Does trading up make sense?

Recently I’ve written about the idea of the Oilers trading down in the draft and improving the team for next season while also adding another prospect to the organization.

Based on Peter Chiarelli’s recent comments, it appears that the team is more likely to avoid making a big splash this offseason and will try to make small, smart gambles to improve their team.

While a move out of the top ten is starting to seem less likely, I’ve seen a few people ask about the possibility of the Oilers trading up in the draft. While I like the thought of moving up and potentially grabbing a more high-end prospect like Noah Dobson or Jesperi Kotkaniemi (both of which I’m very high on), I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense for the Oilers right now.

The Oilers don’t really have any spare pieces on their roster that they could use as trade bait for a higher pick. Yes, there are names like Andrej Sekera, Milan Lucic, and even Zack Kassian, but I doubt any of those would be enough to move you up high into the top ten. The team really doesn’t have a surplus at any one position that they could pick from.

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They also don’t have a lot of young, controllable, NHL ready assets.

If they were to make a move, I’d say it’s more likely that they package up draft picks rather than use players like Drake Caggiula, Ryan Strome, or Matt Benning.

If they were to just use draft picks, I’d say it’s even less likely that they move up higher into the top ten. I dug back through the last nine drafts and all I could find are teams that moved picks around after the top ten had passed.

Here are some recent examples of teams moving up within the first round.

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Last year, the Stars moved up three spots to 26th overall. They dealt the Blackhawks 29th and 70th overall.

In 2016, the Ottawa Senators moved up one spot from 12th to 11th and it cost them a 3rd round pick.

The Flyers moved up five spots in 2015. They dealt #29 and #61 for the 24th overall pick.

The Sharks dealt the 20th overall pick, along with a 6th rounder, to the Blackhawks for picks #27 and #62 in 2014.

In 2013, the San Jose Sharks moved up three spots and in return, they had to give up a 2nd round pick to Detroit.

In 2012, the Sabres moved up seven spots. They dealt the Flames the 21st overall pick, along with a 2nd rounder in exchange for 14th overall.

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In 2011, the Leafs gave up 30th and 39th overall to the Anaheim Ducks for the 22nd pick.

The Bruins moved up four spots in 2010. They got the 15th overall pick in exchange for 19th and 58th overall. That pick was involved in another deal as well, but I will spare you the confusing details.

In 2009, the Wild moved from 16th to 12th but had to give up a 3rd rounder and a 7th rounder for it.

The Oilers don’t really have a surplus on draft picks to choose from either. They have one pick in each of the second and third round, no fourth rounder, then one pick in each of the last three rounds.

In 2019, they currently own all of their picks as well as a third rounder they got from the New York Islanders. They aren’t exactly rich with draft picks.

I’m a believer that more is better when it comes to draft picks because, in all honesty, a good chunk of drafting is simple luck. The more tickets you have, the better chance you have of winning the lottery.

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Also, when I looked back at the history of trading in the first round, moving up a few spots in the mid-to-late first round will cost a second round pick. Moving up in the top ten? That could come with a hefty price tag that I don’t want to see the Oilers pay.

The Oilers have lots of top-tier young talent when you look at Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Darnell Nurse and even prospects like Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto.

The team needs to build a strong system so that they can continue to fill the edges of their roster with cheap, controllable, young players.

While it would be nice to add anothigh-end end prospect, there’s still a very good chance that they get a good NHL player at 10th overall and holding onto other picks later in the draft means they could continue stocking their prospect cupboards.


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        • 24% body fat

          but history shows, your not always getting the better player. There are a lot of top 5 picks not better than the players in 5-15 range . Based on the fact that the ranking are not really consistant outside svech and Dahlin, your just as likely to get as good of a player at 10 this year than at 3.

        • mb

          Lol, this draft is for children. If you learn anything from past drafts they are all lottery picks. You never know what you will get. Remember boys stupid can not be fixed, got a lot of stupid going on here.

  • dsanchez1973

    Don’t think there’s enough certainty outside the top 2 to make it worth moving up. The odds are that the 10th player selected and the 5th have about the same chances of being an impact player.

    • 1ncinawhile

      Agree 100% … history tells the story – not much a difference between 5th, 10th and 15th… there’s a ton of luck involved for sure… all these kids are great hockey players at their level… but those who will make it to the NHL as impact players?.. yes, roll them dice!

  • OriginalPouzar

    From a high level, I think I’m only really on board with trading up if its a really large deal and we are getting the 2nd overall, Svechnikov (1st overall is unreasonable). I think Svechnikov is in a tier all by himself. The cost would be massive though – 10th, JP plus likely a decent prospect like Lagesson or Berglund or Benson. To expensive I think.

    As we all know, this team is still in need of accumulating depth at the NHL level and the prospect level. The prospect depth is important as the team will need prospects to “hit” and provide value contracts – they need value contracts to balance out the bloated contracts and the high cap hit (earned) contracts.

    Given the general lack of consensus after the first 2-3 picks, I’m not sure it makes sense to give up a material asset or assets to move up from 10 to say 6. Given the history, that would likely cost us more than our 3rd rounder, so our 2nd rounder which should be a very decent prospect on its own.

    At the same time, there won’t be too much to choose between 10 and 6. I mean, maybe its the difference between Dobson and Boquist. Sure, Dobson has jumped over Boquist in many rankings but, 3 months ago, Boquist was the higher rated prospect and he still has the potential to be the best offensive d-man in the class – yes, he’s a couple year’s away but that’s fine.

    Same thing with the forwards, if Kotkaniemi, has indeed moved up to well within the top 10, that means a very nice player is dropping to us and, at the end of the day, is Kotkaniemi a guarantee to be better than Fabaree or Valeno (or Whalstrom who may drop)? Two months ago, Kotkaniemi was generally ranked in the 18-28 range and he’s been on a heater.

    At the end of the day my thoughts are that there isn’t enough to choose between the player we’d draft at 6 and 10 to give up a material asset to make the jump.

    • JimmyV1965

      I’m thinking the cost to get Svertch will be even more expensive than you indicated because I would absolutely jump at the deal if I could trade JP, a good prospect and the 10 to do it.

    • the reasonable person

      I don’t think what you proposed is enough to obtain the number 2 overall, a decent sized scorer who just got 40 goals in the OHL IN 44 GAMES as a 17 year old (Hall had 40 in 57 games at that age, Seguin had 48 in 63 games). Why would Carolina take number 10, a 3rd overall disappointment at this time sadly, and a very mediocre prospect for what should be a good bet as a top 6 scorer on ELC and under full-control?

  • 24% body fat

    Only if it is for Svechnikov,

    Underlying number and draft history will show that (as well as scouting reports for the class) There is going to be a player at 10 that may have a chance of being better than Zdina or the others picked after him.

    So what is the benefit of trading up to get a marginally better player or taking on the risk of maybe getting a worse one.

    Makes no sense. The purpose of the draft is to maximize your assets, so if you are trading up to get the player you want, it must not be for positional need, and the extra asset given up must be taking into account.

    So does (Boqvist, Whalstrom, Bouchard,) at 10 plus strome, higher or lower value than Zdina?

    • the reasonable person

      Too bad they didn’t have this sort of mentality about the 2015 16th and 33rd overall picks, it seems as if the 2 holes people talk constantly about on here might be filled handsomely at an attractive salary cap hit had those picks been drafted and developed. That horrific mistake better be learned from.


    This is a very deep draft in the top 5, which all appear to be NHL ready, 5-10 look like fringe Nhl players for this season then 10-16ish look like a slight chance to 1 more year of junior before ready. If we can grab 2 players for the 10 spot or trade our pic for a 12-16 spot and take the best player available plus a player /prospect that is nhl ready we should do it . Especially if that fills the RH d spot .

  • bwar

    Is there a huge gap between 6th and 10th? I think I’d rather keep whatever other draft picks/prospects we’d have to ship off in order to make a marginal jump and possibly end up with the same (or worse) player that we’d get at 10.

  • crabman

    I wouldn’t trade up. But I would consider trading down. What does it take to get the Flyers 14 and 19.
    or Dallas 13 and Faksa? 2 picks in the top 20 would add 2 very skilled prospects to the system. Or staying in the top 13 while adding a young, cheap($2.2M×2), skilled center who wins faceoffs, kills penalties, and could play the wing in the top6 if needed. or possibly RHD Honka.
    There will be a good player at 10 and it might not be worth moving but adding multiple pieces to just move down a few spots could be the better play at this point.

    • crabman

      As I was writing this Oilersnation was posting the Alex Petrovic article.
      10th to florida for 15th and Petrovic is a deal I would consider.
      I would prefer 13th and Honka since he has more offensive upside, is younger and is a better skater, but doubt he is available.

  • TKB2677

    If the decision is to keep the pick, then why not trade up if it doesn’t cost you a ton. The higher you are, the more quality players you will have at your disposal.

    • crabman


      I guess it all depends on how high you can get and what the cost is. I personally don’t think moving up a couple of spots will be worth it. 1 or 2 top 9 players will fall as teams go off board a bit and draft for need over BPA it almost always happens. so unless you get into the top 5 the player you are trading up for might still be there at 10 anyway.

      • TKB2677

        I agree. I don’t want the Oilers to go blow their brains out to move up a couple of spots but if the cost isn’t that much I would do it. I think the Oilers needs are at wing and on right defense. So I agree with your BPA. I listened to Simon Boisvert on Lowtide’s show. He’s a pretty big draft guy. He said Dahlin is the best player and best dman, then the next best dman is Quinn Hughes. After that he felt the offensive potential of the others wasn’t that great. He even said that he wouldn’t take Bouchard with a top 10 pick and he wasn’t sure of the rest. I don’t think that Walhstrom will make it past 7. Walhstrom is a big, right shooting forward who supposedly has a cannon. If you could trade up a few spots to get a Walhstrom vs drafting a right handed dman that might end up being mediocre and the cost was the #10 and a say left handed dman prospect. I would do that all day long.

  • McRaj

    In my expert opinion (Expert because I said in 2010 Fowler would be a steal for ducks, in 2011 I said Sean C and Dougie H will be beasts, in 2012 knew Forsberg would be the steal and most recently was pleading and begging and yelling Oilers to take Barzal). The Oilers should look at Chicago or Detroit as trade partners. I believe Chi will be willing to deal #8 and secondary asset for Sekera and #10. Oilers should have 3 targets in mind if they are to draft from #6 to #8. Dobson, Hughes, and Wahlstrom. I have high hopes for those 3.

    • T.J.F.M

      Unless that “secondary asset” is Seabrook – why would Chicago make that trade? And i would stay far away from Seabrook at this point in his career and with the unmovable contract.

      • McRaj

        Because Sekera is a Top 4 D-Man who had a bad season due to recovering from injury. Chicago is in win-now mode still. Where else will you find a Top 4 D-Man and all you have to do is move down 2 spots. It’s a deal where Edm would use the cap space to go big game D hunting (Carlson) and get either a RHD or W they want. Chi still gets a top prospect and adds a top 4 D-Man. If Sekera is truly done, they will either LTIR him or trade him out next year. If not, they very likely win the deal overall but its a win-win for both teams.

        • crabman

          At first I thought this would never happen. Chicago is never in the market to add a big contract but after reviewing their situation on cap friendly the do have a fair amount of space to work with. With Hossa being on LTIR They have around $60M committed to 7 forwards, 7 D and 2 goalies with 3 RFA forwards to sign. Sekera would play in their top4 and help their D. and leave them about a little under $15M for their 3 RFA and 4 bottom 6/ 13th-14th forwards. Their current cap situation leaves me wondering why they traded Panarin last year when they had this cap space opening up for next year when his extension would kick in.

    • LAKID

      In my Nostradamus opinion ( because I can see into the future). Chia has to make a trade, that’s his history and it could likely be a good trade but as his trading history suggests it won’t be. The only trading chips will be Nurse/Klefbom and I will add in Jesse .

  • oilerjed

    Listening to all of the draft analysis talking heads, players in this draft could go in any order after the top 2. With teams taking BPA that fills a need. So unless you are moving up into the top 3 and really love a particular player why bother wasting any assets.
    Does Petrovic being on the market bring down the value of other RD that are being shopped around? Hopefully a couple more pop up and there is a momentary downward shift in their value. Swoop in and finally get a RD that has been the “coke machine” of the current Oilers roster