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Ken Holland plans to use the Oilers’ top draft pick but trading down is a possibility

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Cam Lewis
9 months ago
It looks like it’s going to be a fairly quiet couple of days for the Edmonton Oilers in Nashville next week.
The Oilers have three picks in this year’s draft. Their first selection is scheduled to come at No. 56 overall in the second round and their other two picks are in the sixth and seventh rounds.
They moved their first- and third-round picks ahead of this season’s trade deadline in deals for Mattias Ekholm and Nick Bjugstad respectively. Edmonton’s fourth-round pick was traded last season for Derick Brassard and their fifth-round pick was dealt a few weeks ago for prospect Jayden Grubbe.
There’s been plenty of talk about the Oilers’ second-round pick being traded to help improve the team, either in exchange for a roster player or as a sweetener to dump a contract. General manager Ken Holland told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic that the team plans to make a selection with their top pick but didn’t rule out the possibility of a trade.
“Nothing is going to happen with the sixth and the seventh. We’re going to use them. We’re planning on using the two. Does a deal come up where I put a two in a trade? Maybe. I’m not expecting that to happen. Does the phone ring and somebody want to move up to two and we move back a little bit and get an extra pick? That’s a possibility.
Tyler Wright (director of amateur scouting) and his people think there’s going to be somebody there at two that we’re going to like. They think it’s a pretty deep draft.”
Given the Oilers are in win-now mode, everything should be on the table when it comes to improving the team this summer. That said, it seems very unlikely that somebody who values internal development like Holland does would leave the Oilers with just two picks in the sixth and seventh rounds for an entire draft class.
Only twice in his career has Holland made his first selection later than the second round in a given draft and both of those instances came before the salary cap era. Holland traded the Red Wings’ first-, second-, and third-round picks in the 1999 draft in deals for Chris Chelios, Wendel Clark, and Ulf Samuelsson and he moved Detroit’s first- and second-round picks in the 2004 draft to acquire Mathieu Schneider and Robert Lang.
If Holland moves Edmonton’s second-round pick, it’ll more than likely be trading down for another selection later in the draft. This year is said to boast a deep class of prospects and moving the No. 56 overall selection for picks in the third and fourth rounds would give the Oilers and their scouts another dart to throw at the board.

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