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.
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.
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.
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.
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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