I know, I know. It’s supposed to be What Would You Do Wednesday. But sometimes in the lovely, sunny confines of Riverdale with the birds chirping and Family Feud on the TV, we completely forget what day it is. So here we are! What Would You Do Wednesday Thursday Edition!
The draft is right around the corner! The Oilers currently hold the No. 10 overall pick, which is kind of an odd and unfamiliar place for them to be in. After year after year of picking right at the top of the draft, we figured the period of rebuilding was over and we’d be watching the Oilers pick at the end of the first round for the foreseeable future. Instead, the Oilers are picking sort of in the middle. The pick isn’t high enough to get a surefire star, but it’s still high enough that there’s pressure to get an impact prospect.
Another thing about where the Oilers pick is how they’re right on the outside of the Top Nine. According to Bob McKenzie, there’s a distinct top nine in the draft before things start to take a dive. There’s a chance one of the teams ahead of the Oilers goes off the board, but that isn’t certain.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday Thursday Edition question. Should the Oilers trade up or down at the draft? Or should they stand pat and use the No. 10 overall pick?
Peter Chiarelli has said that he’s open to the idea of trading up at the draft.
“Well we actually dropped down one [spot] in the [NHL Draft] Lottery. We’d been planning at number 9 for a while but we knew we could drop down. I know there are teams ahead of us who have positional needs different from ours so that usually means there is an ability to move up. We would look at that.”
As McKenzie said, there’s a clear Top Nine. The first pick is obvious. It’ll be Rasmus Dahlin and Buffalo isn’t trading that lottery ticket away. After him, the Hurricanes are going to select Andrei Svechnikov. Nobody after that is set in stone. The following seven of the top nine are big Czech winger Filip Zadina, gritty forward with professional bloodlines Brady Tkachuk, versatile Swedish defenceman Adam Boqvist, dynamic offensive defender Quinn Hughes, smart and versatile forward Oliver Wahlstrom, Memorial Cup champion defender Noah Dobson, and offensive defenceman Evan Bouchard.
Any of those players would be great for the Oilers to grab. I love the idea of adding Tkachuk to the forward group and righty defencemen Dobson and Boqvist jump off the page based on their positional need. The Red Wings are open to dealing the No. 6 overall pick, the Habs with Marc Bergevin are always a wild card so No. 3 could be in play too.
As Chiarelli said in that quote above, there are teams above the Oilers with different positional needs which creates potential to move up. Good Young Content Boy Tyler Yaremchuk recently looked at teams moving up in the draft and it’s a mixed bag of results. The only good recent example of a team in a similar situation to the Oilers was the Senators back in 2016. They moved up from No. 12 to No. 11 to draft Logan Brown. They gave up a third-round pick and New Jersey picked Michael McLeod right after.
The one difficult thing about the Oilers moving up is that they don’t really have a big surplus of picks in the draft to use. They have their own first-, second-, third-, fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-round pick this year.
The reality of the Oilers not having many depth picks brings up another interesting possibility. If the team doesn’t feel like it can get one of those Top Nine prospects and there’s a big drop off after that, how about trading down to stock the shelves in the farm? There’s no secret the Edmonton’s farm system is pretty barren, so why not add some quantity?
There are plenty of examples of moving down and, again, it’s a mixed bag.
Oilers fans should be pretty familiar with this whole thing. Remember back in 2003 when the team traded down with New Jersey? The Devils picked Zach Parise and the Oilers got Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Jean-Francois Jacques? Yikes.
I know that makes trading down seem off-putting, but there are some good examples. The Ducks had the No. 22 overall pick in 2011 and the Leafs really, really wanted Tyler Biggs for some reason. The Leafs sent Anaheim two second-round picks in exchange for Toronto moving up and the Ducks ended up using them on Rickard Rackell and John Gibson. Damn!
Again, it’s a bag. But if the Oilers can’t get their guy at the top of the draft, and they believe in their scouts, maybe they can talk to a team like Florida who picks at No. 15 and No. 34. Maybe they can, as we’ve talked about a lot, trade down to dump a bad contract.
What say you, Nation? Is there a player in the Top Nine of the draft you want the Oilers to move up and grab? Do you like the idea of trading down to add depth to the system? Or should the team just stand pat and pick at No. 10?
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