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Does moving down make sense?

The Oilers are heading into a crucial offseason and the first big decision for General Manager Ken Holland will be what to do with the eighth overall selection. There will be some really quality players available when the Oilers are called to the draft table, but some could argue that there will be a similar quality player available in the middle of the first round between picks 11 and 14.

That brings up the question, could the Oilers move down a few spots and shed some salary in the process?

There will be 23 selections made after the Oilers pick at eighth later this month in Vancouver but really, I would say there are only five or six teams that are realistic fits for the Oilers if they want to move down. Obviously, the further you slide down the more value you’d get in return, or, the more money you could throw into the package.

The other wrinkle with this is that you need two to tango and I’m not sure how many teams would really be interested in trading up. I’m not even considering the Ducks or Canucks as possible trade partners simply because they’re right behind the Oilers in the draft order and I don’t think there would be a deal that makes sense between those sides, after that, it gets interesting.

8. Edmonton Oilers
9. Anaheim Ducks
10. Vancouver Canucks
11. Philadelphia Flyers
12. Minnesota Wild
13. Florida Panthers
14. Arizona Coyotes
15. Montreal Canadiens
16. Colorado Avalanche
17. Vegas Golden Knights
18. Dallas Stars
19. Ottawa Senators (from CBJ)
20. New York Rangers (From Jets)

11. PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have a bunch of cap space, roughly $33 million, and a lot of important RFA’s to resign. Travis Sanheim, Scott Laughton, Travis Konecny, and Ivan Provorov are some notables. If there’s someone that the Flyers really want, but feel like they need to move up, maybe the Oilers could snag someone like Scott Laughton, who I think would be a solid third line centre, and shed some salary in a potential deal.

12. MINNESOTA: The Wild are in a weird spot. Most believe that they should be heading into a re-tool period, but their rumoured deal with Pittsburgh proved that they’re willing to bring in older players if they believe it will help them win right now. Could Phil Kessel turning them down change their mindset? Maybe. If it does, I could see the Wild wanting to move up in the draft to snag one of the players from the USNTDP.

13. FLORIDA: Considering that they’re probably going to be going all in on some big name free agents, I really can’t see the Panthers wanting to move up in the draft. Maybe if the two sides are negotiating a trade & the Oilers are bringing in a big name, the move up could be seen as a way to give the Panthers a bit of a sweetener, but still. I’d say these two aren’t a fit.

14. ARIZONA: This is an interesting idea for a few reasons. First, John Chayka has moved around in the draft before & he did it in a trade with Ken Holland a few years back when the Coyotes took on the dead contract of Pavel Datsyuk in order to move up four spots to take Jakob Chychrun. The Coyotes have some interesting forwards, four NHL quality right-handed defensemen, and a bunch of cap space. There might be a fit here and moving down six spots would still allow the Oilers to get a decent prospect.

I would be very hesitant to move down any more than six spots. Although the Oilers would benefit from acquiring some solid NHL talent or unloading some bad contracts, you don’t want to risk losing out on a really good high-end prospect altogether.

If Ken Holland gets really bold and trades down significantly, then there are a few other teams that are worth taking a look at.

17. VEGAS: After completing their second season in the league, the Golden Knights find themselves in a tough spot when it comes to the salary cap. They also have some players who would fill some holes on the Oilers roster. The Oilers need a third line centre and the Knights have Cody Eakin (one more year at $3.85m) and Erik Haula (one more year at $2.75m). They have a surplus down the middle and that’s an area the Oilers could look to add. On the back end, they have Colin Miller (three more years at $3.87m) who would inject some offence to the Oilers right side. All three of those names would be good fits, but the Oilers would need to clear out money to bring in either Eakin or Miller and honestly, given the fact that the Golden Knights are in “win-now” mode, I can’t see why they’d be interested in trading up in first round, unless they want to trade up and then flip the pick again. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure if it’s realistic.

19. OTTAWA: There’s no doubt that the rebuilding Senators would love to move into the top ten and add to their growing list of bonafide prospects, but do they have enough to make it worthwhile for the Oilers? Doubtful. I really like Jean Gabriel-Pageau (one more year at $3.1 million) as a potential third line centre option, but he’s not worth sliding down 11 spots in the first round. I don’t like any of their defenseman that would likely be available either. Maybe there would be a deal if the Senators threw in a significant prospect and took on one of the Oilers really bad contracts. I’m reaching though and I don’t think this makes sense.

At the end of the day, moving down rarely happens because it requires a perfect storm. First, the Oilers would need to be comfortable sliding down at least three spots and still getting the prospect they want. Then, you would need a team that is so unsure about whether or not they’ll get the guy they want that they’re willing to give up assets to ensure they get the prospect they covet. Then, the two sides need to see eye-to-eye on a value.

Moving down and winning the trade seems unlikely for the Oilers but still, it remains an option for new GM Ken Holland as he embarks on a crucial offseason.



  • dsanchez1973

    The only reason to move down is to shed salary. For example, if Arizona wanted to swap picks and they get Lucic (or a substantial portion of Lucic’s salary), I’m all for it.

  • I had not considered this possibility before. But I like it. It’s not as drastic as trading the pick away but could still provide some cap relief. And let’s face it, there are always players that slide in the draft so you could still be picking up a player that is currently ranked much higher.

  • TKB2677

    I don’t think I would trade down. Hopefully this is the last time the Oilers are getting a top 10 pick for a long time, so I think you need to take the best player you can possibly get. I think it is especially important given that Puljujarvi looks like nothing more than a 3rd liner at best.

    • TruthHurts98

      That mentality has been proven to keep the DOD 2.0 firmly in place. The Oilers are 2-3 years away from truly contending only IF they draft well and have a vision for the future. There will be a stud of a player at #8. They essentially traded Barzal and Beaulivier for Reinhart so the could ‘win now’. Imagine if they wouldn’t have! Hypothetical of course but that trade alone set the franchise back years.

      • jesse says yep

        Completely opposite of what you are saying is what happened. During the DoD the Oilers relied too much on young kids to come in and dominate in the NHL. And the support players they brought in weren’t good enough by far.

  • mcdaddy8

    would you swap picks with the rangers at 20? drop the lucic contract. still will get a solid pick at 20 and shed 6 mill per year. that would be enough to sign a panarin even (would never happen). But dare to dream. Rangers end up with a crappy lucic, but hey, he’ll likely be better than he was last year with a fresh start. but they also end up with another top 10 pick. for a rebuilding franchise, could be a win win.

  • Serious Gord

    Trade down if the bpa at that point is a dman. Need to have a winger. In order for that to happen arrangements – getting partners – would need to be already made ahead of time if that is what occurs.

    So that could be almost any team including the ones right behind the oil in the list.

  • Magicaleigh

    There are a lot more than 23 picks after the Oilers #8 draft pick. Picks outside the first round exist! (and the relative value of a 2nd or 3rd overall pick is closer in value to the 8th pick then the 1st overall pick is to the 8th pick).

  • pynetime

    Milan Lucic
    8 Overall

    To Montreal for

    Andrew Shaw
    15 Overall

    Montreal was in on Lucic until the end before he came to Edmonton.
    Oilers save 2.1M/year and Shaw’s contract expires one year earlier.

  • Kevwan

    I have been a proponent of this idea since the Oilers moved to 8. I like the idea of #8 for #14 and Christian Fischer from Arizona. Anywhere between #12 to #15 should be the target and they still get a good prospect. In that range the BPA might be a Dman (York, Harley, Broberg, or Soderstrom) which is OK by me.

    A salary dump would be helpful but Lucic will be more attractive after his July 1 bonus is paid. He’s the only salary dump worth moving down for but the draft is probably the wrong time.

  • Shameless Plugger

    If there is a deal that makes sense and gets them a youngerish player with term or they can shed a significant contract then sure it makes sense. I don’t see it happening though. There are too many teams looking to dump bad contracts this summer and that’s going to make a salary dump nearly impossible. I also don’t see any decent young player with term that makes sense or fits capwise. Keep the pick, as it’s also a player who won’t need protecting come expansion time.

  • OiLNATION

    This line up is very well possible if oilers trade benning and russel and retain atleast 3ish mil and trade lucic:

    Dzingel-McD-Brown
    Nuge-Drai-Kass
    Ennis-Haula-Pulju
    Khai-Cave-Gagner

    Klef-Larss
    Nurse-Jones
    Sek-Bouch
    Lageson-Persson

    Kosk
    Smith

  • billsbills

    How much salary is another team willing to take to move up six spots? Unless there is someone there they feel they need to take, I don’t see it happening.

  • madjam

    I feel we can move down 4-5 spaces , pick up a viable player or dump one , and draft best goalie Spencer Knight or the big German 6 ft . 4 in. Moritz Seider for defence .

  • Serious Gord

    The trade down as part of a flush Lucic Plan has merit. If this team is going to be cup competitive within the next 3-5 years a draft prospect today likely will only be contributing to the effort in the later years – if at all.

    Freeing up cap space will be far more useful/beneficial during this period.

  • jesse says yep

    IMO they have to find a middle ground right now, draft well but use the assets available to bolster the lineup now. Trading down allows them to gain a player that doesnt need to be protected in the expansion draft while also gaining a player or cap space.

  • Arfguy

    I have been hearing good things about Moritz Seider. If the Oilers do not want to pick up Kirby Dach (who is my pick at 8th overall, if available), then moving down to potentially pick up Seider might be a good idea.

    Otherwise…pick Dach!

  • cityofchampions

    The smart thing to do when picking top 10 is to keep the pick, unless a deal comes along that really blows your socks off. Getting a top 10 talent on entry-level for three years after they sign is a big advantage to a team, especially when the Oilers have to sign Nurse next year and there is an entry draft coming up. For the record I would go down 5-6 places to unload Lucic and his horrendous contract, but don’t think any of those teams would do it. Also, you need Lucic’s approval if there is a willing team (I think he would waive to go almost anywhere except possibly Ottawa and Montreal). Lucic wants and needs a new start, but his horrendous contract means he’ll likely stay here, at least until July 2020…after that year’s bonus kicks in he becomes easier to move to a team wanting to get to the cap floor.

  • bwar

    Not sure how much you are expecting our RFA’s to sign for but “the Oilers would need to clear out money to bring in either Eakin or Miller” is just not true. With moving some players to the minors can actually afford both players. If the Oiler’s signed Khaira for $700,000 (his qualifying offer) and Puljujarvi for $1,000,000 (above his qualifying offer) and then swapped picks with Vegas, taking back Eakins and Miller, the cap comes in at $82,829,499. No bad contracts moved and two solid roster players added.