Photo Credit: Dave Sandford

WWYDW: The first-round pick

The Oilers didn’t win the draft lottery. Hell is freezing over!

We’ve talked about it before, but now that we know exactly where the Oilers will be picking come draft day in June, it’s time to bring it up again. What should the Oilers do with the 10th overall pick?

Bob McKenzie went on Dustin Nielsen’s show the other day to talk about the draft. McKenzie suggested that this is a “Top Nine” draft in which there’s a bit of a fall off after the top nine prospects. That’s kind of unfortunate given the fact the Oilers slid down from ninth to 10th, but it isn’t the end of the world. Somebody before the Oilers is bound to go off the board and Edmonton will more than likely end up with one of those players in the McKenzie’s suggested top nine. That is, of course, if they decide to keep the pick.

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That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. What should Edmonton do with their pick? Should they use it and grab a player at 10th overall? Or should they use it in a trade to acquire a player who can help the team immediately? There’s certainly an argument for both sides. The Oilers need cheap, entry-level talent coming through their system, but there’s also a lot of pressure to have a rebound season after 2017-18’s disaster.

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Trade the pick

I think the biggest argument in favour of Edmonton trading their draft pick would be their recent success, or, well, lack of success in drafting and developing prospects.

The last time the Oilers selected 10th overall was in 2009. They picked Magnus Paajarvi who, despite boasting an incredible amount of talent, never figured it out at the NHL level. He’s carved out a decent career as a depth player, but he’s far from the player anyone expected him to become.

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More recently, the Oilers picked Darnell Nurse seventh overall, which is pretty much in the same range as 10th in which you’re getting a very high-upside prospect but it isn’t a sure thing. Nurse, finally, in his fifth post-draft year, seems to have found his stride as a good NHL player.

Jesse Puljujarvi, selected fourth overall in 2016, has struggled adapting to the North American game and Edmonton’s development of the young Finn has been far from admirable. Kailer Yamamoto, selected 22nd overall in 2017, looks like a steal at this point. We’re a few years away from assessing either pick, but what we can say right now is that it’s completely unreasonable to expect the 2018 10th overall pick to step in and help the team in 2018-19. It might even be a bit much to expect that player to help the team in 2019-20.

The Oilers badly need help in a couple of different areas. They need a puck-moving defenceman who can produce offence and they need a high-quality scoring winger. Off the top of my head, I can think of two players who fit those needs — Justin Faulk and Mike Hoffman. The Canes might not be ready to move Faulk for a draft pick, but the Sens, given the disaster that was the Matt Duchene trade, might be willing to pull the trigger on a deal. I’m not saying trade the pick straight up for either of those players, but those are who come to mind when thinking about what the Oilers need right now.

Keep the pick

There are a couple of obvious arguments when it comes to keeping the pick and just selecting a player at 10th overall.

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The biggest is the fact the Oilers need cheap talent on entry-level contracts coming through the system. For all of the high picks, the Oilers have had the past decade, their farm system is shockingly empty. Puljujarvi is still a prospect, Yamamoto is another one, but beyond that? Ostap Safin and Kirill Maksimov each had nice seasons, Tyler Benson is also intriguing but made of glass.

Regardless, there aren’t many names that seem poised to help out the team very soon. Adding a guy at 10th overall this June would certainly help that.

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The top three of the draft, Rasmus Dahlin, Andrei Svechnikov, and Filip Zadina are pretty obvious. After that, you have righty defenders Evan Bouchard, Adam Boqvist, and Noah Dobson, all of whom would be a welcomed addition to the Oilers’ system. There’s also small-but-incredibly-skilled puck moving defenceman Quinn Hughes, rugged winger Brady Tkachuk, and the highly-killed Oliver Wahlstrom from the USNDTP. It’s hard to say who will fall to Edmonton at 10, but there are a lot of intriguing names.

My other qualm with trading the pick would be Peter Chiarelli’s trading record. He pretty frequently ends up on the wrong side of trades and him shopping the 10th overall pick after a horrendous season when he’s in the hot seat is a recipe for disaster.

What say you, Nation? Should the Oilers keep their pick or should they trade it? 


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  • Arfguy

    I think trading the pick would be a very bad idea. I think the best thing to do is not think about a forward, but getting a defenceman. Yeah, the defenceman may take longer to develop, but I’d rather have players in the system that is developed than looking for a short-term fix by trading for a player that may or may not work out.

  • Danoilerfanincalgary

    The concensus appears to be to keep the first round pick which is probably prudent but there are numerous other rounds available to use for trades. Carolina is ripe for the picking their new owner seems like a bit of a bozo maybe a trade in our favour is available. John Carlson would sure look good here.

    • Big Nuggets

      this is the problem is people start imagining how.things would be if we could just add a Carlson or whomever and they get anxious for moves to be made. This impatience leads to poor moves. The best bet for building a good team has always been through drafting and developing. Trades can help to fill need or push a team over the hump into contender status. We are not in a position to trade to push us into contender status and our depth is so bad that we can’t trade to fill a need without making a new hole. There is only one way out and it is developing the required depth through drafting, IMO.

  • Freddie the fog

    Keep the pick. Chia is horrendous making big trades. Draft smart..DEVELOP even smarter. We just can’t trust Pete to make a good trade. I hate saying it ..but it’s probably going to take a few years maybe more of drafting and developing intelligently to be a contending team. With Chia at the wheel anyways….perhaps a more competent GM that gets back fair value in a trade could get us back quicker. But Chia is in self preservation mode now…So he’ll probably move the pick for a player that can play on the roster now . But the return won’t b good enough.

  • Gravis82

    Our depth is terrible. We need to build a winner before McDavid is 30. Keep all draft picks. If we wanted to be a winner now we shouldn’t have traded Hall.

  • Keg on Legs

    Keep the pick and develop the kid, we’ve had to many of the “draft and to the NHL” kids, this is why we have no depth, all of our recent drafts are on the Oil or have been traded to save cap space

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Someone on Twitter put out a copy of the Jets lineup, showing how much of the team was made up (draft/trade/FA). Almost their entire team is composed of players that have been drafted by the organization. Of course you have to draft well for this to work. Point is, Winnipeg took the smart approach and they’re successful.mid say we need to try and do it, but outside of last year, we’ve been doing that (poorly) and have zilch to show for it

  • vetinari

    Out of curiosity, I was talking to my brother-in-law, a diehard Habs fan and he suggested this: trade RNH plus our 1st rounder (10th overall) to Montreal for Pacioretty and Montreal’s 1st rounder (3rd overall)? It solves Montreal’s centre issue and gives us a consistent 60 point winger. Coincidentally, RNH has never put up 60 points in a season. We would also save $1.5M next season in the process but we would have Pacioretty for one guaranteed year while they would have RNH for three. However, we would have the 3rd overall pick to add a right shot defenceman or a quality forward who is expansion draft exempt to make up for the difference or we could use that pick in another trade. Would this make sense from the Oilers side?