he?? If the Oilers flounder again he will be moving on to a new job next summer so getting better immediately will come before developing a new player.

    • gordo

      further to your point, maybe by the time of expansion we actually have a gm smart enough to say “we will give you x plus your pick if you lay off y and z” been known to happen; alas our incumbent gm doesn’t know what to do, or how to do it.

    • Rock11

      Seattle is coming. There is no question. They are renovating an existing building which should also cut the timeline on that. Most people seem to think the team will be announced later this year and begin play October 2020. If the Oil trade the pick they will then also have to pay a price, in picks judging off the Vegas experience, to have Seattle lay off the players Edm wants to keep. And all of a sudden your prospect cupboard is barren through the foreseeable future.

  • OilersBro

    I said it on the last argument and I’ll say it again.
    Chiarelli:
    -bad at UFA signings
    -bad at trades
    -good at drafting

    Key takeaway: Keep the pick. Build through the draft. Look what Winnipeg did with that approach.

    • TKB2677

      That’s totally cool to do that but the huge majority of Oilers fans expected the Oilers to “load up” this past offseason. So do the exact opposite of what you said.

      Chia was crushed this season for what?

      People hated the Eberle trade. Very few dispute that the Oilers at some point needed to get rid of Eberle. The problem most people had was they had the cap space to wait until this offseason. Most people thought they should have kept Eberle to go for it, then dump him for whatever you could get this offseason.

      Lots of people criticized Chia for not bringing in MORE defense to cover off Sekera.

      Lots of people criticized Chia for doing what you said which was stand pat, play the young guys and hope they can take a step and pick up the slack.

      So to do what you suggest, the fan base would have to do a complete 180 on what they wanted the team do this past season.

  • Gravis82

    keep it. Look at the Jets, they have done literally nothing since they entered except draft and develop, and the will be winning a cup this year. It might be 10 years away for the oil, which will be fine as McDavid will be early 30’s and still probably the best player in the league. Trying to force it will be worse.

  • Dan 1919

    Taylor Hall has been selected by other NHL players as one of the top 3 most outstanding players in the league. I’ve lost faith in Chiarelli and the organization. The roster is too flawed and I expect them to miss playoffs again next year. They should be realizing where they are and bringing in a competent GM to start the rebuild now instead of next summer, a guy who will undoubtedly have to buyout players and start from a very low point. The longer we wait the longer it takes.

    • Gravis82

      If the Taylor hall trade made you realize this you were much too late. The Reinhart trade and Lucic signing should have been it. And for many of the smartest bloggers and independent analysts (i.e. not tied to the media and not relying on access to the Oiler to do their jobs), this is exactly what they said at the time.

  • toprightcorner

    Trading the pick is not a decision that can be made until the first 9 picks have been made or if someone offers to overpay for the pick.

    If after 9 picks, the Oilers don’t feel like they will get someone they are really high on, then that pick has lest value to you. most picks in that range, especially dmen, take 5 years to make an impact in the NHL. Nurse is a prime example, not when he played in NHL, but when he made an impact. That means 3 years left on McDavids contract and 2 on Draisaitl. That specific pick really has minimal impact on the Oilers success.

    With the expansion draft coming, other teams could be looking to pay more for that pick. If they could get a 1 for 1 trade for someone with at least 2 years left on the contract and currently under the age of 27 and fits a definite need for the Oilers, then you have to look at it.

  • toprightcorner

    If Bouchard, Hughes or Boqvist are available at 10, then you make the pick. With Wahlstom stock rising, Thachuk may drop to 6 or 7. If so, the Oilers should try to move up if they can.

  • toprightcorner

    Kelfbom and pick for Dumba and Coyle.
    Oilers get puck moving dman and a right shot scorer on a down year that was almost traded. MIN has cap troubles, fire GM and will shake things up and Dumba and 33 goal scorer are RFA’s with no salary going out.

    • The Whispererer

      I don’t know why you consider Minnesota to have Cap troubles and Edmonton to have room to help them out.
      Using an $80 million Cap for next year, Minnesota has ~ $12.4 ( could be increased by burying 1 or 2 ELCs in the AHL since they have 22of 23 roster spaces filled ) with only Dumba and Zucker needing new contracts.
      Edmonton has ~ $16.0 with only 15 of 23 roster spaces filled; they need to sign Nurse, Benning, 7th D, Strome, Cagguila, plus replacements for Slepyshev, Pakarinen and Cammaleri.

      • TKB2677

        Well Slep was a borderline NHLer making 925. You should be able to get a replacement for that or less. I’m thinking in the 750-800K range.
        PaKarinen was a borderline NHLer making 750k. You should be able to sign someone else for similar money.
        Cammalleri was a 12th forward making 1 mill. There will vets willing to sign for that money.
        Benning was making 925K. Given how up and down and flat out BAD he was last year. I don’t see the Oilers committing to him long term as they will want to see what he is. I could see them signing him to a 1 yr at a slight raise only because he is right handed.
        Caggulia is a streaky, bottom 6 winger who was making 925K. I could see the Oilers signing him to a 1 or 2 yr deal at a slight raise but he doesn’t deserve much more.
        Strome is coming off a 2.5 mill cap hit but was making 3 mill. He’s an OK 3rd line player. I don’t see how he can expect more than 2.5 mill.
        Nurse is the only guy that might make OK money. I could see them bridging him as what he is, is still up in the air.

        • The Whispererer

          Even if one were to agree with your premise that the Oilers should replace borderline NHL players with other borderline players (i don’t) and even accepting your suggested pay scale (i don’t) the Oilers would be using ~ $12 of the remaining $16. If you trade Klefbom at $4.2 + a pick for Coyle at $3.2 plus Dumba ( who is expected to get ~ $6 ) you have a problem.
          The real point is that Minnesota is just as capable of retaining Coyle and Dumba as the Oilers are. Also, Dumba is one of the only two established RHD on Minnesota’s roster so why would they trade him ?

  • Oil9744

    Erik Karlsson or Ekman-Larsson trades seem far stretched but you never know, I think some players that keep coming up on the block that would help the oilers and are more realistic trades are Justin Faulk and Rasmus Ristolainen, both guys had down seasons last year but still put up more points then any other Oilers defencmen last season and Oilers need offence from the blue line big time, both guys have a big right handed shots as well, I can see Carolina wanting Puljujarvi seeing as he played so well with Sebastian Aho and has a huge upside, Carolina’s core of Svechnikov, Aho, Teravainen, Puljujarvi, Skinner would be a really good group of forwards, would you guys do Puljujarvi and our 1st for Faulk or Ristolainen?? I would prefer Faulk, he’s been more of a consistent scoring defencmen and would really help out our power play and is the missing piece I think this defence needs, Nurse, Faulk, Klefbom, Larsson would be a very solid top 4.

    • TKB2677

      I don’t think it would take the 10th and Puljujarvi to get Faulk. He’s dropped down their depth chart a lot and his points are falling off. 14-15 he had 49 pts, then 37, 37, 31 this past season. Plus he is older. Ristolainen is only 23 and had 41, 45, 41 pts on a brutal team.

      • Oil9744

        Faulk is way better goal scorer then Risto, that killer right shot on the power play is what Edmonton needs the most I think, Faulk scored 17 goals alone in the 16/17 season and didn’t even play all 82 games I think, Risto has never broke the 10 goal mark in his career. I still like Risto though, he’s a big guy, young, and can put up points but I’d rather have more of a big shot from the blue line

    • The Whispererer

      Yours is just one of many recent posts suggesting a trade for Ristolainen.
      If you discount Bogosian who only played in 18 games last season and has spent time on IR in every season since 2009/10, Ristolainen is Buffalo’s only RHD. Why would they trade him ?

    • Oil9744

      Only Problem is OEL has 1 year left on his contract, if he signed an extension with us before that trade then maybe, it’s a pretty steep price to pay for OEL though, I’d rather have Faulk AND Klefbomb then just OEL, that’s just my opinion.

      • Braindead

        Faulk, really? Lol
        Who cares about contract when the salary cap is going up.
        Faulk is deadweight and that’s a fact. While Klefbom is 50/50 either he will stink or be good. They need someone proven

  • Braindead

    Oilers don’t need to sign Benning or Strome or anyone else. Why come into next year with the same team that failed so much last year. There is such a feel good exaggeration on what these players can do when in fact they did nothing of value.

    • Oil9744

      I think they will bring back Strome for the right price though, he’s a decent 3rd line centre and still really young, Benning on the other hand has already been passed by Ethan Bear in the depth chart I think, so it’s hard to say, that’s not including Drake or Slepy either, Oilers are gonna be in some serious cap trouble unless PC can some can move out one of his No trade clause contracts (Lucic, Sekera, Russel)

      • crabman

        Benning hasn’t been passed by Bear. Bear did play slightly more minutes a night but those extra minutes were almost exclusively on the pp. With a healthy Klefbom and Sekera playing the pp Bear loses his edge on Benning. Bear was a -11 in 18 games. He vot absolutely caved in the defensive end. I have no doubt Bear will be the better player in the near future but he isn’t today. Benning was a serviceable bottom painting defender. He was top 3 on the Oilers defence in many categories.

  • TKB2677

    I looked at the link that was attached in a post about Seattle. If everything falls into place, they would be potentially starting the 2020-2021 season. So like I said, in 3 years. So I looked the Oilers current contracts and where they would be at in 3 yrs. Assuming the expansion rules are the same either 7-3 or 8 players. I am scratching my head as to why people are so worried.

    I look at the defense. After next season, both Sekera and Russell go from full No moves to modified. I fully believe that they both will be gone as soon as their deals turn to a modified. I even have a feeling that somehow they move Sekera this offseason. Regardless buy the time the 20-21 season comes around, Sekera, Russell and Larsson will be a UFA’s after that season. So I don’t think you would protect any of them. So on defense you are probably protecting Klefbom and Nurse. After that, I am not sure.

    At forward. McDavid, Leon, Nuge, Lucic (because you have too), Puljujarvi all get protected. After than, I don’t know. Yamamoto maybe. That still leaves you with a spot left. If you can keep all 6 of those guys, maybe Lucic being the weakest. If all of those guys pan out, that’s a pretty good top 6.

    When I look at who Vegas picked, I thought their team would suck because they passed on who I thought was proven guys for unproven guys. Other than Neal, the majority of the players they picked we other teams 3rd and 4th liners. A few teams went dumb like Florida giving them a Marchessault but other teams made trades giving up not a ton to have Vegas take bad contracts and lay off players. Vegas got one hell of a goalie, took a bunch of unproven guys and got a ton out of them, took a few 3rd liners who were behind guys that took a step and had a ton of guys with chips on their shoulders shoot the lights out. They might make the Western Conference finals in year 1. So who ever is the GM of Seattle has to take what Vegas did as the plan. So when the time comes, why can’t the Oilers make a trade giving up a pick and a prospect to lay off a guy? If they don’t make a trade, when it comes time to pick, the best forward you are leaving unprotected is your 8th best forward or your 4th best dman. Hopefully by then you should have a good enough team where losing your 8th best forward or 4th best dman won’t cripple your team. .

    • crabman

      I don’t think it is as simple as you are trying to make it out to be. Your scenario is if everything goes right. This expansion draft is probably going to happen in 2 years. Just before the 2020 draft. Of the Oilers don’t/can’t move Sekera and Russell and they won’t waive their MNTC to go to Seattle they need to be protected. Lucic already needs to be protected. Larsson will be 27 and still in his prime. Even with only 1 year left in his contract I would still want him on my team and would like to extend him. We will also have Klefbom and Nurse , barring either of them being traded. And if we trade this years pick for a defender, as you have suggested elsewhere, we would be leaving at least 2 of our top 4 defenders exposed and all in their prime. Why would Seattle pass on one of them or how big of an incentive would we need to give them to pass on the BPA? If they need to protect Russell, Sekera and Lucic the Oilers will lose their #2 defenceman or #8 forward if they go the 7-3-1 route. Or they will lose their #3D or #5F if they go th 8-1 route. Every team will lose a player and unless it is a #1 Goalie,#1D or a franchise forward losing 1 player shouldn’t sink your team. But The risk of the Oilers losing 1 of their better players is a reality until something is done about Sekera and Russell and until something is done it is just wishful thinking.

    • Big Nuggets

      Firstly why would other teams take on the Sekera or Russell contracts when they may need to protect them in the expansion draft? they will still have NTCs when the draft rolls around so they would need to agree to be exposed. It is a big uncertainty. It is likely they would try to make a deal to throw Seatle an extra draft pick to agree not to take whichever player they exposed but want to keep. But the better the player is that is exposed means Seatle will have more leverage to take more assets. And there is still no garauntee they make a deal. There are many variables at play, but one thing is always certain, good teams develop their own talent through the draft. The Oilers were not even close to the playoffs this year; basically out of contention by Christmas. We are not one player away from success, we are multiple NHL calibre players short.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Let’s see how forward thinks Chiarelli and the Likers are. As the article states, there is going to be another expansion draft. Sure it might be different, but Edmonton is going to lose someone. Using this pick at the draft has little to no downside.

  • oilerjed

    Trade the pick+++ for for the Rd or Top6 RW we need and as many other picks as possible to milk out of it. One first round pick is not going to bolster the prospect pool, it will add one player to the pile. Use the one pick and any undesired players (ie RFA players that they dont want to resign) to recoup draft picks and get us the player we need. Forget about Seattle , there is at least another two years to arrange a suitable offering to the NHL’s parity alter. It would be good to hear from current GM’s as to how much credence they are giving the expansion and how much it factors into their plans at the moment.

  • TKB2677

    The question I would ask anyone who thinks they absolutely have to keep the pick is how do the Oilers get better? I don’t think the roster needs to be overhauled but it’s clear its not good enough and they need to bring in a player or two. So if you won’t use the pick, then how?

    • crabman

      I would prefer we trade next year’s 1st, 1 of next year’s 3rds(we have 2) and Puljujarvi.
      As you’ve started before if we take a Dman with the #10 it could be 5 years until he is an impact player. I say better drsft hom now then so he is ready to be that impact player in 5 years rather than try and draft that player next year with possibly a worse draft pick. I think Puljujarvi has the potential to.be an impact player but I would also consider moving him for a better player now. And I do put some weight in the inevitable expansion draft. Puljujarvi will need to be protected and so would the player he would be traded for so not adding a player that needs protecting just replacing one. I would also consider trading Klefbom for a winger if a top4 defenceman, preferably right hand, was already added with Puljujarvi or next years 1st. Or trade Klefbom straight up for a similar defenceman but right hand. I believe Sekera will rebound and with a good partner could still be a good top4 LHD.
      I am not in the ,”don’t trade the #10 pick no matter what” group. If a great deal presents itself it needs to be considered but I think there are other options to consider 1st.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    With expansion coming in two years we’d better keep the pick and take a prospect for now. I believe any players we bring in otherwise would just be fodder for expansion, with Lucic, Russell and Sekera all having NMC’s. I hope I’m wrong though and Russell and Sekera’s NMC’s expire before then, as someone explained above. I thought those NMC’s lasted for at least 2 more years before reading that though…