The Draft Lottery has finalized the order in which teams will select this coming June at the NHL Draft in Dallas and the Oilers slipped down to the tenth spot.
Will they actually take the stage and actually pick a player at that spot? That’s far from finalized. Some think the team should hold onto the pick and add another young piece, while others think they should dangle the top ten pick and try to improve the current roster.
I’m not sure what the right move is, but I do know that there would be plenty of teams interested in that pick.
Before I get into that, it’s a good idea to try to establish what the value of the pick could be which is tough because, over the past ten years, I can only find five instances where a top-ten pick has been dealt for a roster player at the draft.
Last year, the Rangers moved up to 7th overall (Liass Andersson) and got Anthony DeAngelo in exchange for Antti Raanta and Derek Stepan.
In 2014, the Anaheim Ducks acquired the 10th overall pick (Nick Ritchie) along with Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen from the Ottawa Senators for Bobby Ryan.
The Canucks moved up to the 9th spot in the 2013 Draft and took Bo Horvat by dealing Cory Schneider to the Devils.
The 8th overall pick in 2012 (Derrick Pouliot) was packaged with Brandon Sutter and Brian Dumoulin by the Carolina Hurricanes and sent to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal.
In 2011, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded the 8th overall selection (Sean Couturier) along with Jakub Voracek and a 3rd rounder to Philadelphia for Jeff Carter.
Two things I take away from this: you can get a very good roster player for a top-ten pick, but the trade will very rarely be one-for-one. If the Oilers want to parlay their draft pick into an impact NHLer, they will likely need to add something else to the package, like maybe Ryan Strome, Drake Caggiula, Matt Benning, prospects and/or more draft picks.
If the Oilers decide to go this route, here are some teams who I think might be interested in grabbing a pick in the top-ten:
I mentioned Ottawa first because I think they’re the best fit. They will likely keep their pick that’s currently fourth overall but will be forced to give up their first rounder next year as part of the Matt Duchene trade. I think they may be interested in grabbing another top-ten pick this year to make up for it.
The Sens also have the Penguins first rounder this year, so maybe the Oilers could swap #10 for the Penguins pick and an NHL forward like, maybe, Mike Hoffman. They also have J.G. Pageau and Zack Smith who might be of interest to the Oilers, but both of them are coming off poor seasons and don’t come close to first-round pick value.
Obviously, there would have to be added value from the Oilers side, but I think there could be a fit here.
NEW YORK RANGERS
We saw the Rangers move up in the draft last year, and given the fact that they’re currently in a rebuild, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were hungry to add more high-end prospects into their pool.
The Rangers currently have the ninth overall pick, but they also have two later first-round selections from the Bruins and Lightning, so there is potential for the Oilers to trade down in a deal with New York.
The Rangers have a few interesting names like Ryan Spooner and Kevin Hates, but I’ve had my eyes on Mats Zuccarello for a while. In my opinion, the Rangers would likely have to add another piece to bring the value up to snuff, but I’d keep my eyes on New York at the draft.
DETROIT RED WINGS
Like the Rangers, the Wings are a team in transition and generating a strong prospect pool is clearly a priority for them. They also have a pair of first-round picks already secured, including Vegas’ pick which is later in the first round.
This is another scenario where I could see the Oilers either trade the pick or trade down to later in the first round in exchange for a roster player.
Gustav Nyquist hit the 20 goal mark for the third time in his career this past season, but he has a fairly big price tag and just a year left on his deal. The piece I would target is Anthony Mantha, who has butted heads with the Red Wings organization before.
Mantha is coming off a strong season where he scored 24 goals, and he’s just 24-years-old so I’m sure Detroit isn’t itching to part ways with him but he’s a big, skilled winger and would look great in the Oilers’ top-six. It’s also worth noting that Mantha is an RFA this summer.
I think there will be a handful of teams very interested in adding another top ten pick, and the Oilers might be one of the only teams with a high pick that will be willing to move it.
It’s also fair to assume that if the pick is moved for an impact roster player, it will likely have to be a part of a bigger package and while the Oilers aren’t very deep prospect wise, they do have some decent young NHLers.
There are those who think the Oilers should keep the pick and add a good young prospect to the organization and I personally believe with that line of thinking, but as I’ve said before: my job isn’t on the line.
Chiarelli’s job is on the line and if he wants to improve the NHL roster he will have to think long and hard about trading the tenth overall pick.