Now that another edition of the NHL Entry Draft is in the book, we’re starting to hear some stories trickling out about moves that almost happened, and one of those stories involves the Oilers and how they were actually looking to trade up in the order just to get their hands on Evan Bouchard before eventually landing him with their 10th overall pick.
After the first round had ended, Nick Kypreos jumped on the 31 Thoughts Podcast to talk about the first round of the draft and how he thought everyone did, and he talked about the Oilers and how lucky they were to get Evan Bouchard with the 10th pick. Why were they lucky? Because trade winds were a blowin’.
“I will tell you this, that the Edmonton Oilers, as early as (Friday) morning, came close to trading up so they could secure Evan Bouchard.”
Oh man, I wonder how far into the order they got before Chiarelli saw the writing on the wall that Bouchard might slide to them? Was it after Montreal at three? Was it after the Coyotes got weird at five? This story reminds me of the rumour from two years ago when the Oilers were talking about trading up to grab Jesse Puljujarvi pick at #4 when the Blue Jackets went with Pierre-Luc Dubois instead of Pool Party, despite what the rankings said.
“And as they watched the first five picks develop, they said, ‘We think we can get him now. We think if our projections are accurate on how we read this, we may be able to steal him at 10.'”
I love reading about this stuff and I also love that Peter Chiarelli had the balls to sit there and wait to see how things were going to shake out. It took some major cojones to hang around waiting and I’m pretty pumped that he did. Frankly, I wouldn’t be upset if ol’ Pete wanted to show us those balls of his because I’m thinking that I’d like to take a look. Anyway…
“And sure enough, they are thrilled. They are doing backflips right now.”
Shortly after the first round ended, I got a text from someone close to the organization that said that the Oilers “were very lucky” to get Bouchard at 10th overall and I certainly agreed at the time, but that gets amplified now that we’ve learned they were talking about trading up to get him. To still get your guy without having to move assets to make it happen is a big win in my books.
Then, just this morning, Elliotte Friedman released his must-read 31 Thoughts column and confirmed Kypreos’ words as well.
“Edmonton almost traded up to get Evan Bouchard, but realized as things unfolded that they wouldn’t need to.”
Sometimes the best trades are the ones that never happen, ya know? You gotta love when a plan accidentally comes together.
I don’t know about you guys, but I was pretty excited that the Oilers had the chance to take Bouchard with the 10th overall pick. In the week leading up to the draft, I think we were all hoping that one of Bouchard, Dobson, Wahlstrom, or Boqvist would still be around by the time the Oilers picked at 10 but I would never have expected that three of the best possible fits to still be there. Frankly, the problem the Oilers had at 10 was that there was almost too much choice, but I do feel confident in Keith Gretzky and his staff that they made the right choice.
I also have to give Chiarelli a lot of credit for watching the landscape and having the balls to sit back and let things play out without having to spend assets to move up in the order and get their guy. As Nick Kypreos said in the quotes above, I’m pretty sure the Oilers are thanking the good Gord for their draft luck because that baby played out almost perfectly for them. Not only did they get the guy they wanted, they got him without having to move anything out in order to make it happen. From where I blog, that’s a big win for the blue and orange.
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