It’s time for the Oilers to make a bold move and trade their first-round pick.
Edmonton picks 29th in this year’s draft and is one of two teams who made it to the conference finals this season that held onto their picks. The goal for the Oilers is to win now. They need to get assets (players) who are able to help them win now.
The Rangers moved their pick in a deal to acquire Andrew Copp, a key contributor in the playoffs. Colorado’s first was used to acquire Darcy Kuemper, who helped backstop them to a Cup title.
At the backend of the first round, you’re not getting any players who are going to be ready to be a regular contributor in the lineup for at least three years. Stocking the shelves with prospects is never a bad thing, but the Oilers don’t have three or more years to wait to add impact players to their lineup.
Edmonton is just about to get Philip Broberg into the lineup regularly and he was drafted in 2019. Dylan Holloway was taken in 2020 and is ready to play a the NHL level. Xavier Bourgault, the 2021 first-round pick, has a chance to crack the lineup this year. All three will be on entry-level deals for a few seasons still, so they can be cheap contributors.
Alex Debrincat is the top player available, according to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, but he’s a player who will likely be far too expensive for the Oilers. But what about trying to make a package for Vladimir Tarasenko from the St. Louis Blues? Jesper Bratt, a 23-year-old who just scored 73 points in 76 games with the New Jersey Devils, could be a guy who is available, as is Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny.
Any of the above would likely take more than just a first-rounder, but they’re players that could be had that would immediately impact and improve the Oilers’ forward group — something they need to do.
But what about making a move for a guy like Kirby Dach out of Chicago? Drafted 3rd overall in 2019, The Athletic’s Scott Powers reported Thursday he’s a player the Blackhawks could be looking to deal. He’s a buy-low candidate, despite Chicago reportedly looking to get a top-15 pick as he comes off a year that saw him score nine goals and 26 points in 70 games.
He hasn’t quite lived up to the potential thus far in his career and has scored 59 points in 152 games. In the 2020-21 season, he scored two goals and 10 points in 18 games, before going to the World Juniors where he suffered a devastating wrist injury. Still, he stands at 6’4, 197 lbs. and is a native of nearby Fort Saskatchewan and clearly has untapped offensive potential.
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