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.