The Edmonton Oilers hold the eighth-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The Oilers need more talent. Forwards, defencemen, or goaltenders. Should they trade the pick for immediate help? Would a legitimate top-six forward or top-four right-shot defenceman be more valuable than whoever they pick at eight?
There’s been some real good players picked eighth overall recently. William Nylander went eighth in 2014. Zach Werenski went eighth in 2015. Adam Boqvist went eighth last June. He had 60 points in 54 games with the London Knights and Oilers draft pick Evan Bouchard. Edmonton will have a good chance to get an impact player.
What if the Oilers trade the pick? What do high draft picks return in trades? Trades with Vegas and trades where the pick wasn’t already determined, the Matt Duchene trade, Travis Hamonic trade, and Bobby Ryan trade, aren’t comparable.
Arizona traded the seventh-overall pick and defenceman Anthony DeAngelo to the New York Rangers for center Derek Stepan and goaltender Antti Raanta. Rangers selected center Lias Andersson.
This is an excellent reference point for the Oilers. The pick is almost the same and the Coyotes dealt the pick to speed up their rebuild and acquire real NHL talent. Raanta was excellent in his debut season in Arizona, but barely played this season due to a lower-body injury. Darcy Kuemper filled in very well in Raanta’s absence. Stepan scored 56 points in his first season with the Coyotes, but only had 35 in 70 games this past season.
DeAngelo’s played 19:20 a game for a mediocre Rangers team. Andersson’s split time between the American Hockey League and the NHL. He’s scored decently in the AHL, but hasn’t done much in the NHL.
The Oilers can certainly use a 55-point center and starting netminder. That trade won’t look as great if Stepan’s a 40-point center going forward. Raanta was excellent for the Coyotes in 2017-18 but Kuemper was similarly good in 2018-19, and they only traded Tobias Rieder and an AHL goalie for him. Andersson hasn’t set the world on fire yet, but DeAngelo looks like a potential top-four defenceman.
Detroit traded Pavel Datsyuk’s contract, center Joe Vitale, and the 16th-overall pick (defenceman Jakob Chychrun) to Arizona for the 20th-overall pick (defenceman Dennis Cholowski) and 53rd-overall pick (defenceman Filip Hronek).
Detroit moved down four spots, dumped the last year of Datsyuk’s contract, and obtained a second-round pick in the process. All the players drafted look promising. Is there a trade where the Oilers move pack in the first round and dump Milan Lucic’s contract?
Speaking of Lucic, Boston traded Lucic, and retained half of his salary, to Los Angeles for goaltender Martin Jones, defenceman Colin Miller, and the 13th-overall pick (defenceman Jakub Zboril). This was a very good trade for Boston, even with them whiffing on the first-round pick.
The Bruins flipped Jones to San Jose for another first-round pick in 2016 and Miller looks like a solid top-four defenceman who can put up points in Vegas.
Boston made a few big moves at the 2015 draft. They also sent Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for the 15th-overall pick (right wing Zachary Senyshyn), the 45th-overall pick (center Jakub Forsbacka-Karlsson), and the 52nd-overall pick (defenceman Jeremy Lauzon). This was a bad trade. Hamilton, despite all the concerns about museums and brothers, is a top-pairing defenceman. I’d heavily consider a trade with the eighth pick if a Dougie Hamilton-type player is available.
The Oilers traded the 16th-overall (center Mathew Barzal) and 33rd-overall picks (center Mitchell Stephens) to the New York Islanders for defenceman Griffin Reinhart. Yeah. Not great.
New Jersey traded the ninth-overall pick (center Bo Horvat) for goaltender Cory Schneider. At the time, this looked like a steal for New Jersey. I don’t know if anyone takes Schneider over Horvat now. Horvat’s a 60-point center, while Schneider is closer to waivers or a buyout.
Schneider was very good for his first three seasons in New Jersey. His save percentage then: .921, .925, .924. His past three seasons in New Jersey: .908, .907, .903. Injuries have significantly impacted him, but it’s a cautionary tale for the Oilers. They can use an elite-performing goalie but need to consider long-term implications as well. It took Horvat three years after his draft to reach 40 points, but he’s definitely the more valuable player.
Carolina trades the eighth-overall pick (defenceman Derrick Pouliot), defenceman Brian Dumoulin, and center Brandon Sutter to Pittsburgh for center Jordan Staal. Staal hasn’t had more than 48 points in a season with Carolina, but he’s a very good defensive center. Dumoulin blossomed into a top-pairing defenceman. Pittsburgh flipped Sutter for center Nick Bonino, who eventually left in free agency after winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. Pouliot hasn’t done much. Vancouver acquired him for a fourth-round pick and he might carve out a career as a bottom-pairing guy.
Columbus traded the ninth-overall pick (center Sean Couturier), left-wing Jakub Voracek, and the 68th-overall pick (center Nick Cousins) to Philadelphia for center Jeff Carter. Columbus gave up a lot of value, but things wouldn’t look as bad if Carter stayed in Columbus. Carter was a top center and the Blue Jackets badly needed centers. Giving up Voracek too hurt. Voracek flourished almost immediately in Philadelphia. He’s been very productive as a Flyer, scoring 505 points in 605 games.
Couturier’s a Selke nominee who can score 75 points. Columbus would probably like a do-over.
There’s been really good players moved for high-draft picks. The Oilers can use a Dougie Hamilton or Jeff Carter, but I’m not sure if a Derek Stepan or Jordan Staal would be as useful. These trades often involve adding another good player, prospect, or draft pick. Columbus included Voracek, a former seventh-overall pick, to get Carter. Carolina added Dumoulin and Sutter to the eighth-overall pick for Staal.
The Oilers need to improve the team and that will require moving picks or prospects for actual players, but they can’t afford to give up that much value for a player that might only help for a few seasons. The need to balance short-term and long-term needs. If they trade the pick, the player in return has to be more Hamilton than Schneider.