WWYDW: Trade or pick

The Oilers didn’t have the lottery balls fall in their favour last night (as Taylor Hall continued his streak of dominance at the draft lottery) and will select eighth overall at this year’s entry draft. Now that we know where the Oilers are selecting, we can explore the two options ahead of the team at the draft: keep the pick and add a quality prospect to the system OR trade the pick for help right now. 

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Keep the pick

The Oilers will have a good prospect available to them at eighth overall. It won’t be a slam dunk like Jack Hughes, who the Devils will take with the first pick, but there will certainly be a quality player to add to their system at that spot.

In recent history, Adam Boqvist, Casey Mittlestadt, Alex Nylander, Zack Werenski, William Nylander, Rasmus Ristolianen, Derrick Pouliot, and Sean Couturier have been selected with the eighth pick. Couturier has evolved into one of the best two-way centres in the game for the Flyers, William Nylander is an excellent winger in Toronto, and Werenski is a top-pairing, offensive defenceman in Columbus. The jury is still out on Boqvist, Alex Nylander, and Mittlestadt, but, for the most part, quality players are being drafted and developed at eighth overall.

Looking at some mock drafts, the Oilers will likely have players like WHL forwards Peyton Krebs and Kirby Dach, OHL right-handed defender Thomas Harley, and American forward Trevor Zegras available to them at eighth overall. While there’s a clear top two in Hughes as Kappo Kakko at the top of the draft with a drop-off after that, the Oilers are still guaranteed to have a good prospect available at eighth.

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Edmonton’s biggest need right now is simply adding high-quality talent to their system. They need defencemen who can move the puck and forwards who can produce offence. I wouldn’t expect anyone drafted at eighth overall to come in and be a game-changer next year, but the Oilers, if they decide to keep the pick, will add a quality, cost-controlled player to their system.

Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Trade the pick

Trading the pick would help the Oilers improve their team in the immediate future. As I said above, the 2019 eighth-overall pick wouldn’t be a game-changer next year. We’ve seen the Oilers take a more conservative approach with recent picks like Evan Bouchard and Kailer Yamamoto, which is better for their long-term development.

If the Oilers want to add that coveted puck-moving defenceman in order to be better right now, they could use the eighth overall pick as the centrepiece of a trade. They could call up Colorado and ask if they would budge on moving Tyson Barrie or ask Philadelphia if they would move Shayne Gostisbehere. They could also dangle the eighth overall pick to find a good, young forward. Toronto has a cap issue ahead of them, and maybe they could free up William Nylander, who would look great alongside Connor McDavid.

Another option that has been discussed is using the eighth overall pick as an incentive to help dump an albatross contract. Teams like Ottawa need to take on cap hits in order to reach the salary cap floor next season, and they might be inclined to take on Milan Lucic’s horrendous contract if the Oilers sweetened it with their first-round pick. Remember, Ottawa gave Colorado their first-round pick this year in the trade for Matt Duchene.

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What to do?

Given Edmonton’s situation, keeping the pick makes the most sense. I wrote a few months ago that the best way to navigate the mess the Oilers are in is simply by being patient. Obviously, nobody wants to wait around and go into some kind of rebuild or retool, especially with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at the top of their respective games, but that’s simply the only way to work through Edmonton’s two biggest issues — cap hell and a lack of high-quality talent.

Given their cap situation, it’s difficult to add talent either through trade or free agency. That’s why we’re talking about the possibility of laughable trades like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for Rasmus Ristolainen. The Oilers are in a situation right now in which they need to give back salary in any deal in which they take on salary. They could also use the pick to help shed salary, but is getting rid of Milan Lucic worth losing a quality prospect? The most realistic way to add talent to the system would be through the draft and the eighth overall pick would give the Oilers a quality, cost-controlled asset to add to their already-solid system.

What say you, Nation? Should the Oilers keep the pick or move it in a trade to get better right now? 

  • OldOilerFan

    Keep the pick. As others have pointed out dozens of times already, there is an expansion draft coming and keeping the pick means we don’t risk losing a warm body.

  • Ric Flair

    Offer the 8th pick + Lucic to Ottawa for their pick from Columbus . Gain cap space, still get a quality prospect back , gives Ottawa a higher pick and help get them to the cap floor. And yes I know it’s a pipe dream with lucic’s nmc.

    • CBK

      The only problem with this is Lucic holds the cards here. He has a full NTC and I highly doubt Lucic will waive that to goto a rebuilding team in Ottawa and be further away from his hometown of Vancouver.

        • CBK

          I agree. To be perfectly honest, it sucks that we all look at Lucic in this regard so early in his contract because I know I was pretty excited when he signed here. Year 1 looked good, I am almost in disbelief that his skill has deteriorated into what it is today.

  • Rama Lama

    Trading first round draft choices ( at lease for the names mentioned) is a fools game. Watching Kirby Dach play last night was a treat…….big, strong, skilled, and can skate like the wind.

    Draft, develop, and trade later if need be……..never trade away a draft pick ……..especially in the top 10.


  • Cementhead73

    Trade it, oilers are terrible at drafting. Last 25 years, 222picks, 30 first rounders, only 11 top 6 forwards (including hemsky, horcoff, gagner, Comrie) and 3 top 4 dmen, take away the 4 @1st overall and they could have done better picking names from a hat. Trade it to get rid of Lucic or package it up with Puljujarvi, Larson and how ever many more picks you need to get a great player with term, like Larkin, Tarasenko, Nylander, etc. Or a bonafide top goalie. 4 true top 6 forwards will make it easier for guys like Yamamoto, benson, Mcloud to develop.

    • gr8haluschak

      yes, tell me why St Louis, Toronto, or Detroit is giving up STAR PLAYERS for a terrible package of a lower top 10 pick, Lucic, JP, and a potential UFA in a year and a bit (not to mention the fact one of those teams has ZERO use for a d man), what garbage. Also, the first round in the last 15 years is not the problem, it is after round 1.

    • Cementhead73

      Last 15 years , the jury is still out on Jesse puljujarvi, Yamamoto, and Bouchard. That leaves 15 other first round picks, 11 that were not first overall.Marc pouliot, rob schremp, Alex plante, Riley Nash, Magnus paajarvi, nail yakapov are all first round flops. You did not read or understand my trade scenarios. Trade 1 scenario Lucic and the pick for nothing. Just to get his cap space off the team. Trade 2 scenario Larson(or sekera or russel), top pick, prospect (hopefully JP) and then as many more picks as they want. Maybe next years 1st rnd and both years second… give whatever it takes to have 2 seriously dominant forward lines. We need to stop wasting Mcdavid career building for the future that never comes

      • gr8haluschak

        Mcdavid, Nurse, Draisaitl, Klefbom, Nugent Hopkins, Hall, Eberle, Gagner, Cogliano, Dubnyk, Hemsky – 11 out of 15 years they got good players and do not try to cherry pick #1 overalls, because even 8 of the 10 years then they still got good players so do not piss in the wind and say it is raining and even if you want to throw in busts that is still 11 out of 18 that turned out to be good nhlers so do not bs that the first round has been the problem. And yes again tell me why is a team like Toronto and St louis trading for your garbage, let’s hear it. If you are going to post something as stupid as that for a trade back it up on why the other team is doing it.

  • ziyan94

    Nobody is taking our bad contracts off our hands this summer. Keep all possible picks, so that we have a good undercurrent of talent available when all the bad contracts are gone in a couple years.

    We have 1 wave coming, with Benson Yamamoto Jones Bear Bouchard etc, and this draft’s prospects can create a 2nd wave, all exempt from Seattle’s expansion draft.

  • jesse says yep

    #8 picks since the league went to a 7 round draft in 2005. How many of these players are going to be able to step in and provide production in the top 6 within the first two years. Players with stars cracked 40 pts and played draft year+2. The Oilers need scoring now and have a bit of prospect depth, trade the pick now and get creative to recoup prospects by scouring Europe and NCAA. This is necessary to be competitive and get the maximum out of the current core until the cap problems can be fixed.
    Devin Setoguchi
    *Peter Mueller
    Zach Hamill
    Mikkel Boedker
    Scott Glennie
    Alexander Burmistrov
    Sean Couturier
    Derrick Pouliot
    *Rasmus Ristolainen
    *William Nylander
    *Zach Werenski
    Alexander Nylander
    Casey Mittelstadt
    Adam Boqvist

  • Kevwan

    I don’t like the idea of trading a 1st rounder at any time especially with the expansion draft coming. It would have to be a killer offer to be considered.

    • NickL89

      Exactly but those “killer offers” are going to be offered to teams with draft positions higher than us. GMs know they don’t have to offer the moon to Edmonton. There will likely be lowballs but let’s all take a moment to smile knowing that PC isn’t here to jump all over them anymore.

      • Kevwan

        The scenario for a killer offer would be if a player ( Dach, Cozens, etc.) falls to 8th. Another GMde decides he can’t live without the kid. As an example the Wild offer #12 and Jordan Greenway or Kirill Kaprizov.

        I don’t think the Wild would do it but it would take something this for me. The best chance is on the draft floor after the 7th pick when it’s not just a number but a specific prospect that a team likes.

  • camdog

    Oilers gave up more goals per game post All Star game then they did Pre AllStar game. Generally goals against go down when Hitchcock arrives in town, this year they didn’t. The teams d-man were fairly healthy post All – Star break.

    Until the Oilers fix their game in their own end I’d be against trading for offensive players that aren’t strong in their own end. They well eventually find offence down in Bakersfield, but these same players are a given to struggle in their own end defensively until they gain experience.

    Team defence/goaltending needs to be improved this off season first, offence will come from youth.

    • jesse says yep

      Would bolstering the forward group not fix this problem as well? If we can the puck in the other teams end for longer periods of time a lot of pressure will be taken off of our defense and allow the Oilers to spend their money somewhere else?

  • McHitch

    Following this teqm for 30 years… there is less than a 5% chance that the player we draft ends up being a difference maker.

    I would say its almost guaranteed we ruin another prospect.

    Trade the pick, and bring in some talent before we lose McDavid.

    McDavid or the 8th overall… hmmm easy decision in my books.

    Time to win is now, we cannot be patient. We simply dont have a choice. Wake up.

    • McHitch

      As for Lucic. His contract was front losded to the MAX. Hes already been paid most of his salary.

      He makes 3/4/5/4 next 4 years.

      If we retain 2 mil, Ottawa gets Lucic at 1/2/3/2.

      Thats 8 million in real salary for 4 years but a 24 mil cap hit. That means Eugene saves 16 Million dollars.

      Im 100% sure that is something Mr.Melnyk would be interested in doing.

      We would need to include a 2nd this year and a 3rd next year, but for that price I believe Lucic has value to a team trying to hit the floor.

      • McHitch

        If we retain 2 mil, Ottawa gets Lucic at 1/2/3/2. 8 mil over 4 years.

        If Ottawa than retains 1 mil(allowed in CBA), they can flip a Lucic who makes 0/1/2/1 over 4 years. 1 mil a year Lucic has value. Lots of tough guys who cant score sign for more.

        Ottawa could get another pick for being the middle broker, and end up with two picks in exchange for a 1 million a year cap hit.

        Lets get creative here… this contract is moveable.

          • McHitch

            Lol so simple but so difficult. This group sees glaring holes each off season and comes back with the same roster.

            The only time we make a trade is when we get taken out back to the shed and bent over.

            Im honestly sick of it. Ive been mr positive on the nation for 10 years.

            “Oiler Domination To Follow”

            I just cant understand why we are always so idle. It doesnt make sense.

      • The Whispererer

        That’s not the way the Cap works. If you retain 50% of the salary you also retain 50% of the Cap. Ottawa’s Cap hit would be $12 not $24 under your proposal; also under your proposal you want to give Ottawa our 2019 second, which means that Lucic would become Ottawa property at or before this draft so they would be responsible for 50% of the $3 bonus due July 1st for a total outlay of $9.5 on a $12 Cap. The Oilers would be stuck with $3 million of dead Cap space for each of the next 4 years. For that, you want to give up 2 draft picks also ? Sure, Ottawa could then flip Lucic while retaining 50% of what remains and probably get a pick for him; but that makes you a fan of helping Ottawa, not Edmonton.

      • Cementhead73

        Signing bonuses are paid out each year July 1st, Lucic contract is 6mil,4mil,5mil 4mil still owing, after July 1st it goes 3/4/5/4 with 6 mil cap hit each year.

    • RJ

      A lot of these efforts to speed up the development (like the Reinhart trade) have failed miserably. Depends upon who the new GM would be before any trade is signed off on.

  • Billsbills

    Your trade proposals make zero sense. Ghost is a slight possibility but do the Oilers need another 4.5 mil dman that doesn’t defend?

    Barrie has one year left and is a UFA so no.

    Nylander has 6+ million dollar contract. So that’s a no.

    Lucic wouldn’t accept a trade to Ottawa. That’s the only team that might be more of a laughing stock than the Oilers right now.

    You have a top 10 pick, you take it. Find someone who can shoot the damn puck.

  • Randaman

    Dach is my choice. Watched him last night. Speed, skill, good shot, goes to the dirty areas (scored a rebound goal last night) and has good size. He’s also the Captain so there has to be some leadership in there somewhere. This pick isn’t going to get a huge return so KEEP the pick.

  • tkfisher

    I like the idea of trying to poach Nylander from the Leafs, and trying to get the Sens to take Lucic. I wonder what it would take to complete both of those trades. I wonder what combination of assets it would take to accomplish those things:

    • McHitch

      Nylander is the only player making more per goal than Lucic.

      He made 1 million per goal this year. We want him because?

      As for Sens… if Lucic waives he is the perfect contract for that team. Toughness to protect the kids, leadership from his cup win and his contract was front loaded so the cap hit is much higher than his real cash.

      I would say a 2nd and 3rd gets it done if we retain 1.5-2 mil of his salary.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    Why don’t we keep the 1st round pick and trade a 2nd or 3rd, with Looch (if we have to get rid of him?)
    Personally, I’d send him to the Adam Oates School of Remembering your Hockey Skills as a Senior Player Academy… He just needs to learn how to play through a changing physical makeup or something?
    How many times around the net was he almost a factor? Too many to count…
    Anyway, 2nd or 3rd round, if you have to? Not 1st, 8th overall,… keep that one.

  • TKB2677

    For anyone worrying about the expansion draft. It will be held June 2021. There are 2 more seasons to. Plus going into that expansion draft if nothing changes:
    – Nuge, Sekera, Russell and Larsson will all be UFA’s. There is a good chance you won’t resign any of them except maybe Nuge. Plus because Bouchard didn’t play this year, they don’t have to protect him. I would not be using the expansion draft as a reason to not make your team better asap. At some point as an organization, you have to get out of building and promising future mode and actually stock pile REAL NHLers. The Oilers would be foolish in my books not to dangle this pick to see if they can get some real help.

    As an example. The Jets have some big contracts coming up. Laine, Connor & Trouba all need new contracts and ALL will cost a lot. Myers is a UFA so they either have to resign him or replace him. The Jets are big on drafting and probably can’t take a big money forward back. If the Oilers could free up some money and as part of a package to get say an Ehlers who is making 6 mill, has some injuries and is having a bit of a down year, it cost the Oilers their #8. Ehlers is a super skilled, very fast, 20+ goal, 60+ pt guy signed long her for 6 mil who is 23 yrs old, right handed, very fast, 20 goal, 60 pt winger. Can they seriously say no we’d rather draft a guy who is best case scenario most likely a minimum of 2 yrs before even cracking the NHL let alone being as good as Ehlers is now? Ehlers had a injury plagued, down year and he scored 21 goals this year.

    • OilerForLife

      What, and end up with another Griffin Reinhart, no thank you!

      There isn’t the cap space to pay anyone who would make a major impact, and we need space for players advancing, from Bakersfield, and Joel Persson is coming over. We have to sign Khaira, and Chaisson as well, and at this point we don’t know exactly what the price is. Rieder and Rattie likely won’t be renewed, so if Benson and another forward advance to Oilers, that would be good. It’s highly unlikely we can move Brodziak and he’s signed for one more season. Lucic is untradeable due to his bulletproof contract, and we aren’t trading McDavid, Draisaitl, Hopkins, Nurse, Klefbom, or the Nuge.

      They should only trade any other player if it’s a clear win for the Oilers. I’m a little tired of the Oilers bending over to please people when there is no good deal there. That and expensive free agents is what got them in the mess they’re in today. I want this circus to end at some point, instead of doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same result.

    • Rockinghockey

      If we can get Ehlers you do it on the spot. Type of player we need now.
      McD, LD
      RNH, Ehlers
      If we can move Russell, Benning and Manning would that give us enough money to also trade for TJ Miller, TB will need cap space.
      Miller can play either top two lines.

  • Rusty Patenaude

    Can you think of a successful team which has traded top ten picks for established players? Neither can I. Those entry level years provide value which is a huge factor in the cap era. You might win one of these trades every now and then but most times they are significant losses.

  • Foximus

    Keep the pick and take the best player available. Don’t worry about position. Hopefully they hire a GM who can placate McDavid and Drai with a solid plan. Lucic could have value when the do get to the playoffs. And they can’t unload him anyway. Ottawa is the best chance of unloading him but the price would likely be steep and I’m not sure Lucic would agree anyway.

  • Anton CP

    The Oilers need a deeper prospect pool since Chiarelli traded most of the former picks away therefore the Oilers should trade the pick for more picks. The Rangers have 5 picks in the first 2 rounds that the Oilers can maybe trade that No.8 for 2~3 picks in return.